Facebook Deletes Facial-Recognition Data In Europe

By David Cohen 

Facebook’s tag suggest feature and use of facial-recognition technology is moving in different directions on opposite sides of the globe, as the social network reintroduced the feature in the U.S. last week, while at the same time deleting all facial-recognition data in Europe, where tag suggest has been disabled since last October.

IDG News Service reported that both the Office of the Irish Data Protection Commissioner and the Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information in Germany confirmed Facebook’s removal of all facial-recognition data in Europe, with each agency having reviewed the social network’s source code to confirm their findings.

DPC Spokeswoman Ciara O’Sullivan said in an email to IDG News Service:

We recently reviewed the source code and execution process used in the deletion process and can confirm that we were satisfied with the processes used by Facebook to delete the templates in line with its commitment.

Ulrich Kühn, head of the Hamburg DPC’s technical department, reported similar news to IDG News Service, saying:

We asked for confirmation and proof that Facebook had actually (deleted the data). We wanted to be very sure this was done, so we took our time to be really sure. For the time being, it is settled.

Readers: Was it wise for Facebook to reintroduce tag suggest in the U.S., given all the heat the social network has taken in Europe over the technology?