Facebook is keeping its new Moments app out of Europe due to legality concerns. The issues revolve around the app’s use of facial recognition technology, which could breach privacy regulations in the region.
Using the DeepFace biometrics technology originally developed by face.com (which was acquired by Facebook a couple of years ago), Moments scans the photos uploaded by Facebook users for any recognizable faces, and then lets those users send photos to the friends who have been identified. It’s essentially a way of automating the tagging of friends in photos. And while it sounds innocuous enough, it could violate European Union and other state laws concerning privacy rights, as the region tends to be pretty strident about ensuring citizens’ personal data – including and perhaps especially that of the biometric variety – is not shared or exploited by organizations.
Both sides have reason to be wary. Facebook has earned a reputation for its hunger for user data, and has acquired other kinds of biometric technology that could be used to surreptitiously mine it from users as they enjoy the social media platform. Meanwhile, Facebook has seen other companies like Samsung get in legal trouble over their biometric data collection, and is itself facing serious legal action in the US from individuals upset about the collection of their face biometrics data. For now, keeping this kind of technology out of Europe may be the best thing for both the region and Facebook.
Source: Business Insider