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Germany Says Facebook's Facial Recognition Is Illegal

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the pictures-of-you dept.

Facebook 278

fysdt writes "Although we think it's generally a pretty nifty feature, valid concerns over the misuse of Facebook's auto-recognition tagging have lead Germany to ban it entirely. That's right — Facebook in its current state is now illegal. The German government, which possesses perhaps the world's most adamant privacy laws as a result of postwar abuse, considers Facebook's facial recognition a violation of 'the right to anonymity.'"

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GO GERMANS (5, Funny)

tenshihan (571181) | more than 3 years ago | (#36981158)

That shit is orwellian in how scary it is. You there, in 12b. Do more push-ups. Your facebook photos are getting fatter.

Re:GO GERMANS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36981252)

Spoiler alert:

Comrade Winston would be proud.

Re:GO GERMANS (3, Informative)

bonch (38532) | more than 3 years ago | (#36981718)

It should be noted that German investigators were also the ones who caused Google to admit their four years of Street View data-snooping.

The ban hammer came down.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36981164)

and nothing of value was lost.

My right of notbeingrecognized is being recognized (5, Insightful)

kasnol (210803) | more than 3 years ago | (#36981220)

Finally someone recognizes the right of "not being recognized without consent".

Re:My right of notbeingrecognized is being recogni (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36981672)

Wait, so people you used to know (maybe from school or something) have to ask your permission to recognize you if they should bump into you at the mall? Or do you live in your parent's basement?

Re:My right of notbeingrecognized is being recogni (1)

Spacezilla (972723) | more than 3 years ago | (#36982388)

I'm pretty sure he was joking. :)

Re:My right of notbeingrecognized is being recogni (0)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#36981798)

Won't take Zuckerberg and co long to spin this into an anti-Jew thing...

Re:My right of notbeingrecognized is being recogni (3, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36981808)

Anyone playing the race card has lost the argument already before opening his mouth.

Re:My right of notbeingrecognized is being recogni (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#36981888)

Race card? I was always under the impression that being Jewish was a religion, not a "race".

Re:My right of notbeingrecognized is being recogni (2, Insightful)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 3 years ago | (#36981988)

Race card? I was always under the impression that being Jewish was a religion, not a "race".

As with most things, it's very easy to make up your mind if you choose to ignore the last hundred years of debate and scholarship on the topic.

Re:My right of notbeingrecognized is being recogni (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36981996)

Being Jewish is a function of religion. Being a Jew is a function of heritage, more of an ethnicity then race, but many people call Latino a race so I guess it counts.

Re:My right of notbeingrecognized is being recogni (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36982114)

Race card? I was always under the impression that being Jewish was a religion, not a "race".

Then you were mistaken. It's both.

Re:My right of notbeingrecognized is being recogni (1)

Gamma747 (1438537) | more than 3 years ago | (#36982198)

Did that right consent to being recognized?

Re:My right of notbeingrecognized is being recogni (2)

EnempE (709151) | more than 3 years ago | (#36982308)

I recognize the right of others to not recognize without consent.

Re:My right of notbeingrecognized is being recogni (1)

xenobyte (446878) | more than 3 years ago | (#36982346)

Finally someone recognizes the right of "not being recognized without consent".

Precisely, and that's the problem.

If Facebook's feature is illegal, so is any and all other form of random recognition. If you meet someone by chance on the street, you are not allowed to recognize this person. Not even in your mind. Well, unless you get approval in advance. But in order to do that you have to recognize and initiate contact, and you're not allowed to recognize without prior consent...

Am I the only one to think that the law in its interpretation in relation to Facebook is stupid? - because unless the law specifically is meant to discriminate against Facebook, this is how it has to be interpreted.

Re:My right of notbeingrecognized is being recogni (1)

moronoxyd (1000371) | more than 3 years ago | (#36982590)

It's not so much the recognition itself it's the fact that FB stores that information and let's others, who do not know you, "recognise" you.

Just the facial recognition component? (5, Insightful)

wickerprints (1094741) | more than 3 years ago | (#36981240)

The whole damn site is a privacy violation. I don't even use FB and I know that there are photos of me floating around on there, tagged by my so-called "friends." Short of being a hermit, I have no way to stop people from uploading data that identifies me to a site that makes money by exploiting that knowledge to sell shit.

Re:Just the facial recognition component? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36981274)

Why stop there? You wouldn't be able to unilaterally stop them from uploading that same picture to Picasa, or Flickr, or Photobucket, or their personal website either - if you're worried about your friends posting pictures of you online then you're better off locking yourself in your cave.

Re:Just the facial recognition component? (2, Informative)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36981824)

The problem isn't so much the existence of the photo, more that it has become trivial to link a person's name to it.

Trying to find someone specific using the mentioned services is like searching for the needle in the haystack. It becomes a completely different matter if it's done for you by some search engine.

Re:Just the facial recognition component? (2, Informative)

kevinmenzel (1403457) | more than 3 years ago | (#36981284)

Tags not linked to an account cannot be searched. They don't link to anything. You can't even see all the photos in an album with the same unlinked tag. It hardly identifies you, because as far as I can tell, they don't even try to assume unlinked tags are related to each other in any way, even if the text is the same. I've seen worse affronts to privacy in my life.

Totally wrong. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36981846)

Facebook is a data-mining and advertising company. They can and will sell all that information any time they feel like it.

Re:Just the facial recognition component? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36981358)

I didn't know Facebook was in the fertilizer sales business? Wow! I'll have to keep an eye open for that... I know some farmers who might appreciate deals on dung!

Re:Just the facial recognition component? (1, Interesting)

MacTO (1161105) | more than 3 years ago | (#36981368)

I'm sorry, but I whole heartedly disagree.

You don't use Facebook because you see it as a privacy violation. That's perfectly fine, and I'll respect you for that.

What I do disagree with is the "my so-called 'friends'" comment. If they snagged a photo of you, they probably did so because you interacted with them. At that point, what you do is public knowledge. The degree to which it is public depends upon the context and your friends. If they snapped a photo of you while you were walking down the street, deal with it because that is a public space and anyone could have done that. If they snapped a photo of you while in your home, well, it kinda sucks that they don't respect your wishes. And it kinda leaves you with a choice: are you so fanatical about privacy that you are willing to give up any form of social life because of what happens? Or are you going to accept that there is no such thing as absolute privacy?

Re:Just the facial recognition component? (5, Insightful)

HellYeahAutomaton (815542) | more than 3 years ago | (#36981484)

If they snapped a photo of you while you were walking down the street, deal with it because that is a public space and anyone could have done that.

The problem here is how people will deal with it:
a) The native American who doesn't want their soul stolen.
b) The wanna-be fashion diva who claims you didn't get their release, and you are stealing their IP, livelihood, etc.
c) Or the guy who just wants to kick your ass because he doesn't want photos around that he didn't consent.

People in general have a reasonable expectation of privacy everywhere they go despite what all of the social media douchebags think. When you click that photo, you best be sure you know how to defend yourself, because you do not know how people are going to react.

Re:Just the facial recognition component? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36981586)

Maybe a few people (those who don't use Facebook) want privacy everywhere they go. That doesn't mean it's reasonable.

Re:Just the facial recognition component? (1)

Xenx (2211586) | more than 3 years ago | (#36981652)

Actually, if you're in public.. you do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy. If you're in-doors on private property, sure.. expect away.

Re:Just the facial recognition component? (2)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36981860)

Odd. Most European laws explicitly state that you may expect to have privacy. Pretty much wherever you go. Doesn't stop the governments from using phone records to track you, but I guess they prefer to retain this right exclusively.

Re:Just the facial recognition component? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#36982302)

Most European laws explicitly state that you may expect to have privacy. Pretty much wherever you go

Says who? There's plenty of CCTV cameras around.

Re:Just the facial recognition component? (1)

BradleyUffner (103496) | more than 3 years ago | (#36981666)

If they snapped a photo of you while you were walking down the street, deal with it because that is a public space and anyone could have done that.

The problem here is how people will deal with it:
a) The native American who doesn't want their soul stolen.
b) The wanna-be fashion diva who claims you didn't get their release, and you are stealing their IP, livelihood, etc.
c) Or the guy who just wants to kick your ass because he doesn't want photos around that he didn't consent.

People in general have a reasonable expectation of privacy everywhere they go despite what all of the social media douchebags think. When you click that photo, you best be sure you know how to defend yourself, because you do not know how people are going to react.

And NONE of those have anything to do with facebook. Those are all on the person who took the photo and could still happen had facebook or any other social networking site never been invented.

Re:Just the facial recognition component? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36981688)

Of course it does. It has to do with bundling of two features....distribution and identification.
Facebook is enabling shittiness.

Re:Just the facial recognition component? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36982622)

Most definitely C Oh yes snap me you better be ready for a right good smacking unless i said yes FIRST , Even my IP address reads a few hundred miles from the truth cus thats how i like it

Re:Just the facial recognition component? (3, Insightful)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 3 years ago | (#36981628)

Get a clue. It isn't as much the presence of the photos on FB that Grandparent is objecting to. It's the tagging of the photo by friends.

Sure, any photo taken in public is 'public knowledge.' But photos taken in public by strangers aren't captioned. And it isn't being 'fanatical about privacy' to not want captioned photos of yourself out there beyond your control. That's the entire fricking point about the Facial Recognition deal. It renders the captions world-searchable to a degree that was unthinkable a decade ago. And it makes rather aggressive data mining cheap.

Re:Just the facial recognition component? (2, Insightful)

MacTO (1161105) | more than 3 years ago | (#36981702)

I can sort of see your point, and I also think that it's irrelevant. I mean yeah, it's kinda scary that someone can take a photo and attach a name to it only to have someone else take that photo and that name to attach that name to another photo. And that other person may be stalking you for any nefarious reason.

The thing is, it happens anyhow. People started identifying you the first day you went to school, the teacher called your name and you said, "here." Some of the kids who were in the classroom when you identified yourself pointed you out and identified you to other kids during recess. That sort of thing happens all of the time in the adult world too.

So you can't really treat your likeness or your name as private. It simply isn't realistic.

Re:Just the facial recognition component? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36982044)

I don't think anyone is really bothered about privacy anymore, at least not beyond any expectation of it being exploited. We're in a dangerous situation now though in that we've spent a few years on this Internet thing accumulating a big pile of knowledge that normally would have been forgotten out of irrelevance. The next problem is that we're climbing that mountain of "business knowledge" where our only edge on our competition is that we have naked pictures of your mom. It'll bite em in the ass when we find naked pictures of their moms though.

In all this ever-changing TOS bullshit we're likely to see a few red faces, and a few naked arses and boobs. Big deal. Don't be a complete dick and you'll probably be fine.

Re:Just the facial recognition component? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36982206)

Get a clue. It isn't as much the presence of the photos on FB that Grandparent is objecting to. It's the tagging of the photo by friends.

OK, so someones friends takes pictures of him, uploads the picture to a webpage and adds his name to the picture.
If the person thinks that this is wrong he might consider getting new friends before whining about facebook.

Re:Just the facial recognition component? (4, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36981840)

If they snagged a photo of you, they probably did so because you interacted with them. At that point, what you do is public knowledge.

Our law disagrees. Actually, even taking a picture of someone (safe celebrities known to the law as "people of public interest") is not permitted without his or her explicit consent. Publishing this picture in whatever way requires consent again, and permitting the former does not imply permitting the latter in the slightest.

It's quite similar in Germany, btw.

Re:Just the facial recognition component? (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#36982034)

Our law disagrees. Actually, even taking a picture of someone (safe celebrities known to the law as "people of public interest") is not permitted without his or her explicit consent.

Actually... in US states it is "permitted", generally. If you are on public property, you can in general photograph anything or anyone you ordinarily observe. There is nothing to prevent that. Even if the subject doesn't want their picture to be known to the public. If they happen to walk by or through the viewfinder of your camera, you can snap photos without needing permission.

The act of publication is different.

If you choose to publish a photograph or use the image in commerce without a model release, you may incur liability. This depends on the laws of the state where the picture's taken -- but it's generally not a crime of any sort to publish a picture of someone without their consent, it might be a tort (dependant on state law), is all.

Of course, there are certain kinds of pictures that may be criminal to publish under any circumstances, for example, obscene photos in violation of community or other legal standards, may be criminal even with consent of subjects.

Especially if published means broadcast over public a TV channel, FCC regulations may be involved.

Re:Just the facial recognition component? (2)

vux984 (928602) | more than 3 years ago | (#36982186)

If they snapped a photo of you while you were walking down the street, deal with it because that is a public space and anyone could have done that.

And in isolation nobody gives a shit about that photo.

Its that everything is aggregated an linked together. If my friend or my neighbor takes a photo of me walking down the street, and its uploaded to flicker as part of some random "what i saw today" album that's entirely reasonable.

If everyone in the city has their web cams pointed at the street, all the streams are submited to a central database, and facial recognition software tags each stream as I walk into and out of various feeds.

Then anyone can log into a site search my name, and watch my every movement from the minute i leave my home until I get back again.

I see a huge difference there. Do you really not?

Re:Just the facial recognition component? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36981380)

"Short of being a hermit, I have no way to stop people from uploading data that identifies me ..."

Really ?

I find that beating the shit out of them and smashing their camera works pretty well. I learned this
trick from a Hell's Angel buddy. Just ask anyone who ever tried to photograph an Angel without
permission how long their camera lasted afterward ( hint : usually it is less than 10 seconds ).

Re:Just the facial recognition component? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36981564)

You beat the shit out of everyone who takes a picture of you?

That's fine I guess, but even if you train every day you're eventually going to lose some of those fights (through bad luck, or underestimating the photographer); is it really worth the risk? Another problem is that beating the shit out of someone is illegal.

Just out of curiosity how many times have you done this? Have you ever been arrested and/or sued civilly?

Re:Just the facial recognition component? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#36981602)

And yet...... [google.com]

Re:Just the facial recognition component? (5, Interesting)

Kagetsuki (1620613) | more than 3 years ago | (#36981522)

Ditto. And I get constant e-mails from Facebook because my friends decided to import their address books and now Facebook knows me. What's amazing is that my dead uncle who I only met once in person while living, his account still exists and Facebook keeps telling me he "wants to reconnect" with me. Yeah, I'm never signing up.

DMCA? (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 3 years ago | (#36981634)

Can you use DMCA method to take down the photos.? Obviously, you have to prove that the photos. contain you to the authorities. :(

Re:DMCA? (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#36982076)

Obviously, you have to prove that the photos. contain you to the authorities. :(

Just because the photo contains an image of you does not give you any copyright ownership.
Unless specified otherwise by a written agreement the photographer in general owns the right to the photos. You would also need to prove you created the scene/captured the picture, so have a copyright claim, which is quite difficult if you were a subject of the picture.

This kind of thing comes up a lot when people employ the services of a professional photographer. The photographer/studio that takes the pictures owns the pictures, is the only entity that can legally copy, scan, or otherwise reproduce them, and in general, they'll charge a pretty penny for rights to personal use/reproduction or any digital copy of professionally taken portraits, e.g. $100+ per image.

Remember the article about Photographer Who Took Family Portrait Of Girl Shot In Tucson Suing Media For Using The Photo [techdirt.com] ?

The photographers who take family pics apparently often keep all the old ones on file, and look for any media or anyone else daring to attempt to use their pics in publications, or anyone scanning and posting to the internet, so they can sue for a payday. :-/

Re:Just the facial recognition component? (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 3 years ago | (#36981692)

This is why I don't have freinds. Hell, apparently I can't even spell the word.

Re:Just the facial recognition component? (2, Interesting)

bonch (38532) | more than 3 years ago | (#36981756)

Slashdot on Google: "Google is awesome! Google+ already has 25 million users. So what if your info is out there, you give out your info with everything you do. It's not a big deal. Snooping passwords and emails with Street View vans? Your fault for not securing your network! Excuse me while I send more private messages through Gmail to be indexed for advertisers."

Slashdot on Facebook: "The whole damn site is a privacy violation! People are doing things with my pictures without my knowing, and I have no way to stop them. All Facebook wants to do is exploit my data for selling to advertisers. Those bastards and their privacy violations!"

Re:Just the facial recognition component? (1)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 3 years ago | (#36982268)

Gee, it's almost like slashdot is composed of individuals with different opinions isn't it?

Re:Just the facial recognition component? (1, Insightful)

ignavus (213578) | more than 3 years ago | (#36981764)

The whole damn site is a privacy violation.

You could say that about the entire Internet.

Re:Just the facial recognition component? (1)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | more than 3 years ago | (#36981944)

But, I thought I was anonymous... er... wait a minute.....

Re:Just the facial recognition component? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36981972)

Now, that's better. As I was saying, I thought I was anonymous when I was on the internet.

No facial recognition for you! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36981308)

However when facebook can tattoo barcodes on its users, it will be legal again.

I thought... (2)

bakarocket (844390) | more than 3 years ago | (#36981342)

...you could just turn that feature off.

And yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36981350)

Germany has cameras floating around that is using facial recognition for picking out terrorists.

Re:And yet (0)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#36981462)

Personally I'd like to know what the "post war privacy abuses" that TFA is speaking of that turned Germany so pro privacy. Are they talking about how the USA forced them to go through De-Nazification? Because what were we supposed to do? They WERE Nazis after all. Considering we'd had two world wars involving Germany in 30 years you can see why the USA might have wanted to make sure things had chilled out there.

As for TFA...meh. Anybody that thinks they have privacy in this age of supercomputers everywhere keeping up with every little CC transaction and every link you click on is probably deluding themselves. Sure I'd like it if everything was opt in only but in our heavily corporate culture if company A can make money off that info they WILL make money off that info. While I'm happy for the Germans i seriously doubt with all the attention whores we have in the USA anything that would ban FB would ever fly. hell the farmville withdrawal of millions of females across the country would probably drag things to a screeching halt!

Personally I'm more worried about what kind of pics my exGFs have pasted of me on their FB accounts. I mean that's all I'd need, have some potential client try to Google me and find some pic of me snoozing with bed hair and a caption that read "What a bastard!"

Re:And yet (4, Informative)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | more than 3 years ago | (#36981572)

Personally I'd like to know what the "post war privacy abuses" that TFA is speaking of that turned Germany so pro privacy.

How quickly we forget that before 1990 what we now know as "Germany" included *EAST* Germany.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stasi [wikipedia.org]

The East German Stasi had a network where neighbours ratted each other out, had huge databases listing all kinds of data of their citizens... On and on. As a consequence, much of Germany now has a huge pro-privacy culture, and a sense that citizens must 'never again' be tracked.

Re:And yet (1)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 3 years ago | (#36982166)

I don't know how the submitter forgot pre-war abuse as well as more abuse than is to be expected during the war. Gestapo, anyone?

Re:And yet (1)

Aneurysm (680045) | more than 3 years ago | (#36982610)

If you can find it I thoroughly recommend the German film "The Lives of Others"

And the rest of the World (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 3 years ago | (#36981354)

it is comforting to hear this while the rest of the world it trying to outlaw anonymity on the net.

Re:And the rest of the World (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36981496)

it is comforting to hear this while the rest of the world it trying to outlaw anonymity on the net.

Last time Germany fought the rest of the world things didn't go well for them. It won't be different this time.

Postwar abuse? (1, Interesting)

tibit (1762298) | more than 3 years ago | (#36981390)

The German government, which possesses perhaps the world's most adamant privacy laws as a result of postwar abuse [...]

Could someone please explain what is meant/implied by "postwar abuse" here? Post WW1? Sorry, I don't get it :(

Re:Postwar abuse? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36981490)

The German government, which possesses perhaps the world's most adamant privacy laws as a result of postwar abuse [...]

Could someone please explain what is meant/implied by "postwar abuse" here? Post WW1? Sorry, I don't get it :(

From TFA:

Cyrus Farivar at Deutsche Welle explains: "Germany has among some of the strictest data protection and privacy laws in the European Union, largely created in the wake of informational abuses perpetrated by the Nazis and the Stasi, the East German secret police. One of the foundational concepts of German data protection law is that no data can be collected without the express consent of the user."

Re:Postwar abuse? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36982018)

That's commendable but it must be hard to enforce. On the internet data is collected with out consent all the time. Perhaps by surfing the web you are consenting implicitly?

Re:Postwar abuse? (2)

katana (122232) | more than 3 years ago | (#36981504)

Re:Postwar abuse? (1)

Juanvaldes (544895) | more than 3 years ago | (#36981968)

Thanks for the link.

Re:Postwar abuse? (1)

Nukedoom (1776114) | more than 3 years ago | (#36981528)

I'm thinking they're referring to the whole Holocaust thing, the SS rounding up Jews, etc. There's always a fear that it might occur again, and the last thing Germany wants is probably a database of people and easy identification along with it.

Re:Postwar abuse? (1)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 3 years ago | (#36981580)

katana already tagged it, but I think it was the East German state that came to mind: they weren't genocidal maniacs, but they were the surveillance society against which all others are judged.

"The Lives of Others" is about a Stasi agent.

My quibble is that there is no indication that the German government has the same restrictions that businesses in Germany do. I doubt you could get your public records removed if you requested it.

Re:Postwar abuse? (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 3 years ago | (#36982100)

I'm sure all the east germans that died because they were trying to escape, will be happy to know that the STASI, along with the russians weren't either genocidal, or maniacs.

Re:Postwar abuse? (1)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 3 years ago | (#36982240)

They definitely were not genocidal in anything resembling the way that the Nazis were: perhaps you don't understand the word "genocide." As far as state-sponsored violence, they were pretty much par-for-the-course with much of the rest of the planet during the Cold War. (Try adding up the statistics of deaths caused by US-backed right-wing governments in Iran, Iraq, Latin America, and Southeast Asia, for starters.)

The current sober estimate is that the East German government was responsible for the death of 1,393 people before the reunification with West Germany. In fact, I would describe them as authoritarian and secretive, but anything except maniacal.

Re:Postwar abuse? (1)

BradleyUffner (103496) | more than 3 years ago | (#36981680)

I'm thinking they're referring to the whole Holocaust thing, the SS rounding up Jews, etc. There's always a fear that it might occur again, and the last thing Germany wants is probably a database of people and easy identification along with it.

That's not really /post/ war though. That all happened before and during the war.

Re: Not the mythocaust! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36982244)

Or did not happen at all by German hands, even though they were framed for it. Like the Katyn massacre performed by the KGB. Google "One Third of the Holocaust" and come back to reality instead of being a puppet to lies and grossly exaggerated pleas to emotional knee jerk reactions. Blind belief has been used to justify too many bigger and real problems.

Yet another tired and overplayed bullshit card.

Re:Postwar abuse? (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | more than 3 years ago | (#36981700)

Could someone please explain what is meant/implied by "postwar abuse" here? Post WW1? Sorry, I don't get it :(

Post WW2:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stasi [wikipedia.org]

Re:Postwar abuse? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36982436)

You see there was this thing called the Cold War, where half of Germany was a communist state. I'll refrain from commenting on American education.

Re:Postwar abuse? (1)

koinu (472851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36982554)

I'm German, but I am not that arrogant to expect from anyone except Germans to know about East Germany. I consider the people educated when they know where Germany is on the world map. We are not that important, as you might think.

I've been in parts of the world where people think that Hitler was a cool guy and some of them still think that we are Nazis (but they did not mean to offend me; they have been only interested and seeking conversation). German history is not interesting for many people. They have their own problems and their own history.

Question for you: what do you know about the history of Chile for example? I don't know anything about it.

Take that Zuckerberg! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36981400)

Stop it with your dick moves or we send Germany after you!

Opinion not matter of fact (2)

mseeger (40923) | more than 3 years ago | (#36981416)

Just for starters: No court has ruled yet.

There has been an opinion from the germanys chief privacy officer, but this is not a court ruling or something else the police could enforce. Though he is likely to be right (in terms of european and german law), this FB face recognition is not officialy illegal.

the end of privacy? (1)

schmidt349 (690948) | more than 3 years ago | (#36981480)

I realize that Slashdotters in the main have a libertarian-ish bent, but you guys really need to understand that when these Web 2.0 moguls stand up and say "privacy is dead" they do have a leg to stand on. An awful lot of people the world over, especially in the US, do not fetishize anonymity to anywhere near the extent that you do. Mostly people don't give a damn because they never do anything anonymously themselves, and then on the rare occasion when they have to conjure up an opinion on the subject they're pissed off because someone calling themselves anonymous (with or without a capital A) just did something rash or obnoxious. They do not know the names Brutus and Publius. They think the Pentagon Papers was a novel by Charles Dickens, and as far as they know Voltaire's Candide is the instruction manual for the first lightbulb.

This is not to say that people don't respect anti-establishment thinking. Christ and his later student Luther, Cicero and his distant colleague Paine, and even the antithetical squawkers Ron Paul and Rachel Carson, for instance, all earned respect in their own times precisely because they were willing to stand up and let their names be associated with their opinions. They were, of course, all called nasty things for not swimming with the current like the other fishies, and at least one of them got his hands chopped off and (maybe) stuffed in his mouth by one of the people he'd been criticizing. But they've had a far longer-lasting impact on the things they wanted to try to change than any pseudonymous wag ever has.

Anonymity, of course, isn't the real issue because it's perfectly simple for anyone to install Adblock, stay off Facebook, and generally lurk in the shadows unnoticed. Every time I hear "OMG they're killing anonymity" I hear "OMG they're killing my God-given right to say or do whatever I want and avoid responsibility!" Perhaps they don't realize that this argument puts them in the company of Phoebe Prince's tormentors as much as Voltaire and the Federalists.

But this is my central complaint about libertarianism: it disingenuously ignores the consequences of conduct. Privacy, more often than not, really is a shield for misconduct. Is it your right to be unseen at a bar when you're cheating on your wife, or kissing another man, or doing whatever it is you're so ashamed of your friends and family finding out about? Well, clearly not, because you were there for some kid to take your picture and get you automagically tagged on Facebook for your wife or father confessor to find out about. So how in the hell can you get angry that it's now less easily concealed?

Privacy, I might add, is not the same thing as the right against unwarranted police and government intrusion. That particular conflation is no older than William O. Douglas. So don't accuse me of promoting a police state, because I'm not. I still believe in the 4th amendment and I still think police need to get warrants to do so much as peek in your garbage bin. The behavior we're talking about here, however, is by private actors (Facebook and Google and Apple and whoever) in relation to other private actors.

"But," some will object, "what I'm doing anonymously is morally OK but my culture doesn't tolerate it, like smoking pot or having an obscure religious viewpoint!" Did it ever occur to anyone that part of the problem with this kind of conduct is that concealment reinforces the notion that there's something bad or wrong with what's being done? Hell, if all the people who had ever smoked pot were to admit to it, either half the adult population of America would be in prison or it wouldn't be a crime to smoke pot.

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is this: anonymity and privacy are rapidly extinguishing in our culture, and though it's likely to be messy I doubt the change is going to destroy free society any more than it did to take the US off the gold standard or give women the vote. These are cultural conventions, remember, ones that other, newer values are displacing.

So, there's my rant. Mod me into oblivion for disagreeing with the current groupthink on Slashdot, or just ignore me. I'm kind of an asshole anyway. But it's not just me you're ignoring, it's your family, neighbors, and fellow citizens too.

Re:the end of privacy? (4, Insightful)

hjf (703092) | more than 3 years ago | (#36981624)

Stop confusing anonymity with privacy.

Re:the end of privacy? (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 3 years ago | (#36981770)

Posting an anti-privacy rant with the name Schmidt was the first laugh. The second was your accusation that Slashdot is made up of libertarians. This community hates corporations and the free market.

Re:the end of privacy? (1)

schmidt349 (690948) | more than 3 years ago | (#36982052)

Posting an anti-privacy rant with the name Schmidt was the first laugh.

Wow. I don't know if that's supposed to be anti-Semitic or some kind of joke about Germany passing this law (I'm Irish-American).

I'm about ready to get off this crazy train. Slashdot respects my privacy, so I can delete my account, right? OH WAIT

S0 does that make a human brain illegal too? (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 3 years ago | (#36981536)

... since it can do a pretty decent job at identifying people from their appearance.

Re:S0 does that make a human brain illegal too? (2)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 3 years ago | (#36981904)

Why are you intentionally being obtuse? This is about automated, mass identification for profit without a clear way to disable it, opt-out, or delete the data, nor do people really know who ends up with this information and what those buyers can do with it. You could say that's a problem with every single aspect of Facebook. However, people choose to put that info up (perhaps uninformed and without legal understanding of the terms of service but I digress) whereas this is automatic.

Anyway, I look forward to see you in police GPS tracking stories to say you can walk behind people and gun control threads where you say you can kill a person with a rock.

Re:S0 does that make a human brain illegal too? (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 3 years ago | (#36982020)

I was being sarcastic.

While it's not as automated or public when it's individual people realizing who it is that they are seeing, Facebook is still doing the exact same thing as what even tiny infants are capable of - recognizing faces of people. If facebook should be outlawed for having software that does that, then by extension, it should be illegal for humans to do the same thing.

Of course, it's absurd to outlaw human thought. But if human thought can't be outlawed, why should emulating it?

Re:S0 does that make a human brain illegal too? (2)

EvanED (569694) | more than 3 years ago | (#36982124)

If facebook should be outlawed for having software that does that, then by extension, it should be illegal for humans to do the same thing.

By that logic, because the military is allow to possess nuclear weapons, so should you be.

Of course, the circumstances are far different in each case, just as they are with Facebook. I'm not totally on Germany's side here... privacy nowadays is a really thorny issue.

Take GPS tracking. Should cops be allowed to stick a GPS tracker on your car just for the heck of it? Imagine if they did that to everyone in town. (And were really good about it and no one noticed.) They let people drive for a few months, then sent out a few hundred thousand dollars of tickets to everyone. Privacy violation? Should it be legal?

They weren't really doing much that the police couldn't do without GPS. You could have cops tail each person and record all their moves. Have a few of them so that they can switch off so that the person being followed doesn't know it.

Of course, you couldn't actually do that: there are too many practical problems. You'd need an order of magnitude more cops than subjects. Think the people in town wouldn't notice an influx of new people? You'd need the cops to be highly trained and diligent. And who would pay?

(Just like how you could hire an army to go through and manually tag all your photos, but you can't practically speaking.)

But in the end, a GPS device is just emulating a few cops who are good at tailing someone. The latter is legal without a warrant, so why shouldn't the former be?

What it boils down to is that how easy it is to do something matters. It matters a lot. And I think it's certainly reasonable -- perhaps necessary -- to put some legal checks on some of this "privacy busting" technology. Where that line should go... I have no idea.

Re:S0 does that make a human brain illegal too? (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 3 years ago | (#36982390)

I don't want to go there... I just strongly object to the notion that it is acceptable to prohibit or limit computers from performing what parallels, mimics, or otherwise effectively amounts to mental steps that can also be taken by a human being (albeit perhaps just not as conveniently or quickly) on nothing more than the basis that those very steps are perceived as some sort of rights violation (while at the same time not perceived as such when they are done by human beings).

Re: "without a clear way to disable it" (2)

interactive_civilian (205158) | more than 3 years ago | (#36982042)

This is about automated, mass identification for profit without a clear way to disable it, opt-out, or delete the data, nor do people really know who ends up with this information and what those buyers can do with it.

Account menu -> Privacy Settings -> Customize -> "Suggest photos of me to friends" Settings -> Disabled

Seems pretty clear to me, as it is a logical progression through the menus and pages. It's not hard to find. It is easy to disable. It's probably already disabled for many people.

And, at least on my account, it was disabled by default. i.e. As soon as I heard about this feature, I went immediately to my account privacy settings to turn it off and found that it was already turned off.

Auto-tagging (1)

CanEHdian (1098955) | more than 3 years ago | (#36981670)

As I understand it, it's not so much the facial recognition itself as the auto-tagging that is the perceived problem. This is easily fixed by Facebook: make this one of the privacy options, and default it to "no". In that case you have to opt-in, which means informed consent.

other facial recognition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36981744)

google and microsoft both have facial recognition in their produce.

i'm i wrong?

I'm in the wrong country... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36981946)

Amazing cars, unbelievable roads (with no speed limits in some cases!), good beer, good food, cool people, and a government that fights for its peoples privacy? When did moving to Germany become attractive? How did we in the US reverse our roles with the krauts?

Deutschland über alles i'm afraid

Nifty? (2)

caitsith01 (606117) | more than 3 years ago | (#36982006)

Not sure who the "we" is in the summary, but I don't know anyone who thinks the facial recognition feature is anything other than creepy.

Re:Nifty? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36982544)

Not sure who the "we" is in the summary, but I don't know anyone who thinks the facial recognition feature is anything other than creepy.

Me. I have no problems with my face being recognized, and most of the embarrassing pictures of me available on FaceBook are ones that I put up myself. But I'm not what you'd call thin-skinned, either.

There's one in the spotlight... (1)

BenJCarter (902199) | more than 3 years ago | (#36982274)

... he don't look right to me, put him up against the wall! [pink-floyd-lyrics.com] ...
And the hammers march on.

Reminds me of a bumper sticker (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36982384)

This reminds me of a bumper sticker I saw in Redmond, WA, presumably printed at the height of legal troubles at MS.

"Windows 98: So good it's illegal".

s/Windows\ 98/Facebook/.

Post war abuse? (1)

glorybe (946151) | more than 3 years ago | (#36982392)

It seems to me that the huge issue following WWII in Germany involved efforts to hide Nazis and to cover their tracks. Face identifications of individuals would have caused a lot more Nazis to stand trial for their evil acts.

Hope not! (1)

xenobyte (446878) | more than 3 years ago | (#36982408)

If someone has a picture up there in which I can be recognized, but not tagged me in it, I'd never know. This feature will auto-tag me and presumably let me know just like any other tagging on Facebook. If I don't like the picture I can ask to have it removed. I can't do that if I don't know it's there.

If people are concerned with pictures of them behaving stupidly, revealing infidelity and insurance scams (in relation to work related injuries) and similar, the advice is mind-numbingly simple: JUST DON'T DO STUPID STUFF LIKE THAT!

When out in public always remember that someone might snap a picture of you and you'll never know where that picture ends up - Facebook, on some website, in possession of someone who'll use it for blackmail or similar. It's that simple. Don't do stupid things just because you think nobody is looking or you're too drunk to care. Just don't get that drunk, plain and simple.

But if you don't care, just go out and enjoy life. Get drunk or high or whatever. Hope that you don't get caught, one way or the other.

Re:Hope not! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36982586)

I know you didn't mean it this way, but your last paragraph sums it up pretty nicely. "Go out and enjoy life, just don't get caught"? Sad.

Image recognition via FB...a little scary... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36982496)

I agree with Germany on this one (did I just say that?...damn krauts :). Facebook in general is encroaching on my privacy bit by bit and though that sort of recognition is cool...I can't say that its a good thing for my anonymity...

Not "banned". (4, Informative)

Udo Schmitz (738216) | more than 3 years ago | (#36982502)

From the original source (http://www.thelocal.de/sci-tech/20110803-36703.html):

"Johannes Caspar, Hamburg’s data protection official, on Tuesday said the feature was a serious violation of people’s rights to determine what is done with their personal data. He added that German authorities would take quick legal action if Facebook did not comply with his demands.

This could include fines of up to €300,000 ($426,000), Caspar said.

“Should Facebook maintain the function, it must ensure that only data from persons who have declared consent to the storage of their biometric facial profiles be stored in the database,” he said."

At the moment this is just an opinion of the appointed guy for data protection of the city state of Hamburg. Not even a minister/secretary. Although he certainly has a point and Facebook could be fined, Germany is not Iran. We don't just "ban" stuff.

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