Facebook App Center Violates German Privacy Laws
August 28, 2012

German Group Gives Deadline For Facebook To Fix App Center Privacy Violations

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

Germany's largest consumer watchdog group said on Monday that Facebook´s new App Center violates the nation´s privacy laws, and gave the social networking company a deadline to either fix the problem or risk legal action.

The Federation of German Consumer Organizations (VZBV) sent Facebook a ℠cease and desist´ letter alleging the App Center breaches German privacy law by giving away customer data without notifying users.

A VZBV spokeswoman said the organization would consider legal action against Facebook if the company fails to address the problem by September 4.

“[Sending] such comprehensive data to third parties [is allowed,] but their use is only allowed under German law with the conscious and informed consent of a user–in the opinion of the VZVB, a clear violation of the Telemedia Act,” the watchdog group wrote in a statement on its website on Monday.

A spokesman for Facebook Germany told Reuters that the company was looking into the case, but declined further comment.

Many Germans are distrustful of privacy violations due to memories of the Nazi Gestapo and East Germany's Stasi secret police. Two years ago, vast numbers of Germans requested their homes be deleted from Google's Street View, which displays panoramic street-level views of images taken from Google´s fleet of specially adapted vehicles.

The VZBV deadline comes just two weeks after the Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information said he would reopen his probe into Facebook's policies on tagging photos, retaining data and the degree of control the company gives users over their personal information.

Meanwhile, an Irish watchdog responsible for making sure Facebook complies with European and Irish data protection laws will determine no later than early October whether Facebook will face legal action under European privacy laws.

Ireland is the headquarters of Facebook's non-U.S. business.