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Google won't develop a facial recognition database

Accuracy of technology is 'very concerning', says Schmidt

Google is "unlikely" to develop a database that uses facial recognition to identify web users in images used within its services, says executive chairman Eric Schmidt.

Schmidt, who was speaking at the firm's 'Big Tent' Conference in the UK this week, said: "My guess is people will be so unhappy if that stuff becomes generally available that it will be generally not legal around the world."

He also revealed that accuracy of facial recognition technology was "very concerning" but he expects another company is "going to cross that line".

Schmidt also revealed he's concerned that governments may pass "foolish" laws that "force Google to not be able to operate in those countries".

"Well-meaning people in government write something which is pretty broad and you have to be careful when you do this kind of regulation.You might affect something and have an unintended consequence. So that is what we are always concerned about," he said.

Schmidt's concerns follow new legislation passed in French that means net firms must store details including email addresses and unencrypted passwords from their users for at least a year.

At the conference Google revealed it has launched a service called Dashboard that allows web users to see the information the search engine holds about them. Web users can elect to have certain information removed.

"You should be able to delete the information that we know about you, at least that we control," he said.

"It is worth stressing that we can only do this with data you have shared with Google. We can't be a vacuum-cleaner for the whole internet."

Schmidt said that while "in general we [Google] take the position that you own your data and should be able to opt in or out of a service, the search engine will be able to improve its offerings if users agree to share data with Google.

"If you choose to give us that information we can do a better job. If we know a little bit more about you we can offer better targeted search."

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