Facebook‘s facial recognition system violates privacy laws in Germany

Data protection authorities in the German city of Hamburg have warned Facebook to change its facial-recognition data-retention policies, while dropping a previous complaint against the social network over its Friend Finder feature.

Facebook‘s facial recognition system

Facebook‘s facial recognition system — which scans each new photo that you upload and suggests friends for you to tag as part of its Tag Suggestions feature — has come under heavy fire recently. The European Union, along with data protection authorities in the U.K. and Ireland, has expressed concern over privacy issues related to the feature. George Jepsen, Attorney General of Connecticut, wrote a letter to Facebook detailing his concerns and the company reacted to his worries by making it easier for you to opt-out of the feature.

Now, Facebook is facing further woe related to the facial recognition system as a data protection official in Hamburg, Germany, has demanded that Facebook halts the use of the system in the country. The Guardian reports that the official, Johannes Caspar, also wants Facebook to delete any data it may have collected on users in Germany through the system. He said that, if Facebook does not comply with his demands, German authorities will take action against the social network, which could face fines of up to €300,000 ($429,363.83).

An estimated 75bn photos have been uploaded to Facebook since it was set up by Mark Zuckerberg as an online directory for Harvard University students in 2004.

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