Social Protection app DRM's your Facebook photos

McAfee announces a new Facebook app called Social Protection that protects your photos from being shared without your permission.

McAfee Social Protection will block people who don't have the plug-in from seeing your photos.

(Credit: McAfee)

Intel and McAfee have collaborated on a new browser plug-in and Facebook app called Social Protection that throws a thicker wall of privacy around your photos, while still allowing you to share them with friends.

Brian Foster, senior vice president of consumer product management for McAfee, said the combo is intended to protect the digital content you own so that only your friends can see it. "The focus is on everyday use of Facebook, and how your digital content has ended up in the wrong places unintentionally," he said this morning in a phone conversation with CNET.

It sounds great for the privacy-minded, but it won't be available until the end of August, and then only in public beta. It will work with Internet Explorer 8 and above, and Firefox 8 and above.

Foster explained it as DRM for the photos you upload to Facebook. It requires a browser restart after installation, and then it pixelates photos you post to Facebook, and requires your friends to install it to restore them to normal. In final form, it will exist for free for people who just want to view photos. Foster said that McAfee hasn't decided whether it will charge for Social Protection or if it will become part of another, already-existing product.

McAfee is opening the product to the public as a free beta because the company is seeking user feedback, he said, and the company could change course based on what people think of Social Protection.

But one of the product's most interesting features won't be going live with the first public beta release: a facial recognition tool that can identify untagged photos of you. Once Social Protection finds such a photo, you'll be able to tag it and message your friend about the photo -- presumably so you can ask them to take it down. A third option lets you go nuclear and report it to Facebook.

Foster said that while Social Protection represents a substantial collaboration between Intel, McAfee's parent company, and McAfee itself, the app was mostly developed by Intel's software and services group in Argentina.

Correction: This story misstated Intel's software and services group's location as Brazil.

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