Facebook Investigated over Data Protection Abuses in GermanyAdded: Thursday, March 3rd, 2016
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The German federal cartel office announced that Facebook is being investigated over suspected anti-competitive behavior connected with breaches of data protection legislation. The watchdog initiated proceedings against the company operating within Europe from a base in Ireland, saying that for advertising-financed services like Facebook, user data are very important and it is therefore necessary to find out whether the consumers are properly informed about the type and extent of information Facebook collects.
The federal cartel office will probe whether the company’s terms of service, which allow the use of user details for ad-tracking, breach Germany’s data protection legislation. It should be noted that the social networking giant earns most of its profits from targeted advertising to its users through the data collected from profiles, friends, postings, activities and opinions. Local politicians and regulators criticized Facebook over its privacy practices, pointing out that dominant companies are subject to special obligations, including the use of adequate terms of service relevant to the market of presence.
The watchdog found out that in order to access Facebook, people must first agree to Facebook’s collection and use of their data, but it is usually difficult for them to realize the scope of the agreement. The German authority explained that the probe would be conducted in collaboration with the data protection officers, consumer protection groups, the European Commission and the competition authorities of other EU countries.
According to the European Commission, they can’t exclude that Facebook’s behavior breaching data protection rules could also be relevant to potential violation of competition rules in the European Union. The case was also described as “unusual” by the head of data protection at British law firm Bristows. He also pointed out that the current investigation would mark the first time that data protection issues led to a competition case. It is also known that Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Facebook, visited Berlin on a charm offensive a few days ago. Facebook released an official statement saying that the company was confident that it complied with the law and was looking forward to cooperating with the German watchdog to address any questions it might have.
Thursday, March 3rd, 2016No comments
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