The Article 29 Working Party (WP29) yesterday published an opinion on facial recognition in online and mobile services. The WP29 states this technology requires “specific attention” as it presents “a range of data protection concerns”.
The opinion focuses on facial technology being used in three main contexts: identifying people in social networks; authenticating and verifying users to control access to services; and categorising individuals, e.g., in the gaming context to enhance the user experience, allow/deny access to age-related content, or to display in-game targeted advertising.
The opinion places a heavy emphasis on the need to obtain the informed consent of individuals prior to processing their data in connection with facial recognition technologies. Perhaps of most interest to social networks and the public, is the conclusion that facial recognition should not be used to automatically suggest names of people who are not registered users of social networks for the purpose of tagging them in photographs.