Thu. Feb 21st, 2019

Germany orders Facebook to stop indiscriminate data collection

Alemania ordena a Facebook detener la recolección indiscriminada de datos


The German data protection agency has ordered Facebook that it can not combine the data collected by its different applications. The ruling comes after an investigation into the actions of Facebook in its three major platforms: Facebook itself, Instagram and WhatsApp. The decision will be appealed by the company.

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The failure will allow Facebook to continue collecting data on the use and navigation of its users, but will not allow them to combine them in a centralized database. In order to do so, Facebook must request and receive the express consent of the users of each platform. The second part of the decision prevents Facebook from "collecting data from third-party websites and assigning them to a Facebook account without the firm permission of the account owner."







The decision prevents Facebook from "collecting data from third-party websites and assigning them to a Facebook account without the firm permission of the account owner"


The ruling is only effective in Germany, but the conclusions taken by the agency could influence the decisions taken by other members of the European Union and even outside the borders of the twenty-eight. Although Facebook has protested this change to the regulation, some privacy experts think it is a bite without teeth.

Zeynep Tufekci, the Turkish technosociologist expert in the implications of technology in the social field, is forceful: "They will make people click on the 'yes' button. None of these methods of direct consent works. People are not reading or understanding what is happening. It's like asking people to be experts in chemistry so they know if their food is suitable for eating. "



They will make people click on the 'yes' button. None of these methods of direct consent works "



Tufekci is one of the most important personalities in the world in this field, and since her teaching position at Chapel Hill University in North Carolina she has taught to many security engineers working in Silicon Valley. "Privacy is the solid foundation of integrity and dignity." He expressed in his Twitter account as a complaint to the decision.

Facebook could get an overwhelming majority of its users in Germany to accept new terms of service that explicitly mention the conditions demanded by the German government. The alternative that these companies usually offer is that if the consumer chooses to choose 'no', his account stops working. The data trail is tied to the use of the platform.







In the future, Facebook will not be allowed to force its users to accept virtually unlimited data collection and assign data captured outside of Facebook to their profiles. "



For its part, the data protection office of Germany justifies its decision: "In the future, Facebook will not be allowed to force its users to accept virtually unlimited data collection and assign data captured outside Facebook to their profiles " This type of Facebook activity is widely known: the company attaches digital links to compile information that its users put directly (our name or profile photo) with data collected from our use (what kind of mobile we use or with whom we talk) and with External data that you buy from third-party firms (such as our purchase history with a credit card).

The second part of the decision may be more problematic for Facebook because it will prevent the collection of user navigation information from the "Like" buttons that are present in a large part of the Internet web pages.

Andreas Mundt, president of Germany's competition protection agency, explains the decision to the media

Andreas Mundt, president of Germany's competition protection agency, explains the decision to the media
(Rolf Vennenbernd / AP)








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