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
Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
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

Essentials

Mobile

Sansai 6-Outlet Power Board + 4-Port USB Charging Station

Learn more >

Exec

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

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.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?