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Facebook Data Collection Under Fire Again 49

JohnBert writes "A German privacy protection authority is calling on organizations there to close their Facebook fan pages and remove the social networking site's 'Like' button from their websites, arguing that Facebook harvests data in violation of German and European Union law. The Independent Centre for Privacy Protection (ULD), the privacy protection agency for the German state of Schleswig-Holstein, issued a news release on Friday saying Facebook builds a broad, individualized profile for people who view Facebook content on third-party websites. Data is sent back to Facebook's servers in the U.S., which the agency alleges violates the German Telemedia Act, the German Federal Data Protection Act and the Data Protection Act of Schleswig-Holstein. The agency alleges the data is held by Facebook for two years, and wants website owners in the state to remove links to Facebook by the end of next month or possibly face a fine."
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Facebook Data Collection Under Fire Again

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 25, 2011 @03:12AM (#37202344)

    They do not ban linking to facebook because they do not like it.
    They ban providing Facebook (throught the "like", "become a fan", ... links) with information that they WILLINGLY and KNOWINGLY are not handling according to the rules and regulations in Germany.
    In other words: they are banning sites from cooperating with illegal actions. And I do not see the problem in that, because as far as I know that is already illegal.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 25, 2011 @03:20AM (#37202390)

    "Banning linking to -legal- websites now, just because we don't like it? Geez."

    Try again.
    This is in Germany, and only applies to websites that are hosted in Germany.
    In Germany, Facebook would not be able to be hosted because Facebooks datamining systems are ILLEGAL in Germany. They violate privacy laws and violate laws that describe how, where, and when, personal/private information may be transmitted.
    Since Facebook is NOT hosted in Germany, the German government can't touch Facebook itself and are not trying.
    However, any websites that ARE hosted in Germany must work within German law, and since those "like" buttons transmit your private/personal/legally-protected information to a datamining system in another country... those "like" buttons violate German data privacy laws and are thus ILLEGAL for any sites hosted in Germany to use.

    For once in the history of the world... I am agreeing with a government using "censorship" in order to protect mentally-deficient citizens from having all of their private/personal/protected information stolen from them and used in scams that target those very same citizens.

  • by codegen ( 103601 ) on Thursday August 25, 2011 @03:58AM (#37202580) Journal

    Read the story. Or even read the summary. They are not banning links to facebook. If the sites had a <a href="http//www.facebook.com> link on their page, the government would not care. What they care about is that javascript snippet that collects user information about you and your friends when you visit the page and sends it back to facebook, whether you click on the "like" button or not. The EU in general and Germany in particular have strong rules about what information a corporation is allowed to collect and retain about you. Facebook breaks the rules.

    I wish my government was as strong. You can say, "don't" go to such websites, but so many sites have opted into facebook's koolaid, that it would be a limited web indeed. Competition only works when you have a real choice.

  • by oreaq ( 817314 ) on Thursday August 25, 2011 @04:46AM (#37202792)
    You are missing something: In Germany you own your personal information. Facebook is not allowed to store or use your personal information without your consent. The facebook "Like" button is not just a link, it's a javascript program that sends personal information to Facebook.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 25, 2011 @05:38AM (#37203022)

    I recognize there is a big difference between the "like" button and a simple link, but the article says "link." To be fair, I suspect it was the article's mistake. Still, I wouldn't trust that a government official knew the difference between javascript and a link.

    Then you would be mistaken. The original report [datenschutzzentrum.de] is pretty detailed and documents Facebook's tracking user techniques even at the Javascript level.

"I don't believe in sweeping social change being manifested by one person, unless he has an atomic weapon." -- Howard Chaykin