Germans: they love David Hasselhoff and are wary of Facebook

John Moe Aug 16, 2012

Facebook’s use of facial recognition software has always been a bit off putting for a lot of people since it associates faces with names and can display your name without you saying that’s okay. Facebook says its software is fully compliant with European Union privacy laws but German Data protection commissioner Johannes Caspar isn’t so sure. He says it breaks the rules for Facebook to accumulate a database of images of users’ faces without the users’ consent.

From the BBC:

The database is used to power its Photo Tag Suggest feature – a function which works out who someone in a picture is based on previously gathered photographs of that person.
Users can then choose to tag their friends, who are then notified that a new picture of them had been uploaded.
The feature, like many on Facebook, operates on an opt-out basis, an approach heavily criticised by Mr Caspar who has demanded that the database is destroyed.
He argued that it was gathered without users’ consent and therefore illegal.

The German government has now re-opened an investigation of Facebook’s practices. The investigation had been suspended while similar complaints from the Irish government were being investigated.

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