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Facebook drops facial recognition tool following privacy investigation

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Facebook said Friday it had switched off the facial-recognition tool that prompts users to “tag” photographs uploaded to its website following a privacy investigation.

The feature was identified by regulators as one of the main privacy threats posed by the social networking site.

Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner, Billy Hawkes, who launched the probe because Facebook’s European operations are based in Ireland, said he was happy that the site had agreed to remove the tool in Europe by October 15.

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New users are already unable to access it.

Hawkes said: “I am satisfied that the review has demonstrated a clear and ongoing commitment on the part of FB-I to comply with its data protection responsibilities.”

He added: “By doing so it is sending a clear signal of its wish to demonstrate its commitment to best practice in data protection compliance.”

Facebook said in a statement: “In light of discussions with our regulator in Ireland, we have agreed to suspend the Tag Suggest feature in Europe.”

It said it would work with the Irish authorities “on the appropriate way to obtain user consent for this kind of technology under European rules”.

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Facebook was keen to encourage members to “tag” their friends in photographs because it ensures they are shared more widely, but it has been a controversial addition to the site.


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New Zealand may postpone general election after 4 test positive for COVID-19: PM Jacinda Ardern

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New Zealand locked down nursing homes nationwide Wednesday after a 102-day streak without the coronavirus ended, as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the outbreak could force her to postpone next month's general election.

Ardern said authorities were scrambling to trace anyone who had been in contact with four Auckland residents who tested positive Tuesday, ending the dream run in which the virus had been contained at New Zealand's borders.

A three-day stay-at-home order for Auckland, New Zealand's biggest city with a population of 1.5 million, was announced on Tuesday night and went into force at lunchtime on Wednesday.

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Android phones to get ‘ShakeAlert’ earthquake warnings — and phones may double as tremor detectors

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Android phones will receive warnings triggered by a "ShakeAlert" earthquake early-warning system implemented on the West Coast by the US Geological Survey and partners.

ShakeAlert uses signals from hundreds of seismometers across the state to trigger warning messages that "an earthquake has begun and shaking is imminent," according to the system's website.

"We saw an opportunity to use Android to provide people with timely, helpful earthquake information when they search, as well as a few seconds warning to get themselves and their loved ones to safety if needed," principal software engineer Marc Stogaitis said in a blog post.

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2020 Election

‘Don’t talk about racism, racist’: Trump scorched after claiming Biden-Harris campaign has a ‘racism problem’

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President Donald Trump continued to lash out at Kamala Harris after the California Democrat was chosen to join the 2020 Democratic Party ticket as presumptive nominee Joe Biden's running mate.

At a news conference following the selection, Trump complained about Harris being "nasty."

After 10 p.m. on Monday, Trump tweeted out an attack ad claiming "Joe Biden has a racism problem."

Here's some of what people were saying about Trump's line of attack:

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