Facebook Illegally Used Personal Data In Germany, Court Says

Facebook used personal data of German citizens in an illegal manner, a Berlin regional court ruled on Monday, concluding that the Mountain View, California-based Internet giant didn't obtain the consent to do so from its users in an appropriate manner, i.e. by asking for it while clearly informing them about its practices. A copy of the ruling has been shared by the Federation of German Consumer Organisations earlier today, revealing that the competent court found Facebook's privacy practices to be in violation of some consumer protections in the European country. The court dismissed a number of other allegations against Facebook as part of the same trial and the defendant is now planning to appeal the sentence deeming its privacy practices illegal.

In a statement provided to Reuters, Facebook argued its terms of use and general privacy policies have been revamped in the last three years and aren't in any violations of the law alleged by the litigation from 2015. The company also reiterated its stance of being fully committed to streamlining its privacy guidelines so that they're as easy to understand as possible. It's unlikely such an argument will by itself hold up in an appeals court since the firm's 2015 practices were found to have been illegal. Supporters of the lawsuit claimed Facebook's privacy policy wasn't just convoluted but also hard to discover, adding that not enough information about it was provided to users while they were registering a Facebook account.

The timing of the verdict is inopportune for the world's largest social media network that's currently in the process of additionally revising its policies in order to comply with the upcoming privacy law set to go into effect in the European Union in June. The company recently fought off a privacy-focused class-action lawsuit filed against it with the top EU court, though the judicial body still advised the plaintiff to pursue individual litigation against the firm in their home country of Austria. Facebook is still being scrutinized by the EU's privacy watchdogs over its data sharing with its messaging subsidiary WhatsApp and even Instagram that has been the subject of some ongoing controversies for over a year now.

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Dominik Bosnjak

Head Editor
Dominik started at AndroidHeadlines in 2016 and is the Head Editor of the site today. He’s approaching his first full decade in the media industry, with his background being primarily in technology, gaming, and entertainment. These days, his focus is more on the political side of the tech game, as well as data privacy issues, with him looking at both of those through the prism of Android. Contact him at [email protected]
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