A German court recently ruled that Facebook’s use of users’ personal data is illegal.
Reuters reports that a German court has ruled that Facebook’s use of user personal data is illegal as the company did not sufficiently secure consent from users. The Federation of German Consumer Organisations (VZVB) that Facebook’s terms of service and its default user settings breached consumer law. Heiko Duenkel, the litigation officer at VZVB stated: “Facebook hides default settings that are not privacy-friendly in its privacy center and does not provide sufficient information about it when users register.”
Facebook stated that they had made significant changes to their terms of service and data protection guidelines since the case was brought against them in 2015, and promised to appeal the ruling saying, “We are working hard to ensure that our guidelines are clear and easy to understand, and that the services offered by Facebook are in full accordance with the law.” The company also plans to update their data protection guidelines and terms of service to comply with new rules introduced by the European Union that are set to take effect in June 2018.
Germany’s Federal Cartel Office (FCO) has also taken issue with Facebook and has begun their own investigation into the social media platform. The FCO said in December that they objected to the method Facebook uses to access third-party data when an account is registered on their site. Facebook collects information from both WhatsApp and Instagram — both companies owned by Facebook — when a new user registers. The FCO also took issue with an element of Facebook’s mobile app which automatically revealed users locations to other users on the app.
An option in user privacy settings allowing