Social media networks know almost everything about their users, and if that wasn’t enough already, Facebook, according to a patent of the company, is working on expanding its “data mining” efforts. This is to be achieved with a technology by which photos can be attributed to the camera, with which they were taken, by giving cameras an individual digital fingerprint. To put it plainly, if such a technology is implemented, Facebook will be able to track the camera behind the photos and consequently even the owner of the camera. And all this regardless of where and by whom the photos are uploaded.
Those who think that this is just “harmless” EXIF-data mining are wrong. In addition, an algorithm is being used to analyze artifacts in the photos – such as defective pixels, color fringes or shading which can be caused by scratches on the lens – in order to create a profile of the camera.
One argument for the collection of these data is an easier prosecution of photo thieves by photographers. Facebook states that this technology is to be used fraud prevention by being able to identify fake accounts more easily. Speaking for myself I’m rather skeptical because the more data are collected the greater is the chance of abusing them.