European Data Protection Digest

DPA Reopens Facial Recognition Probe; Expert Weighs In

BIOMETRICS—GERMANY

August 16, 2012

Hamburg Data Protection Officer Johannes Caspar has reopened an investigation into Facebook’s facial recognition practices, saying the company is illegally amassing a photo database without users’ consent, The New York Times reports. Caspar said, “We have met repeatedly with Facebook but have not been able to get their cooperation on this issue, which has grave implications for personal data.” Caspar’s office wants Facebook to destroy its database of faces collected in Germany and alter its website to obtain express consent, the report states. Facebook said, “We believe that the photo tag suggest feature…is fully compliant with EU data protection laws.” Meanwhile, in a personal blog post, Google Global Privacy Counsel Peter Fleischer advocates for a lead regulator in Europe. (Registration may be required to access this story.)
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