Privacy Rights Group Dislikes Facebook Facial Recognition Feature

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A screen shot of a Facebook web page. (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

SAN JOSE (KCBS) – The Electronic Privacy Information Center has announced plans to file a complaint with federal regulators over a Facebook feature that scans photographs and identifies users’ faces without their consent.

The relatively new facial recognition feature that automatically suggests who on a user’s friend list might be shown in digital images they upload should be opt-in rather than opt-out, said the organization’s executive director, Marc Rotenberg.

“When names are tagged, you become searchable across the entire network,” he said, and simply appearing in a photo that an acquaintance happens to upload doesn’t mean a person wants to be identified in that picture.

KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:

A spokesperson for Facebook refused to comment on the pending Federal Trade Commission complaint, but said the company has received almost no negative feedback about a feature used by millions registered with the social networking site.

Facebook’s Help Center offers instructions on how to navigate the site’s privacy settings and disable the automatic photo tagging feature.

The way Facebook allows users to manage privacy settings was the subject of an EPIC complaint to the FTC in 2009 that several other consumer advocacy groups have since joined.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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