Germany reopens proceedings against Facebook's facial recognition

Facebook either has to delete its database with faces or ask for explicit user consent, the data protection watchdog said

The Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information reopened proceedings against Facebook's facial recognition technology on Wednesday, the commissioner said.

"We stopped the investigation two months ago," said Johannes Caspar, the commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information in Hamburg. The proceedings were stopped pending negotiations between Facebook and the Irish Commissioner for Data Protection, Facebook's supervisory authority in Europe, about the use of facial recognition.

Facebook uses facial recognition technology to suggest whom users should "tag" in photos.

The German data protection authority asked Facebook last Thursday what the outcomes of the negotiations with the Irish data protection commissioner were, Caspar said. While Facebook said it would refrain from creating facial profiles of new users for the moment, the company still stores data of existing users that was gathered without the users' explicit consent, Caspar said. Because Facebook still stores this data, further proceedings against Facebook are inevitable, the data protection watchdog said.

Facebook now has to decide if it wants to get the explicit consent of users, delete the data or face a lawsuit, said Caspar. The data protection authority will prepare a formal order to force Facebook to delete the data or to ask users' permission, he added. This order could be finished at the end of August or at the beginning of September since the case against Facebook was already fully prepared in June and not much has changed since then, Caspar said.

If Facebook refuses to comply with the data protection requirements, the data protection authority will file a lawsuit with the Administrative Court of Hamburg, Caspar said. Facebook is, however, welcome to inform the authority of an acceptable method for obtaining consent by concerned users or to confirm the deletion of the collected data at any time.

"We believe that the photo tag suggest feature on Facebook is fully compliant with EU data protection laws," a Facebook spokeswoman said in an email.

Loek covers all things tech for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Loek Essers

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?