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Facebook Moments Photo App Launches In Europe Without Facial Recognition

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

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Moments launches across Europe – but without any facial recognition tools as Facebook deals with long-running legal cases concerning user privacy

Facebook‘s quest to take more control of its users mobile lives has been boosted by the release of its ‘Moments’ photo sharing app in Europe – nearly a year after its US launch.

However Moments will be without a facial recognition feature present in the American version following recent complaints about how Facebook gathers and uses biometric data.

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Facebook Moment iOS 1Moments is Facebook’s attempt to combat the likes of Google Photos and Apple Photos by bringing together pictures taken on the same day or at the same event. These can then be shared on a user’s Facebook wall or with other users that may be present.

It will also use facial recognition technology to sync from past images and identify who’s in each picture – but only in the United States.

This feature will be missing from the European launch as Facebook is currently engaged in a long-running dispute with Ireland’s data protection commissioner over whether the technology is actually legal in the EU.

A 2011 ruling from German data protection regulators also stated that Facebook’s facial recognition software broke laws around biometric data.

Instead, users will now have to manually go through each photo and tag each friend or contact, similar to the existing process they have to go through on Facebook and its sister site Instagram.

However the European version of Moments will be able to conduct a wider for photos that “appear to show the same face”, the app says.

Facebook is also facing a fight concerning its use of biometric data in the US, after a court last week refused to throw out a case brought against it over the app.

The case, initially brought against Facebook in Illinois before being moved to its home state of California, alleged that the social media giant “unlawfully” collected and stored biometric data taken from their faces in photographs to suggest possible tags for friends in other images.

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