Facebook switch off facial recognition tool.

FacebookLondon: Facebook has switch off the facial recognition tool that prompts users to tag photographs uploaded to its Website following a privacy investigation.

The feature was recognized by regulators as one of the main privacy threats posed by the social networking site.

Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner Billy Hawkes, who launched the probe because Facebook’s European operations are based in Ireland, said that he was happy that the site had agreed to remove the tool in Europe by October 15.

Richard Allan, Facebook director of policy for Europe, Middle East and Africa, said that  “The EU has looked at the issue of securing consent for this kind of technology and issued new guidance. Our intention is to reinstate the tag-suggest feature, but consistent with new guidelines. The service will need a different form of notice and consent.”

He added that the facial-recognition tool was not part of the company’s commercial activities and did not generate many user complaints.

Europe-versus-Facebook, an Austrian campaign group that has been fighting for clearer privacy policies on Facebook and already took its complaints to the DPC previous year, has welcomed the ruling.

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