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Facebook deletes facial recognition data in the EU

Irish DPC confirms removal
Mon Feb 11 2013, 11:15
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SOCIAL NETWORK Facebook has deleted all European facial recognition data, the Irish data protection commissioner (DPC) has reported after reviewing the website's execution.

"I can confirm that we recently reviewed the source code and execution process used in the deletion process," said the Irish DPC spokeswoman Saud Ciara O'Sullivan. "[I] can confirm that we were satisfied with the processes used by Facebook to delete the templates in line with its commitment."

Facebook announced that it would delete all stored facial recognition data from European users' accounts last September after receiving a recommendation from the Irish DPC to make changes to its privacy policies.

The social network said it had already turned off the feature for new users in the EU when the DPC made the recommendation, saying that templates for existing users would be deleted by 15 October.

Back then, the Irish DPC said that by deleting the data Facebook was "sending a clear signal of its wish to demonstrate its commitment to best practice in data protection compliance".

Other reasons behind the Irish DPC's recommendation for deleting the data was that it would provide better transparency for the user in how their data is handled, increase user control over settings and give users rights to have ready access to their personal data.

Last month, Facebook posted its financial results for the fourth quarter of 2012, reporting revenues of $1.58bn, an increase of 40 percent from the same quarter in 2011.

However, on a much less positive note, Facebook profits fell off a cliff compared to the prior year. The firm reported that its GAAP net income for the fourth quarter of 2012 was $64m, down precipitously from $302m in the fourth quarter of 2011, a plunge of nearly 79 percent. µ

 

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