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Germany orders Facebook to stop collecting some personal data without consent

Published: February 7, 2019
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Source: Boing Boing

Regulators in Germany ruled that Facebook must cut the data it gathers about people who aren't using its app or website or get their consent. Facebook says it intends to appeal the ruling.

The watchdog has carried out a probe into the social network following concerns that members were unaware of the extent of the firm's activities. It covered data gathered from third-party sources as well as via Facebook's other apps, including Instagram.

The US firm has said it will appeal. Specifically, the FCO has ruled that:

• Facebook's various services can continue to collect data, but they cannot combine it with the user's main Facebook account unless the member gives their voluntary consent
• collecting data from third-party websites and assigning it to a Facebook user's account is likewise only allowed if that member has given the firm permission

Facebook hitches a ride into browser sessions through like buttons, sharing widgets, ads and other non-obvious page elements. Like certain Google services, it's essentially unavoidable without installing browsers plugins to control them.

 

Related:

Germany to restrict Facebook's data gathering activities [aljazeera.com]

Germany has ordered Facebook to curb its data collection practices in the country, after a ruling that the world's largest social media network abused its market dominance to gather information about users without their knowledge or consent. "In future, Facebook will no longer be allowed to force its users to agree to the practically unrestricted collection and assigning of non-Facebook data to their Facebook accounts," Federal Cartel Office chief Andreas Mundt said in the landmark order on Thursday.

Facebook ordered by Germany to gather and mix less data [bbc.com]

The watchdog has carried out a probe into the social network following concerns that members were unaware of the extent of the firm's activities. It covered data gathered from third-party sources as well as via Facebook's other apps, including Instagram.

German antitrust authorities restrict Facebook data use [cbc.ca]

German antitrust authorities ruled Thursday against Facebook combining user data from different sources, saying it was exploiting its position as a dominant social media company in violation of European regulations. The Federal Cartel Office, or Bundeskartellamt, said Facebook was guilty of "exploitative abuse" by forcing users to agree allow it to collect data from other Facebook-owned services like WhatsApp and Instagram, as well as third-party websites through the "Like" or "Share" features, and assign it to a user's Facebook account.

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