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September 24, 2012

Facebook puts facial recognition tool to bed following privacy investigation

All European facial recognition data will be deleted in order to comply with privacy regulations

By Tineka Smith


Facebook has switched off its facial recognition tool, which was seen as one of its main privacy threats by European regulators. The feature prompts users to tag photos of their friends when uploaded to the social networking site.

Facebook sparked anger amongst its users last year when the site used facial recognition technology without informing its users first.
A recent audit by the Irish Data Protection commissioner revealed that Facebook has complied with most of their privacy recommendations.

The Irish DPC was particularly pleased that Facebook has implemented better transparency and increased capability for the user to delete data. The Irish watchdog also announced it was pleased that Facebook went beyond privacy recommendations and has put a halt to its facial recognition tool.

"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," said Facebook in a statement.

Facebook was first investigated by the Irish Watchdog in October 2011 after complaints the site was holding data that was supposedly deleted.

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