It was reported last week that Facebook users in Europe will no longer have access to the network’s photo-tagging features—at least not for a while. The social media giant decided to indefinitely suspend the feature after receiving demands from privacy regulator across Europe.
More About Facebook’s Facial-Recognition Software
Facebook’s facial-recognition software senses the people in a user’s photo, and it will make tagging suggestions. It is usually rolled out to all accounts automatically, although users can turn it off if they want to.
Billy Hawkes of Ireland’s Data Protection Commission issued a report last Friday morning, saying that the social network was able to comply with their recommendations. The recommendations were made the regulators last year.
In the report, Hawkes suggested that Facebook has “fully implemented” most of the DPC’s recommendations. Those that haven’t been implemented, on the other hand, will be taken care of with a “clear timescale” in place.
The issue prompted DPC’s attention after receiving several complaints with regard to the social media site’s data use and user privacy. It should be recalled that an Austrian law student Max Schrems filed a request to Facebook last year. The request has something to do with getting a copy of all data that the social network had about him.
As a result, Schrems got a whooping 1,222 pages of his Facebook information on CD. This data includes Pokes that he got from 2008, old group invites, as well as year-old chat sessions.
Prior to this, data privacy officials in Germany led an investigation to check whether the network has been collecting member photos without their knowledge. As stated by Facebook spokesperson with Mashable:
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.
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 [sic] 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.
What Lies Ahead for Facebook Europe
In relation to this, DPC reported that the facial recognition was already turned off to new Facebook users in Europe. On the other hand, the feature’s template for existing users will get the ax by October 15.