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German Court Rules Facebook Use of Personal Data Illegal (reuters.com) 79

A German consumer rights group said on Monday that a court had found Facebook's use of personal data to be illegal because the U.S. social media platform did not adequately secure the informed consent of its users. From a report: The verdict, from a Berlin regional court, comes as Big Tech faces increasing scrutiny in Germany over its handling of sensitive personal data that enables it to micro-target online advertising. The Federation of German Consumer Organisations (vzvb) said that Facebook's default settings and some of its terms of service were in breach of consumer law, and that the court had found parts of the consent to data usage to be invalid. "Facebook hides default settings that are not privacy-friendly in its privacy center and does not provide sufficient information about it when users register," said Heiko Duenkel, litigation policy officer at the vzvb. "This does not meet the requirement for informed consent."
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German Court Rules Facebook Use of Personal Data Illegal

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  • ... care to speak up for the users?

  • by phayes ( 202222 ) on Monday February 12, 2018 @02:00PM (#56109167) Homepage

    Much like the French judgment that users need to be informed about the use of cookies on websites, all that is going to change in the end is that the users are going to be getting more popups with a refined text that nobody reads to click on to use the services in question.

    How do I know this? because it's exactly what I see when connecting to websites that use cookies from France, including Slashdot.

    About once a week, when clicking on a frontpage link on Slashdot, I get a "Warning you are in France and need to click on this button stating that you are OK with Slashdot using cookies to track you". It's fracking annoying to tell the truth. Why must I renew my acceptance _EVERY_FRACKING_WEEK?!? Because the stupid law says that "All sites can only keep cookies for a week and must ask again every time the cookie times out".

    Clicking every week (which I will do because I want to use Slashdot & that Germans will do because they want to use Facebook) will change precisely nothing but make a bunch of obsessive people who write laws ever so slightly happier.

    • by arth1 ( 260657 )

      You're supposed to get annoyed. That's the intent. When enough users get annoyed, the idea is that sites will switch to not using cookies to track you.
      Note that cookies needed to preserve website session information (like login) are exempt from the warning - it's the tracking cookies that require a warning. And the site owner can disable the tracking, and thus not piss off the users. Some sites have, which means the law has a positive effect.

      • by phayes ( 202222 )

        Snort, use of cookies is endemic and will not change. Everyone just clicks through the popups so _NOBODY_ changes the websites to not use cookies so the only end result is more annoying popups.

        The end result isn't less use of cookies but more annoying popups.

        • by arth1 ( 260657 )

          The end result isn't less use of cookies but more annoying popups.

          Competition. When you have the choice between two sites, where one of them have annoying popups because they use tracking and the other one doesn't because they don't, which one are you more likely to come back to?

          The pop-ups are annoying. And thus tracking cookies will be selected against. It won't happen overnight, but slowly but surely, sites that don't have to display the warning/acceptance button will have an advantage in retaining visitors. No matter how small an advantage, over time it will chang

          • by phayes ( 202222 )

            Competition? Oh, you're _hilarious_. What's the competition for Facebook, hmmm? Google Plus? Tencent?

            What's the competition for Slashdot where I'd still get the /. community (which for _some_ subjects is the only reason I haven't completely abandoned /.)?

            There is no competition for many of the sites that have been forced into spamming me with cookie authorisation popups, there is just the new reality that given that I'm reading in France there are now many popups that people in other countries don't have to

          • by phayes ( 202222 )

            Snort, "competition will solve everything"... You're _hilarious_!!!

            What pray tell is the "competition" for Facebook? Google Plus, LOL??? Tencent, ROFL???

            Whats the "competition" for Slashdot that also has (what remains of it's geekdom readership & Mod system? Reddit?

            How about the "competition" for the nasaspaceflight forums?

            "Competition" will _NOT_ solve everything and imposing the stupid cookie popups just saddled us french Internet users with more stupid popups.

      • But you and I (and the person you're talking to) all know that isn't going to happen because these sites have patience that regular people can only imagine the scope of. It doesn't get better. It just gets more annoying and then it stays that way.
  • It's fairly obvious that you can't have informed consent for babies and cats, let alone teens who pretend to be 18.

  • Given all the legal activism by German courts what can US and multinational brands do?
    Move their "German" services to a less legal invasive EU zone like Austria? Switzerland? Namibia? Slovenia? Then sell back into Germany via Germans seeking a service that is not censored by German courts.
    • by dave420 ( 699308 )

      That's not how the EU works, nor how privacy and consumer protection works in the EU.

      • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
        Thats why US products and services that support freedom and freedom after speech are so well liked by the average person.
        The more EU courts, German law moves in to control, the more useful US freedoms become to users around the world.
  • Contracts never override Law.

    Otherwise Canibalism and Slavery would be legal as long as someone is stupid enough to sign a contract.

  • Please define personal information. In the age of everything connected, facial recognition, cell phone always on what's personal. We've voluntarily given up the right
    to a sense of person and privacy. Facebook takes this to the evil extreme linking you location to your preferences for profiling making your privacy and your personal information their property. you don't have to tell them anything.
    I for one welcome this kind of ruling but Facebook is the tip of the iceberg and once companies realized that t

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