Facebook must follow Germany’s data protection law, rules court

Brittany A. Roston - Feb 18, 2014, 7:17pm CST
Facebook must follow Germany’s data protection law, rules court

The Higher Court of Berlin has ruled in favor of a 2012 court finding that Facebook has run afoul of German data protection law, and that it must comply with such legalities. Beyond this, the Higher Court also confirmed that the social network’s terms of service and privacy policy contain multiple clauses in violation of the nation’s law.

Facebook’s Friend Finder feature is said to be in violation of Germany’s protection law because it isn’t made clear to users that their entire address book is imported into Facebook when utilized, something not all users appreciate. The ruling comes in opposition of the Administrative Court of Appeals of the State of Schleswig-Holstein’s ruling, however.

The Verbrauchercentrale Bundesverband, more commonly called the VZBV, a consumer advocacy association, kicked off the case against Facebook back in 2012. Briefly, it looked as if the social network would be able to process data under Irish protection laws rather than German ones — that was based on the Court of Appeals ruling, which the Higher Court has gone against.

Not surprisingly, the VZBV is happy with the latest ruling, with the association’s project manager for consumer rights Carola Elbrecht praising the decision. Other German entities and individuals have also expressed happiness, with one lawyer in particular, Thomas Stadler, saying, “The findings of the court are especially interesting because it explicitly affirmed the applicability of the German data protection law on Facebook.”


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