Facebook Disables Facial Recognition in Europe (and lifehacking: more sleep dep)

At least for the moment. After a massive uproar over Facebook’s lack of privacy protection and an EU audit, Facebook’s agreed to disable its face recognition feature after a request from the Irish privacy commissioner.

Note they’re disabling public access; the article doesn’t mention whether or not Facebook could still do face recogntion internally.

Lifehacking: Sleep deprivation. I’ve tried the micropower TMS and found it able to replace caffeine for situations of “feeling tired.” What about for more extreme situations, like missing a night of sleep?

This happened the other day, and I found that a more advanced(?) version of the micropower TMS allowed me to maintain (nearly?) full mental function even after ~24h awake — though I had to get it very close to my body, slipping it into an upper jacket pocket instead of keeping it in my backpack.

(It did not prevent feeling physically fatigued, and I could certainly tell I was tired.)

Note the micropower TMS has been expanded a bit since the last schematic I sent out. A BC517 Darlington (driven by the output of the 555) is controlling power to a textbook 2n2646-based relaxation oscillator, tuned to operate at a very approximate 7.8Hz. (The oscillator is not at all stable, and there’s considerable variation in the timing between pulses. I think this helps, see below.) The load resistor of the oscillator has been replaced by a coil of very many turns of fine magnet wire (~0.05mm) wound on a Mu-Metal core. The core was made by carefully cutting out 5-10 ~3x20mm strips of a 0.1mm thick sheet. (This must be done carefully because Mu-Metal loses its properties if stressed too much or bent.) I wrapped the strips in a layer of electrical tape to hold them together and cover sharp edges before winding the coil. (The Mu-Metal is used for two reasons: the permeability helps as there’s barely any power in the coil — the oscillator draws <1mA — and the low saturation limits the maximum magnetic field. There may be other effects as well, the Mu-Metal core was part of the very original design on which the “micropower TMS” is based.)

I originally did this to see if amplitude-modulating a 7.8Hz magnetic field (which is known to very easily entrain brain activity) at 0.5Hz would make a better sleep-enhancing tool. (because the brain doesn’t entrain to 0.5Hz so easily) However, I got very good results modulating the ~7.8Hz relaxation oscillator at 7.8Hz (!) as well, and I’m not sure why this is. But it does help, so I’ve kept it.


“Facebook is dropping its controversial facial recognition feature, for European users at least, following a privacy backlash from users and regulators.

But it may not be long before it returns..

The social networking giant has agreed to suspend facial recognition in Europe, following demands by the European Union on the social network to improve its customer privacy protection.

Facebook removed access to its “Tag Suggest” feature at the request of Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner (DPC).

That controversial feature matches the faces in photos posted to Facebook with users, making it easier for Facebook users to identify individuals pictured in photographs they upload to the site.

The DPC was charged with reviewing Facebook’s privacy practices to determine whether they were in-line with EU data privacy laws. An audit completed by the agency in December, 2011, recommended 45 changes to the social network’s features to improve user privacy protections.

The audit followed a public uproar after an Austrian student, Max Schrems, requested a copy of the data that Facebook stored about him.

Schrems received a 1,200 page document that suggested the company was collecting awide range of information about users without their consent, and holding onto information – photos and comments – that users had been led to believe were deleted.

Among the data retained by Facebook were photo tags – many attributed without the subject’s consent using automated facial recognition technology embedded in Facebook’s service.”


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