biometric data

News in brief: Facebook in German hot water?

Facebook’s facial recognition doo-hickey is coming under a bit of pressure in Germany as the authorities there reckon that it violates both German and EU privacy laws. Facebook, naturally enough reckons that it isn’t doing anything wrong, but then as far as I can tell, Facebook wouldn’t think that selling your granny to the highest bidder to finance one orgiastic night of hookers and blow was wrong, either.

From the German perspective, Facebook is sitting on a massive pile of its users’ biometric data that it has gathered from images uploaded to the site. There might be an opt-out function, but they have the information regardless of whether someone consents to it or not. Facebook’s response is that this makes life easier for its users. And safer, too, apparently. I’d love to hear the reasoning behind that one.

Dr Johannes Caspar, Hamburg’s data protection officer, has requested that Facebook do something about it, pronto. If Facebook doesn’t, it could be fined up to €300,000. But let’s face it, that’s hardly a deterrent to multibillion dollar Facebook, is it?

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