Apple will be adding facial detection and recognition software to its iOS 5 and make it easier for app developers to use the technology.
Apple has been using some facial recognition software in the OS X Lion implementation of Photo Booth, according to 9to5Mac. But Apple's latest software comes from its 2010 acquisition of Polar Rose, a Swedish company specializing in face detection algorithms. What's different with the new iOS is not only will Apple be using it, but it will be opening up the technology to public developer API for iOS applications.
That means there will likely be dozens of iOS apps using photos of people to get contact information or file them for future use . . . and there's no way to opt out of this.
When Facebook offered facial recognition technology to its users so they could be tagged in photos, it didn't get the attention it expected -- including complaints to the Connecticut attorney general's office which led to the social network putting out ads explaining how to opt-out of the photo tagging. (But at least with Facebook, you can opt out of being identified. With any new apps or the new iOS, there likely won't be that option.)
In case you can't find these ads or directions on how to opt-out of Facebook photo tagging, the Los Angeles Times gives you this easy walk-through: