Facebook turns off facial recognition in Europe

Posted: September 24, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , ,


Facebook has turned off its facial recognition feature in Europe following recommendations from privacy regulators which cited the software as one of the main privacy threats posed by the social network.

Facebook has said it will make changes to the auto-tag feature before reinstating it on the site. The controversial software was turned on automatically last year by the social network, sparking intense criticisms by privacy advocates around the globe.

The company also came under fire from EU regulators, who instigated an audit and review shortly after the facial recognition software was released – Facebook has been working closely with the Irish data protection commission, where its European operations are based, since then.

“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,” Billy Hawkes, head of the Irish data protection commission, which led the investigation, said in a statement.

Facebook has said it is confident any privacy issues can be resolved and vowed to continue working with regulators to ensure it remains compliant with European data protection laws.

“As our regulator in Europe, the Irish office of the data protection commissioner is constantly working with us to ensure that we keep improving on the high standards of control that we have built into our existing tools,” a spokesman for the social network said.

“This audit is part of an ongoing process of oversight, and we are pleased that, as the data protection commissioner said, the latest announcement is confirmation that we are not only compliant with European data protection law but we have gone beyond some of their initial recommendations and are fully committed to best practice in data protection compliance.”

I have 1 question tho – how much money is being swallowed up around the world by various official bodies to ensure the likes of APPLE , FACEBOOK , MICROSOFT and countless others comply with legal restrictions that we all know they already knew about – that’s why they have massive legal departments surely ?  Or do they all operate on the basis that they’ll fix it when they get caught out ?

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