Facial apologizes for activating face recognition feature without consent
In a blog post, after the completion of testing of the new “tag suggestion” feature, Facebook declared it has planned to make the new feature available across its entire network.
Reports suggested that the new “tag suggestion” feature that allows users to recognize people from other photos has come under criticism from Facebook users, who said that they were not asked for permission before the activation of the system.
Officials of government agencies from European Union (EU), UK, Ireland, and US are also looking for legal action if they find any privacy law violations by Facebook’s new feature.
However, Facebook has apologized to its user and said it should have been more careful about users privacy before rolling out the feature.
Privacy regulators considering legal action
Reports suggest that in the EU privacy regulators plan to investigate the new Facebook feature to "measure for possible rules violations."
The Electronic Privacy Information Center at Washington, D.C. (EPIC) has also planned to take steps by filing a complaint with Federal Trade Commission.
In a statement John Verdi, a senior council at EPIC, said, "Obviously we're not going to comment in detail until we file whatever we're going to file."
"But, we think the facial recognition feature raises real questions about what sort of data Facebook is collecting from its users and from its users' photographs
He added, "And it also raises questions about what Facebook does with this user data once it collects it and who else is accessing that data after it's collected."
Users can opt-out of the feature
In the blog post, Justin Mitchell, a Facebook engineer wrote, "When you or a friend upload new photos, we use face recognition software -- similar to that found in many photo editing tools -- to match your new photos to other photos you're tagged in."
"We group similar photos together and, whenever possible, suggest the name of the friend in the photos."
Mitchell stated, “You will be able to disable suggested tags in your Privacy Settings. Just click "Customize Settings” and “Suggest photos of me to friends."
Facebook has even sent letters to media houses acknowledging its mistake of not offering the user the choice of activating the feature before the roll out.