Facebook is being accused of violating German privacy laws with its facial recognition system.
Hamburg’s privacy commissioner said that the technology was collecting users’ biometric information and ordered the data be deleted.
The commissioner has the power to levy a fine of up to 300,000 euros (£261,000).
Facebook said it would be considering the claim, but rejected the accusation that it had broken the law.
In a statement, a company spokesperson added: “People like the convenience of our photo tag suggest feature which makes it easier and safer for them to manage their online identities.”
Facebook introduced facial recognition to its photos application in June. The system suggests the identity of users’ friends while they are tagging images.
The site came under fire at the time based on the erroneous belief that the technology could be used to identify strangers.
In reality, it is restricted to a user’s friends.
However, the concerns of Hamburg’s information commissioner, Dr Johannes Caspar, centre around the fact that the social network is building a private database of faces.
“The risks of such a collection of biometric data is immense,” said Dr Caspar. …
Listen to the Germans. They know the privacy of your identity can be a matter of life and death. Facebook makes it look like so much innocent fun to tag your friends … and set the world stage for genocide. It does not matter if Facebook has evil intentions, someone who gets their data eventually will. And then, the Dr. Evil of the future could send a deadly insect drone to quietly sting every person in the world of a certain ethnicity, or political belief, or religion, or level of intelligence, or income level, or ____.