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Norway Investigating Facebook Facial Recognition Tagging
Facebook’s automated system of suggesting image tags based on facial recognition has brought the company another formal privacy investigation in Europe, according to Bloomberg. This time it’s Norway seeking to determine whether Facebook has violated its privacy rules.
Norway’s data-protection agency joins other regulators from the EU investigating the feature. Norway is not an EU member state but is reportedly coordinating its initiative with other states, including an ongoing Irish probe. Germany was also investigating Facebook facial recognition but has suspended its investigation and deferred to the Irish effort.
Embedded below is the initial Irish privacy audit of Facebook, published in December 2011. It contains discussion of concerns regarding Facebook’s facial recognition policies and methodology and whether Facebook has done enough to obtain users’ consent to the photo-tagging feature in particular.
Bloomberg reports that Norway will be sending Facebook a questionnaire seeking information about facial recognition and perhaps several related issues, following the release of a second Irish report.
The Pew Internet Project found, in May 2011, that a majority of US Facebook users have changed privacy settings to make their profiles entirely or partially private.
In particular, 37 percent of US survey respondents had “untagged photos” of themselves, up from 30 percent in 2009. I suspect updated findings would show a number closer to 50 percent today if the survey were re-run.