German DPA asks for the removal of Facebook "like" button
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Deutsch: Deutscher Datenschützer fordert Entfernung des Facebook-"Like&qu...
Thilo Weichert, the German data protection commissioner from the Independent Center for Privacy Protection (ULD) - the Data Protection Authority (DPA) from the state of Schleswig-Holstein, on 19 August 2011 called on website owners in his north German state to remove Facebook "like" buttons by the end of September 2011 or possibly face a fine.
Weichert stated that, according to a thorough legal and technical analysis by ULD, when people use the "like" button on Facebook pages, traffic and content data are transferred to Facebook's US-based servers. "Whoever visits facebook.com or uses a plug-in must expect that he or she will be tracked by the company for two years. Facebook builds a broad individual - and for members even a personalized - profile," stated Weichert. ULD considers that such a profiling infringes German and European data protection law.
In this case, if the website owners in the respective German state do not comply with the request, ULD, after performing the hearing and administrative procedure, may place a formal complaint, a prohibition order as well as a penalty fine that may reach 50 000 Euro.
"We firmly reject any assertion that Facebook is not compliant with EU data-protection standards. The Facebook 'like' button is such a popular feature because people have complete control over how their information is shared through it," was Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes's statement. Facebook admitted the "Like" button could pass on information such as user IP addresses, but said the data was deleted after 90 days according to the industry standard.
Having strict online privacy policies, Germany has had several issues with Facebook lately. German data protection authorities also said Facebook's new facial recognition feature was illegal and asked the site to remove it and delete all related information. They also demanded that network users get more control over their e-mail address books in the "Friend Finder" tool.
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