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Facebook Disables Face Recognition In EU

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the privacy-on-demand dept.

Facebook 96

SquarePixel writes "Facebook has disabled face recognition features on its site for all new European users. The move follows privacy recommendations made by the Irish Data Protection Commissioner. Tag Suggest information has been turned off for new users, and Facebook plans to delete the information for existing EU users by October 15th. 'The DPC says today’s report (PDF) is the result of evaluations it made through the first half of 2012 and on-site at Facebook’s HQ in Dublin over the course of two days in May and four in July. The DPC says FB has made just about all of the improvements it requested in five key areas: better transparency for the user in how their data is handled; user control over settings; more clarity on the retention periods for the deletion of personal data, and users getting more control over deleting things; an improvement in how users can access their personal data; and the ability of Facebook to be able to better track how they are complying with data protection requirements.'"

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96 comments

Europe knows what's going on (5, Informative)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 years ago | (#41414221)

Other countries should get a clue before they lose what privacy they have left. It's not an obsolete concept just because the execs of the companies that stand to profit most from your personal info say so. Facial recognition technology is one of the biggest threats to privacy.

Re:Europe knows what's going on (2)

PieLala (2736201) | about 2 years ago | (#41414251)

Exactly. Google also has European headquarters in Dublin and I expect them to be next on list. Google has been abusing Europeans privacy for too long.

Re:Europe knows what's going on (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41414317)

Other countries should get a clue before they lose what privacy they have left. It's not an obsolete concept just because the execs of the companies that stand to profit most from your personal info say so. Facial recognition technology is one of the biggest threats to privacy.

So... all of the US Facebook account DO have the face recognition tech running non-stop? That's good to know.
Facebook doesn't exactly announce all of the crap they do to fuck with your privacy. Slashdot is one of the places that keeps me informed.

Re:Europe knows what's going on (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41415029)

Indeed, perhaps we should share this story! [facebook.com]

Re:Europe knows what's going on (1)

Lennie (16154) | about 2 years ago | (#41416049)

Yes and they check the faces against a database supplied by the US-authorities.

But I believe the image services of Yahoo, Bing and Google do the same.

Re:Europe knows what's going on (4, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 years ago | (#41414329)

Other countries should get a clue before they lose what privacy they have left.

Yet in many EU countries it is illegal to walk down the street if you shield your face from public view.

As an American, I think holding the EU up as a model for personal freedom is ridiculous.

Re:Europe knows what's going on (4, Informative)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 years ago | (#41414491)

Good thing [justia.com] the US [thinkprogress.org] has no such laws [anapsid.org]

Re:Europe knows what's going on (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41418545)

While I agree, and you are right, that doesn't scratch parent's argument at all.

Both the US and the EU are really not suited to be models for personal freedom.
Even others being worse is no argument. For the same reason that somebody murdering 10 people doesn't make the person who murders 2 people a good person.

Re:Europe knows what's going on (1)

rich_hudds (1360617) | about 2 years ago | (#41414563)

Can you list these countries? I call bullshit.

Re:Europe knows what's going on (3, Informative)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 years ago | (#41414677)

Can you list these countries? I call bullshit.

Obscuring your face in public is illegal in France [wikipedia.org] and Belgium [wikipedia.org] . In some other countries, including Italy and Spain, there is no national law, but it is illegal in many localities.

Re:Europe knows what's going on (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41414711)

but it is illegal in many localities.

So just like the US then. As a non-European and non-American I find these pretty interesting. Is wearing a Burka illegal too? Just curious.

Re:Europe knows what's going on (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41414761)

They usually make special little exemptions for the religious because they're special snowflakes. Everyone else is fucked, though, even if they come up with some made-up religion of their own (which makes just as much sense as any other). Probably.

Either ban it for everyone or no one.

Re:Europe knows what's going on (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41415545)

I beleive france and belgium implemented the laws specifically BECAUSE of religious groups if memory serves.

Re:Europe knows what's going on (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | about 2 years ago | (#41419581)

Yep, there was a big debate about the burka ban in France.

Re:Europe knows what's going on (1)

rich_hudds (1360617) | about 2 years ago | (#41414715)

It's not illegal in Belgium, Italy or Spain.

What you meant by 'many EU countries' was in fact France.

Re:Europe knows what's going on (0)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 years ago | (#41414849)

It's not illegal in Belgium

Yes it is. Please read the link I provided, or you can use Google to find hundreds of other references.

Italy or Spain.

Italy and Spain have local bans. For instance, obscuring your face in public is illegal in Barcelona [reuters.com] .

Re:Europe knows what's going on (3, Interesting)

Svippy (876087) | about 2 years ago | (#41415135)

It's not illegal in Belgium

Yes it is. Please read the link I provided, or you can use Google to find hundreds of other references.

It was a ban on burkas [bbc.co.uk] . Yes, it's ridiculous, but it is not illegal to wear masks in Belgium. It was a ban on religious clothing that obscures a face, particularly forced upon women. But the amount of burkas used in Belgium is probably at a minimum.

Italy or Spain.

Italy and Spain have local bans. For instance, obscuring your face in public is illegal in Barcelona [reuters.com] .

Actually, it's only illegal in public buildings, such as markets and libraries, which your link itself lists quite clearly. You can still walk outside while having your face obscured.

So basically, your "many EU countries" is "France". Belgium's law will likely have little consequence, and it seems that the Barcelona law is a protection of public buildings. Not that Turkey is the pedestal of civil rights, but they also had a similar ban as Barcelona (until at least very recently).

Denmark also have a ban on masks, but only during demonstrations and other large crowds. The usual freedom was previously abused heavily by activists to destroy property rather than actual demonstrate. The rationale is that if you are really interested in your message, you will have no issue showing your face at a public demonstration.

But most of these laws seems to be a form of Islamophobia than an actual crackdown on civil liberties, which seems to be collateral damage. There was even talk about banning burkas in Denmark, until politicians realised only 5 people in the whole country wore them, and they were ethnic Danes who had converted to Islam. The cases might even be similar in most other EU countries. Like the Swiss ban on Minarets. Ridiculous.

Re:Europe knows what's going on (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41415445)

But most of these laws seems to be a form of Islamophobia than an actual crackdown on civil liberties, which seems to be collateral damage.

Targetting a religion like that is a crackdown on civil liberties.

Re:Europe knows what's going on (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41419559)

Except it's not targeting a religion, it's targeting the abuse against civil liberties that it is to force someone to mask themselves. I definitely don't think any religion should be above the law, so making a practice that is "forced" on women against the law is actually a good thing, since it would slow down or halt the indoctrination of new people into this prison-like culture. (And I refer here to all religions).

On the other hand I deem it a crime against civil liberties to take my ability to be anonymous away as well. If I wish to wear a burka, or a mask, or a bag over my head, that should always be fully legal - whether it's sane or not. So I disagree with the law in question, but not it's cause or mode of operation.

Re:Europe knows what's going on (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41415185)

And today ShanghaiBill learns that Barcelona is not a country!

A ban in Barcelona has 0% to do with the laws of Spain.

Re:Europe knows what's going on (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41415475)

Jesus fuck, are you really that stupid?

Re:Europe knows what's going on (1)

Threni (635302) | about 2 years ago | (#41414859)

Heh. I live in the next country along to France, and I find that any French-related difficulties I might be concerned with can be avoided completely by simply not going to France!

Re:Europe knows what's going on (1)

pmontra (738736) | about 2 years ago | (#41415237)

There is a national law about that in Italy. Link in Italian [wikipedia.org] , automatic translation of the relevant excerpt: Law 533/1977, article 2 "prohibits the use of helmets and other items which are likely to make in whole or in part unrecognizable citizens participating in public events carried on in public or in a place open to the public;" (I won't do much better, that's law-speak). That's aimed at some kind of political/violent events, not at Carnival :-)

Re:Europe knows what's going on (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41418501)

How about Germany (link to translated actual law) [google.de] ?

We can thank the US occupying forces (back then) and the Nazis for that. (There are way too many old Nazi laws that still aren't gone because nobody cared enough.)

Re:Europe knows what's going on (4, Insightful)

WaZiX (766733) | about 2 years ago | (#41414587)

Yet in many EU countries it is illegal to walk down the street if you shield your face from public view.

As an American, I think holding the EU up as a model for personal freedom is ridiculous.

Well, don't know about personal freedom (although having lived both in the US and Europe, I feet more free in Europe), but on the internet privacy topic there are good things coming from the EU. Not taking those good things as a model would be kind of stupid... Just like judging the whole topic of personal freedom on a single law is kind of stupid.

So called mask law exists in US city too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41415417)

New york IIRC had one. Some might be on their way to be overturned by the supreme court (or they might not be). Furthermore I would rather see boobies and forbid violence/certain form of speech, you (the US) would rather scream murder if halfa tit is shown but have no problem with ultra violence and widespread gun weapon. Well maybe we could agree that our culture is different and neither is better than the others ?

Re:Europe knows what's going on (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41414609)

In the Urinated States of America, Pi is 3 and one (France? yes, no-one doubts that France is having a bit of a freedom crisis at the moment) is many.

Explains corporation law, anyway.

Meanwhile, in the "freedom from religion" US, Judeo-Christian law means you will get arrested for walking around on a beach showing the tits that "God" gave you - not to mention the unholy penis and the dirty, dirty vagina. Or have you become so indocrinated that you think there is some objective, secular reason why a guy/girl must cover up certain body parts? Perhaps you think that women will go wild if they see your flaccid member? Tell us, Shanghai'd Bill.

Re:Europe knows what's going on (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41414967)

It is illegal to wear a mask in Cleveland, Ohio. (perhaps only in a parade, or mass gathering, etc) This law was passed to prevent the KKK from holding rallies there and being able to hide.

Re:Europe knows what's going on (4, Insightful)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 years ago | (#41414995)

The EU isn't about personal freedom. On the spectrum of 'liberty equality and brotherhood' (liberte, egalite fraternite) europe and canada have landed on the side of Equality before the others, the US 'liberty' first, and China and Japan are more in the 'brotherhood' as in service to the country first.

As an American, I think holding the EU up as a model for personal freedom is ridiculous.

As a canadian I think holding up the united states a model of anything worth emulating is ridiculous. About the only thing you can say you do better than we do is bomb people, and half the time that does more harm than good.

See the problem? We all look at the primary responsibility of the role of government and the people differently. So we don't try and emulate each other, we should steal good ideas as they come up, and reject bad ones. The EU is trying to bottle up facebooks privacy invasion service, that's good. They supported the americans in torturing people, that's bad, but they're coming around to prosecuting that, which is good. The US has a relatively large federal government, in a single currency, the EU has almost no 'federal' government and a hodge podge of currencies but the Euro area is a single currency without a state, you can guess which is working better based on what is happening in Spain, Italy, and Greece.

We also have recognize where our situations are different. Police in England don't carry guns, but there's also a lot less gun crime in england than in the US, so following the US model would be bad, and the US following the UK model wouldn't work either (unless you could magically make millions of guns appear or disappear of course).

Re:Europe knows what's going on (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41415283)

Quote
Yet in many EU countries it is illegal to walk down the street if you shield your face from public view.

When coming out with statements like this, Please name the country(s) concerned, Being a European I know of no European country(s) that have such laws, Nice FUD attempt on behalf of you know who....

Re:Europe knows what's going on (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41416011)

Ridiculous is a bit strong, but taking it cautios can't hurt.

Re:Europe knows what's going on (1)

davidoff404 (764733) | about 2 years ago | (#41418537)

"Yet in many EU countries it is illegal to walk down the street if you shield your face from public view."

Quite apart from the fact that this is manifestly a case of an American making up bullshit to feel better about the fact that he doesn't live in Europe, precisely why do you think that not being allowed to walk down a French street with a balaclava is infringing on your personal freedoms? Don't you think that your personal freedoms should to be balanced against the freedom of others to not be intimidated by mask-wearing weirdos?

Re:Europe knows what's going on (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about 2 years ago | (#41420201)

"Yet in many EU countries it is illegal to walk down the street if you shield your face from public view.
As an American, I think holding the EU up as a model for personal freedom is ridiculous."

I suggest you try walking up and down in front of a bank in the US wearing a balaclava.

Re:Europe knows what's going on (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 2 years ago | (#41424467)

Yet in many EU countries it is illegal to walk down the street if you shield your face from public view.
Who told you that nonsense?

Re:Europe knows what's going on (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41418441)

Please stop things like "Europe ... something .... Other countries..."

1. EU != Europe
2. Europe is not a country, and never will be.
3. Neither is the EU.
3. We are not structured like the US.
4. We really don’t like becoming a "country". Especially for no reason.

I'm sure you meant well, but: It's really not nice. Even if it's by accident. (Because some groups deliberately cause confusion so people fall into the mindset by accident.)

Re:Europe knows what's going on (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about a year ago | (#41429473)

It was entirely unintentional, I'll be more careful about that.

Re:Europe knows what's going on (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#41430951)

Your inability to recognize obvious context doesn't make the GP incorrect. "Europe does it right, but other countries don't." has a clear meaning and doesn't violate any of your rules. It means "in general, the countries that comprise Western Europe..." Yes, that's not PC, but when "Europe" is discussed, people go off that, except for possibly the people in Europe. Much like an "American" means a citizen or resident of the USA to everyone on the planet other than Spanish speakers, who seem to all suffer from a "false friend" confusion over it. What some people think "should be" doesn't trump reality. "Europe" is short hand for "in general, countries in Western Europe..."

Good news. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41414229)

Now, how about the same for the USA?

Billions prolly an underestimate over the millenia (4, Insightful)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 years ago | (#41414235)

Ok, Europe's solved a relatively minor problem hostorically -- evil corporations tracking you.

Now you need to tackle the other 99.99% of the historical problem, billions-of-needless-deathswise, and stop government from facial recognition, and license plate recognition, and so on and automated assembly into tracking databases.

Re:Billions prolly an underestimate over the mille (4, Insightful)

Aqualung812 (959532) | about 2 years ago | (#41414373)

My thoughts exactly. I really don't care about a big evil corporation knowing where I've been, my religion, what I weigh, who I have sex with, etc. If anything, the more they know about me, the more likely that they will make products I want to buy.

However, the government knowing all of those things is actually something to be concerned about.

I think it is quite a marketing feat by the EU: Make it appear that they are strong defenders of privacy by being ruthless in protecting the privacy of consumers, while implementing far worse privacy breaches on their own citizens.

Re:Billions prolly an underestimate over the mille (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41414555)

Except that once corporations collect the information it becomes available to governments.

Re:Billions prolly an underestimate over the mille (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41414695)

The EU aren't capable of "marketing" to anybody. Or aggregating data to suit their own ends.

If a corporation knows, you might as well assume that the relevant nation/group of nations knows too.

Giving up privacy to a company in the hope that they might not give their data to a law enforcement agency is stupid - is that really still an issue for debate?

Re:Billions prolly an underestimate over the mille (0)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#41415593)

If anything, the more they know about me, the more likely that they will make products I want to buy.

The more they know about you, the more they can manipulate you to create wants you never had before.

Re:Billions prolly an underestimate over the mille (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41416967)

How? My wants haven't changed in decades, so they're clearly not doing a very good job! And I see tons of ads. Some of us are just intelligent enough to evaluate our actions before doing something (Admitting that doesn't make someone more vulnerable, but becoming complacent might.).

Re:Billions prolly an underestimate over the mille (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41415999)

I really don't care about a big evil corporation knowing where I've been, my religion, what I weigh, who I have sex with, etc. If anything, the more they know about me, the more likely that they will make products I want to buy.

However, the government knowing all of those things is actually something to be concerned about.

Funny, my view is the exact opposite. I'm shocked if I lose a private document and the government archives don't have a backup. On the other hand, I'm endlessly annoyed by all kinds of merchants trying to get under my skin all the time.

My government is not out to get me. The corporations are.

Re:Billions prolly an underestimate over the mille (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41417825)

My government is not out to get me. The corporations are.

If you look closely, the demographic of people that are caused problems by the government is quite different from that which is most negatively effected by corporations. The words "criminal" and "weak-minded" I would use to label these two groups are far from perfect but are easy to argue for and give a decent rough idea of the people one would find in each. I would expect to find far more members of slashdot in the first group than the second yet comments seem to be divided 50:50 on this topic.

Could it be that there are many here for whom corporations and their manipulative advertising don't effect the people concerned about them here in any significant way but more indirectly, harming family and friends?

Re:Billions prolly an underestimate over the mille (1)

fa2k (881632) | about 2 years ago | (#41416375)

My thoughts exactly. I really don't care about a big evil corporation knowing where I've been, my religion, what I weigh, who I have sex with, etc. If anything, the more they know about me, the more likely that they will make products I want to buy.

However, the government knowing all of those things is actually something to be concerned about.

The biggest problems seem to be 1) disclosure of information and 2) malicious action based on the information. In a democratic society, both companies and government have to follow the law, and there are serious repercussions if they don't.

The potential for (1) is about the same for both, but the actions in (2) are worse for the government: they can put you in jail, while the worst thing companies can do is to collude to raise prices just for you or deny you some service. We're not discussing the actions, however, but the information itself. Companies can disclose incriminating information to government at will, using the police as its tool to do evil.

It should be noted that there is a real difference: government can collect information by force (or by law), but you can often avoid tracking from companies. It can even deny others to do the same tracking (like in this story, though I'd say that data anlaysis and correlation is never the real problem). That is a separate discussion, though

that's a paranoid response (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41416739)

but justified. It's simple really. some European countries (Ireland notably) are freedom loving. The EU perhaps isn't. There's a clash of policy. I'm sure FB (and their US and Uk government buddies) would relish the idea of more of their style of control.

As for face masks, they're only taboo in places with a large Muslim immigrant base.

We don't get to the bottom-line as much in Europe. We're naiive to the full implications of policy, but that's often because we don't have the same malicious intent...

Re:Billions prolly an underestimate over the mille (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41419753)

However, the government knowing all of those things is actually something to be concerned about.

WTFF!??? Do you think there's any information held by corporations that the government cannot get their hands on immediately? FFS! Once the technology is there, the government can authorize itself to do more with that information than any single corporation and be more intrusive. Wow about wiretapping? I bet telcos would be happy to have software eavesdrop on your conversations and spam you with appropriate ads, if they were legally allowed to. Not to mention that the government has the power to combine the data gathered by competing corporations that would never hand it over to each other. You're naive if you think your data is safer from government intrusion in the hands of corporations than directly in the hands of government. I prefer letting as few parties as possible have information about me and whilst stopping government from having it, is impossible once a corporation has gathered it, measures like these at least restrict it somewhat - not only the fact that one corporation is prevented from having that data but also that their incentives to develop such technology for profit, are smaller.

Re:Billions prolly an underestimate over the mille (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 2 years ago | (#41424525)

by being ruthless in protecting the privacy of consumers, while implementing far worse privacy breaches on their own citizens.
Care to point some out?
Seems you are better informed than me, which privacy breaches are the european governments planning?

Re:Billions prolly an underestimate over the mille (1)

Aqualung812 (959532) | about 2 years ago | (#41425685)

Re:Billions prolly an underestimate over the mille (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 2 years ago | (#41428175)

Before refering other people to google you should google yourself.
The search terms you proposed don't bring up anything relevant, YFYI.

Re:Billions prolly an underestimate over the mille (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41414623)

Well at least Europe are trying. Have the US done anything about regulating facial and license plate recognition (the only 2 examples you give)?

Many would argue that the US is at the forefront of privacy invasion, and that any international debate on the topic would be welcome.

Re:Billions prolly an underestimate over the mille (1)

wdef (1050680) | about 2 years ago | (#41415081)

It is most definitely at the forefront of privacy invasion, with the possible exception of California whose Attorney-General takes Californian privacy laws - the tightest in the US - seriously.

Just Moved to Dublin, Ireland (5, Funny)

Bob9113 (14996) | about 2 years ago | (#41414255)

I just logged in to Facebook and changed my home to Dublin, Ireland.

Re:Just Moved to Dublin, Ireland (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41414781)

Don't forget to proxy through there, so your IP address appears to be from the EU. Because, you know, that's how they actually determine which laws apply to whom.

Re:Just Moved to Dublin, Ireland (1)

confusedwiseman (917951) | about 2 years ago | (#41415051)

In all seriousness, is there a possible way that this could be used to gain some advantage to protect privacy for U.S. users? If I logged into Facebook and changed my location would that work? I'd assume there were additional steps/measures necessary. Finding the balance between the use of the service and minimizing yourself as the "product" is challenging.

Re:Just Moved to Dublin, Ireland (2)

Bob9113 (14996) | about 2 years ago | (#41415537)

If I logged into Facebook and changed my location would that work?

In theory, it should. They could use IP geolocation, but that would be pretty noisy and probably would not satisfy the regulators. If you are a Dubliner on a business trip overseas or using a VPN through another continent, do you lose your legal protections?

Regardless, though, suppose a few hundred thousand people log in and do this over the next few days. Even if it doesn't foil this lens of the panopticon directly, it does send a pretty strong (and rather amusing) message.

How does this help? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41414313)

As long as other users have access to the feature, it will continue to be a privacy problem wouldn't it?

Europe or only EU? (1)

cdrnet (1582149) | about 2 years ago | (#41414357)

The article isn't very clear about this either.

Re:Europe or only EU? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41414509)

It is obviously EU only, EU privacy laws dont apply in Europe. And there is not reason for facebook to pull out of face recognition in the rest of europe.

No, More than the EU (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41416439)

It would appear you don't know the difference between the EU and EEA or how companies apply these laws Europe-wide regardless of requirements.

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

Re:Europe or only EU? (1)

Schmorgluck (1293264) | about 2 years ago | (#41414679)

Good question. Most likely just the EU. The role of the Irish DPC is, among other things, to ensure compliance, in Ireland, to the Directive 95/46/EC on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data [wikipedia.org] . There's no such provision (that I know anyway) on the Council of Europe's level.

More than just the EU (1)

andersh (229403) | about 2 years ago | (#41416365)

No, it also applies in the countries that are part of the European Economic Area (EEA). That's the EU and most of EFTA. We're a few small countries, but we're not members of the EU. The FTA means the same laws apply within the EEA (27+3).

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

Re:More than just the EU (1)

Schmorgluck (1293264) | about 2 years ago | (#41417813)

I stand corrected. There are so many international organisations around here that it's hard to keep track of all of them and their attributions. The EU itself is already rather complicated.

Re:Europe or only EU? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41416029)

"Europe" is a convenient shorthand for "the European Union" just like "America" is a convenient short hand for "the United States of America".

More than one meaning (1)

andersh (229403) | about 2 years ago | (#41416405)

That's both true and just part of the whole truth.

While it may be legally required in the EU, it may also be required in the EEA (EU+3). Even then it is often applied in all of the European countries (EU/EEA/non-EU), it's easier for companies that way (see Facebook).

What is Facebook good for, again? (3, Insightful)

cristiroma (606375) | about 2 years ago | (#41414441)

Excuse my ignorance, but I don't have have myself an Facebook account. What is exactly good for? I don't chat, I usually prefer to talk to friends over a beer. I share pictures over Picasa. So what value would an Facebook account add for someone? Thank you.

Re:What is Facebook good for, again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41414757)

Haven't you heard? Facebook is the only way to communicate with your friends and family on the internet. There are no other means available to do so. Before Facebook was invented, no one was using the internet to communicate, so that proves Facebook is essential for that purpose.

At least, that's what I'm told every time I've asked the same question. You can't have a social life without Facebook, remember, so that is the purpose it serves.

Re:What is Facebook good for, again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41414887)

Single point of publication. You publish content, and hundreds or thousands of your subscribers can view it. You can announce that you're adopting a dog, and all your friends will know, without you having to tell them individually. Or you can announce that you are getting a divorce by changing your status from Married to Single, and you don't have to tell all your friends and family, thus allowing you to ignore painful questions that you will have a hard time dodging if asked face-to-face. You can also post your vacation photos, and anyone who is truly interested will view them at their leisure, rather than forcing someone to sit through your long and boring slideshow after dinner. That's just a few of the uses.

Re:What is Facebook good for, again? (1)

CCarrot (1562079) | about 2 years ago | (#41415073)

Single point of publication. You publish content, and hundreds or thousands of your subscribers can view it.

Gee...full of yourself much? :o)

Or you can announce that you are getting a divorce by changing your status from Married to Single, and you don't have to tell all your friends and family, thus allowing you to ignore painful questions that you will have a hard time dodging if asked face-to-face.

Or, you can waste time fielding the endless concerned calls and emails from friends and family when, after forgetting to log yourself out of FB (*perhaps* due to a few too many bubbly beverages), one of your jerkwad friends starts editing your relationship status for you..."No mom, I did not break up with Jane. No, I am not, nor have I ever been in a committed relationship with John. My 'friends' are just dicks."

True (but hilarious, at least to those watching) story.

Re:What is Facebook good for, again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41415903)

Single point of publication. You publish content, and hundreds or thousands of your subscribers can view it.

Gee...full of yourself much? :o)

That's hundreds OR thousands. I personally know people who have only a few subscribers, and I know some who have over 1k. There are also some with celebrities with millions of subscribers, but they're uncommon.

Re:What is Facebook good for, again? (1)

SilentStaid (1474575) | about 2 years ago | (#41414919)

A social life.

It's fine and dandy to rebel against it, but like it or not Facebook provides a service (centralizing communication, sharing and event planing) and all they charge is your consent to farm your information. Failing to recognize Facebook's utilities in a sorry attempt at wit doesn't make you cool - it makes you a hipster.

I don't like facebook, I don't have an account. But seriously - Facebook is good for people who want social interaction at the expense of privacy. No more, no less.

Re:What is Facebook good for, again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41415063)

I thought all of the hipster shung out on facebook. Facbook is still hip, right?

Re:What is Facebook good for, again? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41415241)

A social life.

... because it's clearly not possible to have a social life without using Facebook, I guess?

Re:What is Facebook good for, again? (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 2 years ago | (#41424559)

If you don't have, never had an account on facebook, you don't know hoe facebook works.
That alone makes your point invalid ... and you are wrong anyway.
Hint: I have some friends on facebook.
I publish a foto from a party in a pub.
You are on that foto.
Everyone who knows you gets a message: new photo with SilentStaid published. (Your girlfriend assumed you where at your parents at that time, did she not?)
I for my part did not sign for that when I 'joined' facebook.

Re:What is Facebook good for, again? (1)

f()rK()_Bomb (612162) | about 2 years ago | (#41415103)

The big one for me is events. Friends set up events on facebook and also music gigs, etc. Brilliant way of tracking them. I even have it linked into google calendar with all my other items I need to track like college timetable, etc. Its light years better than when I had to read through newspapers and stuff to find out when things were on, or had to ring a load of people to set up a night out or whatever.

Google Image (1)

djscoumoune (1731422) | about 2 years ago | (#41414513)

Now just wait for Google Image to recognize what's on pictures...

Julian Assange was right on Facebook... (3, Informative)

dryriver (1010635) | about 2 years ago | (#41414571)

Assange called Facebook "The most abominable spying-machine created in all of human history". I'm inclined to think that he was right about that, since U.S. 3 letter agencies seem to have bought special software that crawls sites like Facebook to collect as much data/information about each person as possible. -------- The EU did the right thing here. Suckerberg can't be trusted with anybody's privacy. -------- Now if only I could live to see the day when people voluntarily delete their profiles off Facebook, and use alternate services that aren't as intrusive...

Re:Julian Assange was right on Facebook... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41414597)

Alternative services that aren't as intrusive? like Google? That'll teach 'em a lesson!

Re:Julian Assange was right on Facebook... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41415049)

Assange called Facebook "The most abominable spying-machine created in all of human history".

He was right. That's exactly what it is. People willingly post live data updates to Facebook that, if a government asked for it directly, would cause them to scream blue murder and protest in the streets.

U.S. 3 letter agencies seem to have bought special software that crawls sites like Facebook to collect as much data/information about each person as possible..

The agencies don't need to crawl Facebook with bots. Facebook actually created a special interface just so law enforcement could happily trawl for whatever. And the facial recognition software used by Facebook was developed by Microsoft, supposedly to look for images of abused children, but it scans every single photo uploaded to Facebook.

Re:Julian Assange was right on Facebook... (1)

confusedwiseman (917951) | about 2 years ago | (#41415193)

What alternatives? Google+ isn't a viable option, email wouldn't be private as there was an earlier article about law enforcement bemoaning the requirement of a warrant to gain access to email. Almost any electronic medium is going to compromise privacy. What would Slash Dot readers suggest as a reasonable balance between privacy and the congregation of my friends. A tight tin-foil hat isn't necessary, as some of it could be considered "public" data, but I don't want to make myself too easy to be harvested and sold off to their cohorts.

Re:Julian Assange was right on Facebook... (1)

vlueboy (1799360) | about 2 years ago | (#41422287)

People just fade out of systems when something better comes along. I think the majority of those that actively delete their profiles on their way out do have things that they do not want misused. You may ascribe that to being slashdot geeks who wised up, or to having had trouble that showed them real life drama follows facebook activity or whatever. But it takes a pretty strong force stopping the inertia of convenience and addiction they are enjoying there. Even closing my slashdot account and being prevented from seeing all AC posts, headlines and everything else sure would pose a big roadblock against official closure in my part.

It is not like myspace died because people woke up smart one day and explicitly shunned themselves from it. You can still look up their accounts on google. Same for friendster and other dead precursors.

Sehr gut (1)

JockTroll (996521) | about 2 years ago | (#41414803)

Zuckerberg and his untermenschliche associates must follow Aryan laws or our kamarad Obersturmbundesbahnfuehrer Heinrich Von Schutzstaffeln will send Totenkopf Death Kommando "Das Reich" after them. Kartoffeln scheisse!

Was there EVER really privacy? (2)

BlueCoder (223005) | about 2 years ago | (#41414875)

We have the right to record things in public. That means we can freely follow and track other people. Pretty soon everyone with be walking around with a camera on their person. The camera will tie into a computer and will be able to take clues from the environment as well as to record everything that happens within a two day period. Where did I leave my keys? Just rewind...

So are we going to take away the right to record in public? What happens when devices will be able to record directly from our brain activity? Is everyone going to have the equivalent of copyright to their own images? Is everyone going to be forced to forget everyone else and submit to memory wipe everyday as a result of a DMCA like forget notification?

When it comes to location and tracking on that point we have to surrender. There is no way to put that genie back in the bottle. And to me when anyone in the pubic can do it I see no reason the government couldn't do it as well. That cat is simply out of the bag.

Re:Was there EVER really privacy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41416059)

So are we going to take away the right to record in public?

Recording (audio/video) people secretly is against European privacy laws. You aren't allowed to secretly film a baby-sitter in your home. You aren't allowed to monitor your employees at work. That is, unless you clearly indicate that you're going to do it.

The same laws apply to public streets as well.

Re:Was there EVER really privacy? (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | about 2 years ago | (#41416235)

You relish the right to record and track other people...but in many places you don't have the right to conceal your own face! And by the time there are brain recording devices there will probably be better body cloaking options than a ski mask, though you won't be permitted to use them. The reality is whatever rights you have are just scraps that couldn't be taken away. Only government has the resources and privileges to fully implement global tracking, and government agents and members of the elite will be untraceable by, or invisible to, your little camera.

Re:Was there EVER really privacy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41419701)

The right to be nosy is (or should be, how well it is depends on where you live) balanced with the right to be left alone by overly nosy people, companies and governments. If some teenagers from your neighbourhood would ask you if they could come over to watch you having sex with your partner you would probably tell them to get lost. Why would you respond differently to a corporation that collects enough data about you to derive intimate details about your sex life?

The general attitude in the US seems to be that it is up to the nosy ones to decide how far they should be able to go. The general attitude in the EU seems to be that everyone should be able to decide for themselves what they consider to be intrusive and that the nosy ones should have some respect for that. To me, perhaps because I am from Europe, the first attitude means respect goes to the ones having no respect for others, and the second means respect for others is what's respected. I think the latter is far more civilized.

Re:Was there EVER really privacy? (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 2 years ago | (#41424593)

You have the right to record in public, for your own private usage.
You have no right to publish your recordings without the consent of the people you have recorded.
But that is basically what facebook is doing ....

There are other problems (1)

Teun (17872) | about 2 years ago | (#41415065)

Recently I got a mail via Facebook from my sister asking me to join her.

As I've always been suspicious of Facebook-style sites I would never do such.
What made me really worried is the in the mail named persons I could get in touch with would I set up an account, a whole string of my private and business acquaintances all over the world were listed, how the HELL did they amass this on a non-member???
Because I'm pretty sure my sister has not listed this string of acquaintances that are not even likely to know each other...

I am sick of this CIA/KGB style site!

its called cross checking (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | about 2 years ago | (#41415337)

on of the things Facebook likes to do is Yoink your address book/contacts list from your email service so i would bet that somebody on that list allowed the address book yoink and then got X folks to sign up and some of them allowed the Yoink (Facebook at this stage cross references and dedupes the addresses). Now that it has gotten to YOU Facebook has noticed that %list% has YOU listed.

Shadow Profiles (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41415993)

You've had a "shadow profile" on Facebook for years. They've been making shadow profiles since nearly the start, IIRC.
So they know all about you - your dear friends' Facebook activity and uploading of email lists and addresses etc has fleshed your profile out quite well already.
This makes it very easy when you join Facebook - you can just look at the "Suggested friends" list and find nearly everyone you know...

Privacy wise? Crazy. Fucked up.

Posting anonymously not to undo my mod on your post ;-)

Until they get caught (1)

Stan92057 (737634) | about 2 years ago | (#41417477)

Until they get caught not doing what they were told to the last time this time.

Who cares about the EU? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41440733)

Europeans they still dump literal buckets of raw sewage into putrid ditches right the middle of their roads which were initially intended to capture horse manure, but have since evolved into a sort of catch-all household sewage run-off drainage system. Most Europeans care about nothing more than fellatio, cheese, wine and socialism. They are a bunch of yellow-toothed cheese-munching surrender - monkeys with no other purpose in life than to destroy freedom and democracy. Please for the love of Jesus, don't let those Euro-peeons get away with this atrocious anti-American behavior.

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