Why Europe Is Freaking Out About Facebook Photo Recognition

Last year, Facebook quietly rolled out a facial recognition tool for its photo tagging feature. Perhaps anticipating some backlash, the tool, which can be seen as rather creepy given its ability to tell you apart from your friends, the new tool was added slowly, activated for only a slice of American Facebook users at a time. Last week, the feature was added for users outside of the United States -- and the reaction has been much worse.

On Wednesday afternoon, the European Union data-protection regulators announced a probe to investigate whether the social network's new feature violates privacy rules. "Tags of people on pictures should only happen based on people's prior consent and it can't be activated by default," said a Luxembourg official told Businessweek, adding that the regulators intend to "clarify to Facebook that this can't happen like this." And that's a general complaint against Facebook, whose founder believes that the web should be social by default. In addition to the E.U. probe, officials in the United Kingdom and Ireland are looking into this practice.

Read the full story at The Atlantic Wire.

Presented by

The Atlantic Wire is your authoritative guide to the news and ideas that matter most right now.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Technology

Just In