Facebook Facial Recognition Goes Where Google Doesn't Dare
Facebook is pushing the privacy boundaries again with its facial recognition technology in photo tagging software. The European Union is now taking the company to task over it.Facebook finally flipped the switch on facial recognition technology to improve photo tagging software, and admitted it should have told users all over the world when it turned it on.
However, Cluley noted that Facebook should enable features that concern user privacy as opt-in instead of opt-out. "Unfortunately, once again, Facebook seems to be sharing personal information by default," Cluley wrote. "Many people feel distinctly uncomfortable about a site like Facebook learning what they look like, and using that information without their permission." The EU agreed. "Tags of people on pictures should only happen based on people's prior consent and it can't be activated by default," said Gerard Lommel, a Luxembourg member of the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party, according to BusinessWeek.
This battle between opt-in and opt-out has been a key struggle for Facebook, which tends to roll out features and then asks for forgiveness instead of asking for permission beforehand. The practice underscores CEO Mark Zuckerberg's beliefs that users want to be social. In instances where the majority feel Facebook has crossed the privacy line, the company backs off. Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said that Google has the capability to do facial recognition with its Google Goggles visual search application, but has abstained for fear of privacy backlash. This reflects careful consideration by a company that found itself stung in 2010 by Google Buzz and Google Street View privacy gaffes.