Friday, September 21, 2012

Facebook Forced to end facial recognition in Europe

Facebook has stopped using facial recognition software to automatically identify people in photographs following an investigation by privacy regulators.

The technology was identified by regulators as one of the main privacy threats posed by Facebook. It plans to make changes before reinstating the system.

Billy Hawkes, head the Irish data protection commission, which mounted the investigation because Facebook’s European operations are based in Ireland, praised the social network for cooperating.

"I am particularly encouraged in relation to the approach it has decided to adopt on the tag suggest/facial recognition feature by in fact agreeing to go beyond our initial recommendations, in light of developments since then, in order to achieve best practice” he said.

Facebook’s introduction of facial recognition software, which it uses to encourage members to “tag” their friends in photographs, ensuring they are shared more widely, has long been controversial. It was turned on by default last year, meaning members had to opt out if they did not want to be part of the system.

Mr Hawkes stressed he was satisfied Facebook giant had made clear commitment to comply with its responsibilities in line with Irish and EU privacy laws. Read More