roleplaying, and facial recognition technology, and image theft.


So, there’s a big world of roleplayers out there right now (twenty or thirty thousand, ish) using tattooed people’s photos from social networking sites to create characters in a facebook RPG. As you know, I have a real soft spot for RPGs, and think they’re a great imagination exercise, a good escape from dull reality, and just generally fun as hell.

However- I really have to express serious reservations here. Recently a lot of social networking sites have begun using facial recognition technology, and are keeping that data. Because there have also recently been laws passed allowing eavesdropping, wiretapping, and hacking into private emails and profiles to get information that may relate to various crimes, this kind of roleplaying is actually really risky for the people whose faces are being used.

If a roleplayer says things that could be considered inflammatory or illegal, the data will associate it with the ORIGINAL PERSON whose face is attached- therefore making that person liable to observation or even arrest.

I really think that this sort of roleplaying shouldn’t be done with anything but either stock photos, or with images that the roleplayer has gotten permission to use. This isn’t like playing DnD – real people’s faces are being attached to these profiles.

At very least, people involved in this kind of roleplay should be making every effort not to endanger or slander the people whose real faces they are stealing. (and yes- a photograph on a facebook page is still copyrighted to the person who took the photograph. copyrights are still valid when images have been uploaded to social networks; fair use means that you can use those images ONLY to parody the original artwork, not the subject portrayed)

I’m interested in your opinion- what do you think the limits should be? Do you take part in this RPG?
And why tattooed people, of all things to choose?