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.
The 45,000-plus developers that previously used facial-recognition application-programming interfaces from Face.com and saw those APIs shuttered after the company was acquired by Facebook may have an alternative via startup Lambda Labs.
McAfee Tuesday officially announced the launch of a free public beta version of McAfee Social Protection, a new Facebook application and browser plugin that displays users’ Facebook photos as blurs, which can only be displayed properly once users’ friends have installed McAfee Social Protection.
Europeans are growing increasingly suspicious of Facebook’s facial-recognition efforts. Earlier this month, Norway announced that it is looking into the legality of the social network’s technology. Now, Germany is doing the same. Data-protection officials in Germany worry that Facebook is compiling a photo database of users without their consent, so they are reopening their investigation.
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.
If you begin to see blurry photos on Facebook sometime around the end of August, before you make an appointment with the eye doctor, you might want to find out if your friends have installed McAfee Social Protection, a new Facebook application from McAfee and Intel.
Not everyone was excited when Facebook acquired facial recognition software company Face.com. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), the radio host-turned-politician, called a hearing Wednesday to discuss issues regarding facial recognition. In particular, he didn’t care for Facebook’s opt-in by default setting and what it means for privacy.