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Facebook and Germany in battle over privacy laws

Facebook have been in the spotlight recently over privacy concerns and Mark Zuckerberg has admitted some mistakes in the United States saying they would make policy changes to appease the American regulators.

The Federal Trade investigation have accused Facebook of ‘unfair and deceptive’ practices which can invade user privacy. They claimed that Facebook “deceived consumers by telling them they could keep their information on Facebook private, and then repeatedly allowing it to be shared and made public”. Zuckerberg has made sure that he is being seen as making changes to avoid problems in America, but the situation in Germany is said to be different.

The Germans have more than 20 million Facebook users but they are also tied into 17 official bodies who regulate data protection and privacy laws, one is federal and there are others for the 16 states. They aren’t happy with Facebook and according to the Telegraph newspaper in the UK they see the organisation as an ‘American company ignoring European laws’.

Hamburg’s protection authority said they were preparing court action against Facebook over their introduction of facial recognition technology. They said “Unequivocal consent of the parties is required by both European and national data protection law” and added that “further negotiations are pointless”.

Other problems are based around the ‘like’ button, synonymous with Facebook. This button collects data on users and on the orders of regional privacy regulator, Thilo Weichert many websites based in Schleswig-Holstein will be removing it from their webpages.

He said “Many Facebook offerings are in conflict with the law. This unfortunately has not prevented website owners from using the respective services and the more so as they are easy to install and free of charge.”

Facebook are refuting the privacy claims and Tina Kulow, spokesperson said “The technology used by the Like button, known as an ‘iFrame’, is in common usage across the web and is valued by many website owners as it offers them a simple way to make their sites more useful to people. As well as the Like button, the same technology is used for embedding other forms of content on websites such as videos, maps and advertisements.”

Kitguru says: The battle is heating up.

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