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Facebook has rolled out its facial recognition technology to countries outside of the US, but has switched the feature on by default without telling its users first.
Facebook Inc. will be probed by European Union data-protection regulators over a feature that suggests people’s names to tag in pictures without their permission.
A group of privacy watchdogs drawn from the EU’s 27 nations will study the measure for possible rules violations, said Gerard Lommel, a Luxembourg member of the so-called Article 29 Data Protection Working Party. Ireland’s data protection authority is also looking into the photo-tagging issue, said spokeswoman Ciara O’Sullivan.
“Tags of people on pictures should only happen based on people’s prior consent and it can’t be activated by default,” said Lommel. Such automatic tagging “can bear a lot of risks for users” and the group of European data protection officials will “clarify to Facebook that this can’t happen like this.”