Germany says 'nein' to Facebook's heavy-handed data collection in landmark ruling

Germany sets new limits on Facebook data collection

Germany sets new limits on Facebook data collection

The firm "is abusing this dominant position by making the use of its social network conditional on its being allowed to limitlessly amass every kind of data generated by using third-party websites and merge it with the user's Facebook account", it said in a statement.

These have gone down badly with Germans, reflecting broader concerns over personal surveillance that dates back to Germany's history of Nazi and Communist rule in the 20th century.

The damage to competition is not caused by any financial loss, given that Facebook is a free service, but by a loss of control: Facebook users are unable to control what data is used for Facebook's profiling.

"The extent to which Facebook collects, merges and uses data in user accounts constitutes an abuse of a dominant position", the Bundeskartellamt said. Voluntary consent means that the use of Facebook's services must not be subject to the users' consent to their data being collected and combined in this way.

"Using information across our services also helps us protect people's safety and security, including, for example, identifying abusive behavior and disabling accounts tied to terrorism, child exploitation and election interference across both Facebook and Instagram", said Facebook.

Facebook disagreed with the conclusions of the regulator's investigation and said it intends to appeal the decision.

In January, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg defended his company in the global media, saying its advertising-based business model required collecting personal data. He further added that according to the ruling, effective immediately, the popular social network will no longer be entitled to encourage Facebook users to consent to the "unrestricted collection and assigning of non-Facebook data to their Facebook user accounts", Thenextweb reported.

Brussels-based anti-trust lawyer Thomas Vinje of Clifford Chance said the decision had potentially far-reaching implications.

More news: Celtics have interest in Knicks buyout candidate Kanter
More news: Amazon is reportedly reconsidering NY for HQ2
More news: DOH declares measles outbreak in NCR - Philippines

"It's limited to Germany but strikes me as exportable and might have a significant impact on Facebook's business model".

To showcase the monopolistic powers of Facebook, the German office outlined that the social media platform holds more than 95 percent of daily German users and more than 80 percent of monthly users.

The European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a new data protection law that entered into force on May 25, 2018.

The regulator said it had not included services such as Snapchat, YouTube or Twitter, and professional networks like LinkedIn and Xing, as being in the market it has considered Facebook to be dominant in because they "only offer parts of the services of a social network and are thus not to be included in the relevant market".

'The Bundeskartellamt has overlooked how Facebook actually processes data and the steps we take to comply with the GDPR, ' Facebook said on Thursday.

The finding by the federal cartel office in Bonn is one of the strongest verdicts issued against Facebook by a national regulator and stung the firm into launching a swift challenge through the German courts.

Facebook claims that "over 40 per cent of social media users in Germany don't even use Facebook", which seems like an odd claim since 60 per cent market share would be considered monopolistic in nearly any other industry.

The FCO has said that the different platforms can continue to collect data, but this will need to be kept separate from other services unless the user gives their permission.

Recommended News

  • Here's our first look at the Canary Yellow Galaxy S10e

    Here's our first look at the Canary Yellow Galaxy S10e

    Moreover, the images also confirm the triple camera setup on the back and the absence of the fingerprint scanner. But ahead of any launch details, the specifications of the Galaxy M30 have been detailed on Twitter.
    Pep Guardiola left stunned by Benjamin Mendy's Hong Kong trip

    Pep Guardiola left stunned by Benjamin Mendy's Hong Kong trip

    Mendy responded by saying: 'Every time I am with my phone I am on Instagram or Twitter and [so] now I need to be careful. F***, he's a lucky guy! At his Friday press conference Guardiola was bemused by suggestions Mendy might be in Hong Kong.
    Miami Heat agree to trade Tyler Johnson to Phoenix Suns

    Miami Heat agree to trade Tyler Johnson to Phoenix Suns

    The trade will not move mountains nor change much for the Miami Heat who are loaded with depth at the guard position. With another mediocre season coming to fruition, the Miami Heat decided to make a trade with with the Phoenix Suns.
  • NASA and SpaceX reset Crew Dragon test flight for March 2

    NASA and SpaceX reset Crew Dragon test flight for March 2

    The space agency is hoping one or both of the crew capsules will be certified as safe to fly by the end of this year. It would be the first launch of US astronauts into orbit, from USA soil, since NASA's shuttle program ended in 2011.
    Savage's lawyers confirm he was born in the UK

    Savage's lawyers confirm he was born in the UK

    ICE has claimed that is when he came to the country for the first time at the age of 12 . Abraham-Joseph has been placed into removal proceedings, ICE said.
    Samsung secures patent for S Pen with optical zoom camera

    Samsung secures patent for S Pen with optical zoom camera

    It could be to allow you to write on paper using the S-Pen, while the camera records your doodles and uploads them to the cloud. Including a camera in the stylus and producing a phone with a beautifully seamless screen could be an extra selling point.
  • School bus driver shot after crash in Minneapolis

    School bus driver shot after crash in Minneapolis

    The victim was shot in the head in an incident witnessed by a pupil sitting in the rear of the vehicle near downtown Minneapolis . Lilly then walked to the driver's side of the bus where he pulled out his 9-millimeter semiautomatic pistol from its holster.
    Serial killer Bruce McArthur sentenced to life in prison

    Serial killer Bruce McArthur sentenced to life in prison

    McArthur went on to murder Mahmudi in 2015, Kanagaratnam and Lisowick in 2016 and Esen and Kinsman in 2017. Top row (left to right): Selim Esen , Soroush Mahmudi , Dean Lisowick and Abdulbasir Faizi.
    AT&T’s fake 5G icon is now the subject of a Sprint lawsuit

    AT&T’s fake 5G icon is now the subject of a Sprint lawsuit

    Sprint , the fourth-place wireless carrier, has now filed a lawsuit against AT&T for its blatantly misleading advertising. AT&T is suggesting to users that although it is not a real 5G, it still provides a faster network than the traditional 4G.
  • Pea-sized pill delivers insulin shot from inside the stomach

    Pea-sized pill delivers insulin shot from inside the stomach

    The researchers describe the capsule as "about the size of a pea" and made from biodegradable polymer and bits of stainless steel. In their experiments, the researchers could inject up to 5 milligrams of insulin successfully into the pigs' stomach walls.
    RBI Slashes Repo Rate by 25 Basis Points, Changes Stance to 'Neutral'

    RBI Slashes Repo Rate by 25 Basis Points, Changes Stance to 'Neutral'

    On the flip side, growth could slump to a potential 0.8% in 2019 should uncertainty persist and financial conditions tighten. The Eurozone growth forecast was also cut to 1.3 per cent, down from the 1.9 per cent predicted in November.
    R. Kelly announces tour of Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka

    R. Kelly announces tour of Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka

    The embattled American entertainer announced on social media Tuesday that he'll be going to Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka. Kelly apparently has fans riding for him in overseas markets despite the heinous crimes he's been accused of committing.

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.