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Parliamentary questions
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22 June 2018
Question for written answer E-003433-18
to the Commission
Rule 130
Dominique Bilde (ENF) , Marie-Christine Boutonnet (ENF)

 Subject:  Use of facial recognition technology by Facebook
 Answer in writing 

Information obtained through the use of facial recognition technology is defined in Regulation (EU) 2016/679, in particular in its Article 4(11), as sensitive data. The holder of such information must therefore first obtain the user’s informed consent before processing it.

In June 2011, the US company Facebook launched a facial recognition application in Europe. Following an appeal to the Irish regulator, the application had to be withdrawn in 2012, as no provision had been made for obtaining the prior and explicit consent of users.

In March 2018, Facebook reportedly reintroduced a facial recognition application. It is available only to a limited number of users in the EU and, according to the US company, it complies with the new provisions of Regulation (EU) 2016/679 that will enter into force on 26 May 2018.

Facebook should also be required to carry out an assessment of the security-related risks, in order to meet European requirements.

Following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which a British company obtained the personal data of some 87 million users using methods described as being of dubious legality, how does the Commission intend to ensure that Facebook will not use data obtained through the use of facial recognition technology for commercial purposes?

Original language of question: FR 
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