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Facebook is offering facial recognition again in Europe

Facebook is bringing facial recognition back to Europe after withdrawing the feature in 2012 because of objections fr...

Posted: Apr 18, 2018 1:55 PM
Updated: Apr 18, 2018 1:55 PM

Facebook is bringing facial recognition back to Europe after withdrawing the feature in 2012 because of objections from data privacy groups.

It will also offer the feature in Canada for the first time since it was launched in 2011.

Facebook announced the move in a blog post by Chief Privacy Officer Erin Egan and Deputy General Counsel Ashlie Beringer.

"We've offered products using face recognition in most of the world for more than six years. As part of this update, we're now giving people in the EU and Canada the choice to turn on face recognition," the executives said.

The feature allows Facebook to scan photos and suggest users to be tagged. Facebook stressed that using the feature would be "entirely optional."

It's one of several changes Facebook announced in preparation for the introduction of sweeping data protection rules -- the General Data Protection Regulation -- in Europe next month. It is giving users more choices about "opting in" to data sharing, rather than automatically signing them up.

But the decision to offer facial recognition is controversial for Facebook, which is facing heat over the way it handles users' data.

On Monday, a US federal judge ruled Facebook will have to face a class action lawsuit that alleges it used facial recognition on photos without user permission.

And the company has been in defense mode since March, when news surfaced that Cambridge Analytica -- a political data firm with ties to President Donald Trump's campaign -- had accessed and improperly stored a huge trove of its user data. Facebook says 87 million users may have been affected.

Related: Europe is about to start regulating Facebook

Facebook originally switched off the face recognition feature in Europe after an investigation by the Data Protection Commissioner in Ireland, where the company has its European headquarters.

Triggered by complaints from a group of users, the probe recommended Facebook to disable the feature in order to comply with local data protection laws.

Facebook claims the technology could actually help protect the privacy of its users -- for example by detecting attempts to use other people's images as their profile picture.

The Irish Data Protection Commissioner did not respond to a request for comment.

Related: Facebook under fire for storing facial recognition data without consent

The new European data protection rules will give consumers much more control over how their personal details are used, forcing Facebook and other companies to radically change the way they operate.

Facebook will roll out the same settings, controls and privacy protections to all users, although they may be presented in different ways and users outside Europe will likely see the changes later.

"We want to be clear that there is nothing different about the controls and protections we offer around the world," it said in the post.

"We'll present the information in the ways that make the most sense for other regions."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 256827

Reported Deaths: 5638
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17257180
Hinds16331322
Harrison13567194
Rankin10804212
Jackson10453184
Lee8864141
Madison8314164
Jones6434112
Forrest6009120
Lauderdale5902186
Lowndes5405116
Lafayette499193
Lamar488565
Washington4803124
Bolivar3997109
Oktibbeha395381
Panola372379
Pontotoc367853
Monroe3558105
Warren354898
Union345960
Marshall344066
Neshoba3396152
Pearl River3301100
Leflore3041107
Lincoln298085
Sunflower286671
Hancock274459
Tate273162
Alcorn265453
Itawamba263759
Pike263778
Scott248046
Yazoo247056
Prentiss246552
Tippah243050
Copiah242749
Coahoma241054
Simpson236467
Leake231765
Grenada219471
Covington214672
Marion213073
Adams207070
Wayne202932
Winston201666
George199839
Attala194259
Newton193444
Tishomingo189361
Chickasaw185044
Jasper172736
Holmes168767
Clay159833
Stone144721
Tallahatchie141934
Clarke139862
Calhoun136521
Smith121424
Yalobusha117834
Walthall112336
Noxubee110822
Greene110429
Montgomery109834
Carroll104821
Lawrence102917
Perry102631
Amite98426
Webster92824
Tunica87321
Claiborne86625
Jefferson Davis85326
Humphreys83124
Benton82023
Kemper77620
Quitman6968
Franklin66715
Choctaw60913
Wilkinson58725
Jefferson54919
Sharkey43117
Issaquena1596
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 426543

Reported Deaths: 6126
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson62752920
Mobile30551554
Madison27303186
Tuscaloosa20835267
Montgomery19192305
Shelby18693114
Baldwin16513183
Lee12603101
Morgan12321113
Etowah11805168
Calhoun11206200
Marshall10236107
Houston8681148
Cullman8094105
Limestone807474
Elmore7923101
DeKalb771597
Lauderdale763183
St. Clair7599120
Talladega6224108
Walker5930174
Jackson583741
Colbert535473
Blount532083
Autauga522755
Coffee446256
Dale399781
Franklin368148
Chilton337865
Russell335910
Covington330168
Escambia321342
Dallas305196
Chambers288669
Clarke283133
Tallapoosa2630107
Pike251329
Marion247350
Lawrence245247
Winston229035
Bibb217047
Geneva203335
Marengo200829
Pickens196931
Hale177442
Barbour173836
Fayette171226
Butler170758
Cherokee160930
Henry155021
Monroe147317
Randolph141535
Washington138326
Clay127045
Crenshaw120244
Cleburne118423
Lamar118419
Macon116835
Lowndes111535
Wilcox103621
Bullock99728
Perry98219
Conecuh95120
Sumter89526
Greene76223
Coosa60515
Choctaw51524
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