Facebook’s good fortune in courtrooms extended overseas, as the administrative court for the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein sided with the social network and suspended the enforcement of an order that it allow users to register under pseudonyms.
Facebook’s tag suggest feature and use of facial-recognition technology is moving in different directions on opposite sides of the globe, as the social network reintroduced the feature in the U.S. last week, while at the same time deleting all facial-recognition data in Europe, where tag suggest has been disabled since last October.
Yes, we know: Facebook is free and always will be. But Eduardo Ustaran, head of the privacy and information law group at European law firm Field Fisher Waterhouse, which specializes in technology and intellectual property, warns that proposed changes in European Union data-protection laws may force the hand of the social network, as well as other free, ad-supported online services, such as Gmail.
While Facebook users continue to spread false information about privacy on Facebook, officials in Ireland, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark are taking a very real look at recent announcements by the social network.
Facebook appeared to have settled concerns within the European Union over its use of facial-recognition technology with Friday’s announcement of an agreement between the social network and Ireland’s Office of the Data Protection Commissioner, but the memo apparently never made it to Hamburg, Germany.
Irish eyes (and those of the rest of the European Union) are finally smiling on Facebook, as Ireland’s Office of the Data Protection Commissioner announced that “the great majority” of the privacy recommendations it made to the social network to keep it in compliance with those of the EU have been “fully implemented to the satisfaction of this office.” The major concession by Facebook: Its tag suggest feature, which enabled facial recognition for Facebook photos, has been turned off for all new users in the EU, with existing users to lose access to the feature by Oct. 15.
Facebook’s facial-recognition feature is coming under scrutiny in another country, as the Norwegian Data Protection Agency said it will launch an investigation this fall and speak with the social network about the technology behind it.
Facebook and the Office of the Irish Data Protection Commissioner publicly released the results of a detailed three-month audit of the social network’s privacy policies in the European Union region, but what steps did the social network agree to implement?
Facebook is facing more regulatory fire in Europe over how the company collects and uses members’ personal information.
German authorities are unliking Facebook’s fan pages over privacy concerns.