FB suspends tagging for new users

Facebook has suspended its photo-tagging feature for new users in the UK and Europe – and could be forced to destroy its entire photo database – after German data protection officials accused it of gathering the data illegally.
The social networking site claimed in a statement that it was not breaking EU law with its facial recognition software, which prompts users to ‘tag’ or identify people in photos uploaded to the site.
It cites the fact that the practice is legal in Ireland, where Facebook’s European operation is incorporated.
Users can prevent friends from seeing tag suggestions but this requires opting out through Facebook privacy settings. German officials claim this is a violation of European law and have re-opened an investigation into the issue that was first launched in summer 2011.
German data-protection commissioner Johannes Caspar said: “We have no other option but to reopen our investigation. We have met repeatedly with Facebook but have not been able to get their cooperation on this issue, which has grave implications for personal data.”
Although Facebook insists that it isn’t violating any laws, it has agreed to suspend the tagging feature for Europeans who joined Facebook on or after July 1.

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