German court: Facebook personal data use illegal

A German consumer organization, the Federation of German consumer organizations ( VZBV),  said that the Berlin Regional Court has found Facebook’s default privacy settings and use of personal data are against the German consumer law as the social media website did not secure the private information properly. 

The  VZBV had filed a lawsuit against Facebook arguing that the company use and collect personal information without a valid data usage consent. 

“Facebook hides default settings that are not privacy-friendly in its privacy center and does not provide sufficient information about it when users register. This does not meet the requirement for informed consent,” said Heiko Duenkel, litigation policy officer at the VZBV.

In a press release,  VZBV further elaborated: “In the Facebook app for smartphones, for example, a location service was pre-activated that reveals a user’s location to people they are chatting to.

“In the privacy settings, ticks were already placed in boxes that allowed search engines to link to the user’s timeline. This meant that anyone could quickly and easily find personal Facebook profiles.”

However, Facebook said that they would appeal further, and some of the aspects of the judgment has had been in its favor.

“We are working hard to ensure that our guidelines are clear and easy to understand and that the services offered by Facebook are in full accordance with the law,” Facebook said.

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