Irish data protection office advises Facebook to switch off face scanning and tagging for new members
Facebook has agreed to stop using facial recognition and tagging for members based in Europe following advice from the Irish Data Protection Commissioner.
The social networking website, which has its European headquarter in Dublin, said it would turn off facial recognition for all new users in the EU, and delete the information already stored from current users. Facebook vowed to do this by 15 October.
Facial recognition on Facebook asked users to tag the faces of friends in photos. This data could then be used to automatically tag faces in photos uploaded to Facebook.
Billy Hawkes, the Irish Data Protection Commissioner, said Facebook was sending a "clear signal" of its intent to comply with EU data protection law.
An audit into Facebook's compliance with Irish and EU data protection law advised that the company needed to give users the option to disable facial recognition.
"It is possible that a user may want to disable this functionality and have the facial-recognition data deleted," the report said.
In August the German privacy chief reopened an investigation into Facebook's facial-recognition feature over concerns it was in breach of EU law. At the time Facebook said it was confident it was operating within EU privacy law.
It is not yet clear when Facebook will turn facial recognition back on as an optional feature in the EU.
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