FTC Orders Photo App to Delete Algorithms Built on Personal Data

The Federal Trade Commission has reached a settlement with Everalbum, Inc., a California-based developer of a photo storage app, on allegations that it deceived consumers about its use of facial recognition technology and its retention of the photos and videos of users who deactivated their accounts. The proposed order requires the company to delete the facial recognition technologies it illegally developed using the photos and videos uploaded by its users. The FTC complaint states that Everalbum allegedly represented that it would not apply facial recognition technology to users’ content unless users affirmatively chose to activate the feature. But the company allowed some Ever app users—those located in Illinois, Texas, and Washington state —to choose whether to turn on the face recognition feature, while it was automatically active for all other users and could not be turned off. Commissioner Rohit Chopra noted in an accompanying statement that the reason residents of those states were afforded stronger protections is that those states have passed laws related to facial recognition and biometric identifiers, making the case that Congress should ensure that any proposed federal privacy law should set a baseline for the country while protecting the ability for states to enact stronger state laws.

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