Friday 20 September 2019

German authorities to appeal Facebook privacy ruling

Privacy: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg
Privacy: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg

Joseph Nasr

Germany's cartel office said on Monday it would appeal a regional court decision to suspend restrictions it had placed on Facebook's data collection practice to the country's highest court.

A court in Dusseldorf earlier suspended a February decision by the Federal Cartel Office ordering Facebook to restrict data collection in Germany.

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"We are convinced that with the available antitrust laws we can take regulatory action," said Andreas Mundt, the head of the cartel office.

"To clarify these questions we will file an appeal to the Federal Court of Justice."

Facebook appealed February's landmark decision that the social network abused its dominant market position to gather information about users without consent.

The Higher Regional Court in Duesseldorf said in its ruling earlier on Monday: "The suspension of the order means that Facebook does not have to implement the decision of the Federal Cartel Office for the time being."

Facebook declined to comment.

The court said its temporary injunction removing restrictions on Facebook's data gathering would be valid until it had made a final decision on the company's appeal.

Germany, where privacy concerns run deep, is at the forefront of a global backlash against Facebook, fuelled by last year's Cambridge Analytica scandal in which tens of millions of Facebook profiles were harvested without their users' consent.

Germany's watchdog in particular objected to how Facebook pools data from third-party apps - including its own WhatsApp and Instagram - and its online tracking of people who aren't members through Facebook 'like' or 'share' buttons.


Irish Independent

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