It has been readily apparent for years that many social media sites (and let’s not forget virtually all Internet sites and lots of mobile phone providers) have been blithely ignoring European data protection laws. To a great extent (faced with the might of American behemoths like Google, Apple, and Facebook) the regulators have turned a blind eye unless faced with responding to specific complaints from individuals. Today’s news from Germany may signal the turning point.
To quote the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) report:
The Independent Centre for Privacy Protection (ULD)—the privacy regulator for the German state of Schleswig-Holstein—has told website owners in that state to “shut down their fan pages on Facebook and remove social plug-ins such as the ‘like’ button” from their sites.
In a press release, the ULD said that “after a thorough legal and technical analysis,” it concluded that use of such features violates the German Telemedia Act, the Federal Data Protection Act and the Data Protection Act of Schleswig-Holstein.
The German Federal Data Protection Act is Germany’s national implementation of the requirements stipulated by the 1995 EU Data Protection Directive, which has counterparts in each of the other 26 EU countries. In this case, it is the privacy authority of just a single German state (the northernmost, including major cities of Kiel and Lubeck) that has launched the offensive. The challenge to all of Europe is clear. Authorities throughout Europe must either stand up and start enforcing existing laws, or change those laws to something they are willing to enforce. Meanwhile, many Internet-based businesses will be waiting anxiously for the next shoe to drop….
Read the press release here: https://www.datenschutzzentrum.de/presse/20110819-facebook-en.htm
Click here for more: https://www.privacyassociation.org/publications/schleswig-holstein_commissioner_orders_site_owners_to_deactivate_analytics