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Facebook Moments Causes More Trouble with European Regulators

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Facebook does not have a good relationship with the EU at the moment. A Belgian court case investigating potential privacy breaches is still ongoing, a similar case opened up in Austria a while back and earlier this year EU residents were advised to delete their Facebook accounts if they had concerns about monitoring. Lawsuits are one thing though and the social media giant can probably shrug them off without too much bother, but now their latest standalone app has been blocked.

Moments, an app which uses facial recognition to help users organise all their mobile pictures into group albums, will not be available in Europe until some sort of agreement is reached. The issue seems to be that Moments doesn't have any kind of opt-in mechanism. 

This isn't the first time facial recognition technology has been blocked by European regulators, Google are having the same issue with their Photos app and Facebook faced similar opposition in 2012 when they tried to better integrate the technology into the main site. 

The US has generally been pretty accepting of facial recognition but many EU privacy laws directly oppose this kind of thing and exceptions are unlikely to be made on Facebook's account. The issue could be softened if Facebook did actually bring in an opt-in feature so that users could consent to their faces being tagged whenever they pop up, but the blue giants have no forward plans to introduce anything of the sort. It might be an issue of time or they might just be being stubborn, but in either case, Moments won't be turning up on European soil any time soon.

It's not only Europe that take issue with this, Canada have pushed back against facial recognition tech as well, citing the way Facebook takes facial data and combines it with everything else as the key issue. It's a pretty major catch-22, Facebook seem dead set on using recognition, location and historical data to advance their platform. That's all well and good but the more they move in that direction, the more privacy laws will threaten to trip them up.


Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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Facebook Moments Causes More Trouble with European Regulators Reviewed by Callum Davies on Monday, June 22, 2015 Rating: 5

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