Posted on August 22, 2011 by Jennifer Pointer

Facebook Balderdash


Last week Germany's ULD (that stands for something in Germany which roughly translates to "the independent center for privacy protection")  released the following press release (translated by Google):



The Independent Centre for Privacy Protection (ULD) calls on all authorities in Schleswig-Holstein, their fan pages on Facebook and Social plugins like the "Like" button on their websites to be removed. After a thorough technical and legal analysis of the ULD comes to the conclusion that such products infringe upon the Telemedia Act (TMG) and against the Federal Data Protection Act (BDSG) and the country's data protection law in Schleswig-Holstein (SH LDSG) notices. By using the Facebook service takes a data transfer of traffic and content data in the United States and a qualified feedback to the operator regarding the use of the offer, the so-called range analysis. Anyone who was on Facebook or has used a plugin that has to assume that he is tracked by the company for two years. Facebook is at a comprehensive personal, made by members even a personalized educational profile. These processes violate German and European data protection law. There is no sufficient information of the users concerned women and users, this will be granted no right to vote, the wording in the terms and conditions and privacy policies of Facebook are not enough close to the legal requirements for lawful evidence on effective data protection consents, and to general business conditions.

The ULD expects all website operators in Schleswig-Holstein, that they immediately cease the data cascading over her to-use Facebook in the U.S., by disabling the appropriate services. This is not done until the end of September 2011, the ULD will take further measures. After going through the legally provided consultation and administrative proceedings can do so in public places his complaints under § LDSG SH, 42 with private entities injunctions under § 38 Para 5 BDSG and administrative penalties. The maximum height is fine for violations of the TMG at 50,000 €.

Thilo Weichert, head of the ULD "The ULD has long been informally suggest that many Facebook offers are illegal. This has unfortunately been hindered because few operators to take the offer, particularly as these easy to install and use are free of charge. This especially meaningful for the promotional purposes of coverage analysis. Payment is made with the data of the users. Using this data, Facebook is now the world an estimated market value reached over 50 billion dollars. All points must be clear that their data protection responsibilities to the Company not Facebook, which has no residence in Germany, and also can not deport the internal users and users.

Our current appeal is only the beginning of a broader data protection analysis of Facebook applications. The ULD will this make in cooperation with the other German data protection authorities. A comprehensive analysis is a small data protection authority such as the ULD is not possible with a throw; Facebook also continuously change its technical operations and conditions of use. No one should claim that there were now no alternatives available, there are European and other social media to take the protection of the privacy rights of internet users reported more serious. That there is also problematic applications there may be a reason for inaction with regard to Facebook, but we must encourage data protection supervisory authorities to investigate these violations also. The-use can contribute to this by trying to avoid offers privacy-adverse. "

Female users and users on the Internet, the ULD only give the advice that her finger from clicking Social plugins "like" like to have button and need not be created Facebook account, if they want to avoid a comprehensive profiling by the company. The profiles are personal; Facebook claims from its members that they log on with their real names.


If Facebook had a record of protecting its users privacy, I would be the first to jump on board in defending them against this obvious attempt to censor communication and squelch free communication by the EU.  Unfortunately, Facebook's reputation on this is dismal, so there really are no "good guys" in this fight.  It's going to boil down to "privacy" being used as an excuse to violate freedom of speech, and the people of Europe could be the victims (regardless of who wins or loses). 


I've written before on the principle that with much freedom comes much responsibility, and hopefully Mr. Zuckerberg of Facebook will learn that important lesson before we all lose a freedom we are enjoying.


Hat-tip: Mashable


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