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Facebook Moments banned from EU for forcing facial-recognition on users

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Facebook Momenta

Facebook Moments will not reach European consumers for the foreseeable future, due to privacy concerns.

The social network’s new photo app, which allows users to privately share smartphone photos with friends, was this week launched in the US.

However, its use of facial-recognition technology has proven too controversial for Europe.

Moments is able to identify the Facebook friends in your snaps, using a tool called DeepFace AI. Earlier this year, Facebook claimed that the system is accurate to a rather disconcerting 97.25 per cent.

The company’s Irish regulator has prevented Moments from launching on this side of the Atlantic, as it says that users need to be given a choice about whether they want to make use of the facial-recognition system.

“We don't have an opt-in mechanism so [Moments] is turned off until we develop one,” said Richard Allen, Facebook's head of policy in Europe.

Facebook has also admitted that it doesn’t yet intend to create such a feature.

Earlier this week, nine privacy organisations called off discussions with US government agencies, after failing to come to an agreement over the formation of a “code of conduct” regarding facial-recognition technology.

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"At a base minimum, people should be able to walk down a public street without fear that companies they've never heard of are tracking their every movement – and identifying them by name – using facial-recognition technology," they said in a joint statement.

"Unfortunately, we have been unable to obtain agreement even with that basic, specific premise."

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