Facebook has launched an alternative version of the Moments application now available for Europe and Canada. Although Facebook already released the application, the facial-recognition tool is not included in the software. That means the European version of the app will not scan people’s faces as soon as they install it.

Facebook’s app called Moments was launched for the first time last June. The main feature of the app is to automatically group together these photos, where people are tagged with the same friends. And then shares them with those appearing in the photos, given they have the app installed.

Facebook Moments feature
Facebook Moments aunches In Europe and Canada without facial recognition because courts ruled the feature to violate privacy laws. Image Credit: BBC News

In the original version the software uses facial recognition for easy tagging and organizing. The photos are automatically tagged with the Facebook’s user name. Facebook matches the person with other photos in its database.

Judges rule and new methods

In Canada and the European Union courts have ruled that Facebook violates privacy law with its photo-tagging system. This made the app no longer be available in those locations since.

But now, Facebook created other methods so users in Europe and Canada can use the Moments feature. The new version makes people identify faces manually. Then, the app will look for photos that seem to have a similar face when cross-checked in its database.

Although it sounds like there is no difference between this version and the original, in Europe and Canada the app does not collect biometric data in order to work. This makes it less accurate and therefore, less defiant.

According to Facebook, the app works with object recognition instead of face recognition. It observes details like the distance between someone’s eyes and ears rather than their unique facial features.

The new version will also have a different interface. Users will be asked the question “Who’s this?” and people can make a label or just type the person’s name.  This will be private and only the user can see it.

Moments, after the initial labelling, will find new photos that have similar people in them, and it will at them to the same group.

U.S. having issues, too

Facebook is, also, facing a legal issue in the United States. Due to the photo-tagging system, a district court ruled that Facebook’s system is bound because of Illinois’ law that forbids the collection of biometric data without explicit user consent. The court has still not decided if Facebook violates the law or not.

Source: Tech Crunch