German court rules against Google's terms

Aug 31, 2009 By PATRICK McGROARTY , Associated Press Writer
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(AP) -- A German court has ruled that Google Inc. must change terms of service that could be interpreted to compromise a user's rights, a decision the consumer advocacy group that brought the suit welcomed Monday as a victory for online transparency.

The suit filed by the Federation of German Consumer Organizations charged that the terms of service for opening an account through Google Mail, Google Documents and other programs could be interpreted as giving the giant the right to review and even delete a user's information.

"(Google's terms) included, in our view, several rules that could disadvantage the consumer," said Heike Heidemann-Peuser, a spokeswoman for the consumer federation.

The district court in Hamburg agreed, ruling that Google must eliminate ten clauses that could be interpreted to compromise users' rights to their own data from the terms of service as presented by the federation.

Google said in a statement that it removed the clauses, which it described "unfortunately framed," more than a year ago.

Google spokesman Stefan Keuchel said the terms had already been changed when the court released its decision to clarify that users agree to allow data they upload to be viewed and manipulated only by other users they have explicitly authorized - for instance, through a shared Google document.

"At no point were we allowed to look at private documents, edit them, delete them," Keuchel said. "The data users give to us belongs to the user."

Keuchel said Google is reviewing its terms for German customers to see if further changes are necessary to comply with the ruling.

In June, Google complied with a request from German data protection officials that it erase some photos for its panoramic after they have been processed.

Google agreed to delete raw footage of faces, house numbers, license plates and individuals in Germany who have told authorities they do not want their information used in Street View.

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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docknowledge
1 / 5 (2) Aug 31, 2009
"Unfortunately framed?" Bullshit. This is typical Google. They push it as far as they can, until people start threatening them with legal suits. And if a very great deal of money is involved? They push it anyhow, until suit is actually brought against them. Their whole business paradigm is based on two things: Charge for advertising search customers don't know they are being plied with, and "push frontiers" in areas where the law has trouble catching up. They are pond scum.
superhuman
5 / 5 (1) Aug 31, 2009
Exactly dock, but did you know the search results supposedly coming from Google are actually produced by poor starving kids locked up in sweatshops in third world countries searching the internet by hand? Those who cannot produce results fast enough are shipped to Google HQ in wooden crates where they are fed to pet alligators kept by Brin and Page.
Google = 666