German Rail Company Hauled Before Authorities Over ‘Greta’ Tweets

An environmentalist holds up a poster reading "How dare you", quoting Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg, as she protests outside the German Chancellery where is taking place the weekly cabinet meeting in Berlin on September 25, 2019. (Photo by Tobias SCHWARZ / AFP) (Photo credit should read TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP …
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A spat on Twitter between climate change alarmist Greta Thunberg and Deutsche Bahn has resulted in Germany’s state-run rail service being hauled before authorities for allegedly infringing the sixteen-year-old’s data privacy.

In the ongoing scandal over a Twitter exchange between Greta Thunberg, the Berlin Data Protection Office has announced that it will haul in representatives from Deutsche Bahn, Germany’s state-owned railway company, over concerns about data privacy after Deutsche Bahn tweeted out the train number that Thunberg was travelling on.

“We will take the matter as an opportunity to hold a conversation with Deutsche Bahn on how to deal with passenger rights in relation to personal travel data,” a spokesperson told Tagesspiegel.

On her way back from the COP25 climate change conference in Madrid, Sweedish activist Greta Thunberg posted a now-infamous picture on Twitter of herself sitting on the floor of a packed German train, writing: “Traveling on overcrowded trains through Germany. And I’m finally on my way home!”

It was later revealed that Thunberg was given a seat in first class and that the train crew doted on the young activist, bringing her chocolates engraved with the words “favourite guest” on them.

Deutsche Bahn, responded by thanking the activist for supporting “us railway workers in the fight against climate change” however went on to add that: “It would have been even nicer if you had also reported how friendly and competently you were looked after by our team at your seat in first class.”

In the tweets, Deutsche Bahn mentioned her train number and that she was in first class, leading supporters of Greta to call foul, claiming that the company had breached the teenage activist’s privacy.

Many also took the opportunity to criticise Deutsche Bahn for its faulty booking system. In 2019, the railway company introduced a new booking system that tells passengers what trains are fully booked and which are empty, however, the system has been plagued by inaccuracies reports Deutsche Welle.

“Will I also get a shout-out together with precise details about my booking? And perhaps also when I have drunk coffee and gone to the loo?”, one passenger wrote according to The Times.

The scandal has been described as a public relations “disaster” by Arno Frank, a columnist for the German news magazine Der Spiegel.

“The company reacted as the Germans expect from their railways. First awkward and then snippy. With delay. A disaster on several levels”, wrote Frank.

The growing controversy has also engulfed several politicians in Germany, with Thunberg’s supporters blasting Franziska Giffey, the Social Democrat minister for family affairs, for saying that Greta “had lost a few credibility points” after seemingly staging the photograph.

On Friday the climate alarmist returned to protesting outside Sweeden’s parliament, where her protest first began over a year ago.

Follow Kurt on Twitter @KurtZindulka


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