Facebook's new face recognition policy astonishes German privacy regulator

Turning on facial recognition again in Germany might be illegal, the privacy regulator said

By , IDG News Service |  Security

"We are able to suggest that your friend tag you in a picture by scanning and comparing your friend's pictures to information we've put together from your profile pictures and the other photos in which you've been tagged. You can control whether we suggest that another user tag you in a photo using the 'Timeline and Tagging' settings," the proposed change reads.

Facebook proposed the change in its U.S. privacy policy, and also in translated versions of the policy for European countries, including Germany.

However, according to the Irish DPC, Facebook does not yet intend to offer the service in Europe.

Facebook Ireland consulted the Irish DPC in relation to its proposed privacy policy changes and confirmed that this feature is not yet available in Europe, said Ciara O'Sullivan of the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner in an email. "Any proposed changes to this position would be discussed with our Office," she said.

The Irish DPC suggested to Facebook Ireland that it clarify to its users that the tag suggest feature is not currently available in Europe, she added.

Facebook is still working with regulators to find a way to turn face recognition back on in Europe, a Facebook Germany spokeswoman said in an email.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

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