Social Protection Plug-in Lets Users Blur Their Facebook Photos

Posted by · August 3, 2012 1:02 pm

As the line between user privacy and access to personal information continues to be blurred, the team at McAfee has provided disconcerted users with a blurring tool of their own. Recognizing the needless predicament of having to choose between being socially connected online and maintaining a reasonable amount of personal privacy, the computer security firm introduced a browser plug-in to help lessen that burden.

Named Social Protection, the McAfee browser add-on allows users to blur their Facebook photos, shielding them from unwanted viewers.

“The browser plug-in will blur all your photos, allowing only those who you approve to see them,” writes Tecca’s Fox Van Allen. “Once protected, photos can only be viewed by those who have the plug-in installed.”

In addition providing protection of photos that are already posted, the Social Protection plug-in uses facial recognition software to alert users when a photo containing them is being uploaded by someone else—even if the user isn’t tagged in the photo—allowing that person to contact the user uploading the photo to either have it blurred or removed altogether if desired.

The plug-in also prevents viewers from downloading, sharing, or even dragging and dropping user photos to their desktops.

According to reports, Social Protection will be available for Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Google Chrome for PCs by the end of the month. Meanwhile, Mac and Android will have to wait a bit longer—sometime before the end of the year—before they can start using the new McAfee browser plug-in.

Observing a potential pitfall in the Social Protection strategy, Mashable’s Emily Price observes:

Protected photos will require others to also download the plug-in in order to view them, which means that person has to restart his or her browser after the install process. A process that will likely deter many from viewing your pictures altogether, especially at launch where the service will only be available for PC users.

Will such costs (at least initially) outweigh the clear benefit offered by the Social Protection add-on? Should McAfee perhaps consider removing the requirement for viewers to install the plug-in, provided they have been approved by the user who initially blurred them?

Share your thoughts on the new browser plug-in—and what, if anything, could be done to improve its usefulness—in the comments below.

For more on the Social Protection browser add-on…