German court rules Facebook like button may break law

March 9, 2016
German court bans a shopping website from using the "like" function of its Facebook page if it did not warn customers
German court bans a shopping website from using the "like" function of its Facebook page if it did not warn customers that their data was being recorded

Facebook 'like' buttons on commercial websites break German law if users are not warned that their personal data is being shared, a court ruled on Wednesday.

In a potentially significant ruling for the social media giant, the banned a shopping website from using the function on its pages if it did not first warn customers their data was being recorded.

The Fashion ID site, run by the Peek & Cloppenburg brand, was warned that it could be fined 250,000 euros ($275,000) for every breach of the order, seen by AFP.

The retailer will now be forced to warn that 'liking' the site on Facebook grants permission for the company to log their IP address.

They will also be forced to tell users that they can withdraw their consent at any time.

Fashion ID will now be able to appeal the order, made in a civil court in Dusseldorf after a case was brought by the Verbraucherzentrale consumer organisation.

The body accused the site of failing to abide by Germany's strict data protection laws, a particularly sensitive subject in the country.

In a statement they warned that users' browsing data was transferred to Facebook on pages with like buttons, even if they were not signed up to the website.

Facebook's use of data is already under scrutiny in the country where web users are protected by strong privacy rules.

The German competition commission opened an investigation into Facebook earlier this month over suspicions that it is abusing its dominant market position to impose illegal terms and conditions on its users.

"For web services like Facebook that are funded by advertising, users' data has enormous value. That is exactly why we must also examine any abuse of their dominant position (to see) if they have sufficiently explained the means and extent of data collection to their users," Germany's Federal Cartel Office said in a statement.

Explore further: German watchdog says Facebook may breach data protection rules

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Eikka
5 / 5 (5) Mar 09, 2016
The retailer will now be forced to warn users that 'liking' the site on Facebook grants permission for the company to log their IP address.


They log the IP address anyhow, whenever the button even appears on a webpage, because your browser has to contact a facebook server to fetch the image. Unless you explicitly block the social media buttons, you are sending them your information.

There's no way to know what they do with the data, and they have multiple means to bypass the "do not log IP" rule. For example, by not logging the IP but instead some "anonymized" identifier that can nevertheless be connected to the user at a later time when they do login to Facebook.

SciTechdude
5 / 5 (4) Mar 09, 2016
Plus your likes are publicly listed like a board of names of people who approve of a product. Anyone can look at the likes on a page and see your name in them. Using a sophisticated google spider you can construct a complete image of everything anyone has ever liked publicly, and then sell it to advertisers who can then pick up your email or actual address from a re-seller of public information. We need to take personal data and living information out of the realm of advertising permanently.
antigoracle
not rated yet Mar 09, 2016
In other news. Facebook unfriended the German courts.
Das ist schlecht, nein?
Osiris1
not rated yet Mar 09, 2016
About time the facebook snake was recognized for the spy and agent of whoever it is.
Stevepidge
1 / 5 (2) Mar 09, 2016
About time the facebook snake was recognized for the spy and agent of whoever it is.


agents of zionist NWO murderers. You know the same group who brought down the twin towers and got the U.S. embroiled in a ridiculous never ending crusade in the middle east.

It's Israel.
Roderick
5 / 5 (1) Mar 12, 2016
The Europeans need to update their laws and regulations. All social media must gather personal information in order to pay their bills and make money. Otherwise there will be no social media.

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