Facebook has launched its Moments face recognition app in Europe, but without the face recognition technology turned on as the company bows to privacy concerns from the Irish Data Protection Commissioner.
Moments was launched in 2015, but the firm held off on a European release owing to a long-running privacy battle with the Irish Data Protection Commissioner.
The original version of Moments that launched in the US and other international countries last year includes automatic tagging based on face recognition technology.
However, courts in Europe ruled that the technology behind that version of Moments violated privacy law owing to the collection of biometric data.
Facebook's app description reads: "It's hard to get the photos your friends have taken of you, and everyone always insists on taking that same group shot with multiple phones to ensure they get a copy. Even if you do end up getting some of your friends' photos, it’s difficult to keep them all organised in one place on your phone."
In a bid to avoid falling foul of the Irish Data Protection Commissioner, Facebook has modified the private photo-sharing app, which can now list a number of suggestions of people who may be in your photo, but won't automatically tag them.
The Irish Data Protection Commissioner said it is aware of the launch and the amendments by Facebook and will look at the app before giving it the thumbs up.
"Facebook has notified this office of the Moments app and advised us that in the EU version of the Moments app they do not control or initiate the use of any feature recognition technology," a spokesperson said.
"Consideration of this development is ongoing and we will more closely look at the technical details of the app following its release."
The European launch of Moments comes just days after Facebook suffered a blow in the first round of a US court battle about its alleged "unlawful' collection of users' biometric data derived from faces in photographs.
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