facebook facial recognition
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Facebook has begun asking users in the UK to allow the platform to use facial recognition technology to identify them in photos and videos. Facebook facial recognition technology has been used in most parts of the world for six years, but was initially removed in the EU in 2012 following protests from regulators and privacy advocates.

It will now be offered as an opt-in feature in Europe ahead of the rollout of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), new EU data privacy laws which give users more control over how their information is used.

Facebook face recognition technology uses software that creates a “template” of a user’s face based on other images they are tagged in, which is then used to make tagging suggestions in other photos.

facebook facial recogition screenshot
(Facebook)

The tool is one of several measures users will be asked to manage as part of new privacy features – as well as whether they want adverts shown to them based on data from Facebook partners and if they want political, religious and relationship information on their profile shared.

Users will have the opportunity to select an “accept and continue” option to automatically agree to Facebook’s settings – including turning on face recognition – or select a “manage data setting” option where they can confirm they would like the feature turned off.

The move comes at a tense time for the company, which is already at the centre of a data privacy scandal linked to political research firm Cambridge Analytica.

Facebook said it did not want to just comply with the law, but would “go beyond” its obligations to build better privacy tools for its users.

“In recent weeks we’ve announced several steps to give people more control over their privacy and explain how we use data,” the company said in a blog post.

facebook facial recognition screenshot
(Facebook)

“Today we’re introducing new privacy experiences for everyone on Facebook as part of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), including updates to our terms and data policy.

“Everyone – no matter where they live – will be asked to review important information about how Facebook uses data and make choices about their privacy on Facebook.

“We’ll begin by rolling these choices out in Europe this week.

“As soon as GDPR was finalised, we realised it was an opportunity to invest even more heavily in privacy.

“We not only want to comply with the law, but also go beyond our obligations to build new and improved privacy experiences for everyone on Facebook.”

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But privacy campaigners are not convinced by the company’s actions.

Silkie Carlo, director of campaign group Big Brother Watch, said: “Biometric identification and tracking across the billions of photos on the platform exacerbates serious privacy risks to users.

“Facebook now has a duty to prove it has learned how to respect the law, not to prove it can take its surveillance capabilities to new depths.

“In the wake of Facebook’s recent scandal, this is a woefully misguided and dangerous plan.”

So will you opt in to Facebook facial recognition? Let us know your thoughts.

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Token old guy in the office and lifelong Hull City fan with all the psychological issues that brings. To relax I enjoy walking my two Labradors, as well as running and cycling.

3 COMMENTS

  1. I got the privacy questions this morning. It only asked me about adverts and facial recognition (which I declined). There was nothing about specially protected data. Perhaps I’ve never given FB any specially protected data 🙂

  2. I’m not on FB or anything for that matter but am interested in these discussions, and do think that all platforms like FB, Instagam, whatsapp and such, should come with all security measures on and the user actually has to go through them before they can do anything. It might make some people think, and for those people that claim there child is being trolled/bullied have they read that you are not supposed to be on them under thirteen, and up to sixteen have a duty of care,so should make boundaries with child about this technology, as for adults, easy switch it off, hey presto.

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