Facebook seeks facial recognition consent from users in EU and Canada
Facebook has started asking European and Canadian users to let it use facial recognition technology to identify them in photos and videos.
Facebook originally began face-matching users outside Canada in 2011, but stopped doing so for EU citizens the following year after protests from regulators and privacy campaigners.
The new request is one of several opt-in permissions being rolled out in advance of a new data privacy law.
The move is likely to be controversial. The company is currently embroiled in a privacy scandal related to the use of its members’ personal information by the political consultancy Cambridge Analytica.
The social network is also facing a class-action lawsuit in the US for deploying the facial recognition technology there without users’ explicit consent.
“Biometric identification and tracking across the billions of photos on the platform exacerbates serious privacy risks to users,” commented Silkie Carlo, director of UK civil liberties group Big Brother Watch.
“Facebook now has a duty to prove it has learned how to respect the law, not to prove it can take its surveillance capabilities to new depths.”
Users outside the EU and Canada will be prompted to review a similar set of privacy controls in the coming months, but they will continue to be subject to facial recognition unless they opt out of the system.