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The Office of the Data Protection Commissioner for Schleswig-Holstein said it would appeal

A German court ruling will allow Facebook to ban the use of fake names on the social network.

The Office of the Data Protection Commissioner for Schleswig-Holstein challenged a Facebook policy last year that requires users to create profiles with their real names only -- no nicknames or fake names allowed.

The German privacy watchdog said this policy breaches German privacy laws that allow free speech on the Internet. Facebook argued that real names were necessary to protect users.

"It is unacceptable that a U.S. portal like Facebook violates German data protection law unopposed and with no prospect of an end," said Thilo Weichert, Privacy Commissioner and head of ULD. "The aim of the orders of ULD is to finally bring about a legal clarification of who is responsible for Facebook and to what this company is bound to."

However, the German court ruled that the Irish data protection law applied in this case, where Irish data protection officials handle Facebook privacy concerns in Europe (because Facebook's European headquarters is in Ireland).

"We are pleased with the decision, [which] we believe ... is a step into the right direction," a Facebook spokesman said in a statement. "We hope that our critics will understand that it is the role of individual services to determine their own policies about anonymity within the governing law – for Facebook Ireland European data protection and Irish law. We therefore feel affirmed that the orders are without merit."

The Office of the Data Protection Commissioner for Schleswig-Holstein said it would appeal.

Last August, Facebook reported that 8.7 percent of active user accounts are fake.

Source: Yahoo News

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Simple solution...
By augiem on 2/15/2013 5:09:47 PM , Rating: 5
If you don't like the terms, don't use it.

RE: Simple solution...
By SeeManRun on 2/15/2013 5:36:41 PM , Rating: 3
Easier said than done. You might be able to say that about Facebook, but what about a credit card. If you don't like the terms can you just not use it? What else... cell phone, land line? The terms for everything we use are not in our favor. The only ones fighting for our rights are organizations like this.

Soon there will be terms of service for everything.

RE: Simple solution...
By DaveLessnau on 2/15/2013 6:36:26 PM , Rating: 2
There ARE terms of service for everything. If people don't like them, they can use a competing product or service. That's what competition and an open marketplace are all about.

RE: Simple solution...
By SeeManRun on 2/15/2013 7:13:25 PM , Rating: 5
But that isn't really true is it? The new MS office 2013 can only be installed on one computer. You would have to proactively use the Internet and read through the entire TOS to learn you can only use it on a single computer. Do you think you can open the package, read the TOS, not accept it and get a refund?

The problem with these TOS's is they are too complicated, too tilted in favor of the company (remember the Facebook change where they own your photos, even if it was brief), and they often are displayed after you have paid for your product. Should Best Buy have to give a refund because you don't like the TOS on the new Blu-Ray you just got? And have you ever heard of someone doing this?

The company's know you will blindly click accept and they will use it in court against you (with their lawyer that makes way more than most people could ever afford). It is so bad, judges are starting to side with the citizen because they know people can't read 85 pages of legalese and fully understand what they are accepting.

While ignorance is no excuse, it is the reality, and society cannot afford making people understand these ridiculous terms of service to use products.

Finally, if companies actually wanted you to read it they should program in a time wait so you can't just scroll to the bottom and hit agree, but you have to wait a reasonable amount of time in order to read the document. The company ENABLES you to breeze through the document and blindly sign it, then trying to hold you to something that they enabled, and lets be honest, encouraged you to do.

The idea of "if you don't like it don't use it" is a little antiquated in this day and age. Facebook is becoming one of those services that is nearly a must have. Governments are even contemplating allowing Facebook authentication for government services online. And while you may choose to not do business online, it is becoming harder and harder to avoid it as governments cut staff because so many people do it online and they save money by providing the online option, and of course they pass those savings back to the tax payers in the form of tax cuts or expanded services.

RE: Simple solution...
By Stuka on 2/16/2013 10:36:29 AM , Rating: 2
You are confusing the term "must have", a marketing term, and the term, "necessity", a humanity term.

What you are describing is people who want something so bad, they don't care how they get it, ie. agreeing to Terms they did not read. Facebook and Office are not necessities. You can live a full, rich life without it, arguably richer. Trillions of human beings were born, met someone, had kids, had food in their bellies and joy in their hearts long before Facebook was first conceived. In fact, it is still happening right now, all over the world.

So yeah, it really is as simple as "Don't like it? Don't use it."

If you want to talk about brown tap water, or electric companies shutting off home service randomly to power the ballpark, then we can have a real discussion.

RE: Simple solution...
By SeeManRun on 2/17/2013 9:24:17 PM , Rating: 3
If your terms for life are food, water, shelter then I suppose you can live without these things.

But actually, can you? You basically must pay taxes everywhere. If you live in the mountains on your own and no one ever sees you then I suppose you might get away from that, but suppose you don't. Taxes are sort of a terms of service for living in a country. You must agree to them whether you want to or not. In order to pay taxes you must make money, which means more tax generally. To file your tax return you generally have to accept the TOS with your government agency responsible for that. If you mail it in you have no choice but to use the post office or some other carrier which has more service terms you must accept.

That is the way things are going everywhere. Buying a CD, while not a necessity, now comes with a terms of service; a license to use the product but you do not own the music, just the plastic that is the disc.

Facebook is hardly a necessity, but the dealings with every day things that are very basic to everyone (in western countries) are going the same way as the other services you mention.

Also, in case you weren't exaggerating, there has not been a trillion human beings born.

RE: Simple solution...
By croc on 2/18/2013 3:15:08 AM , Rating: 2
Trillions? A bit of hyperbole... Billions? More in the ballpark... Facebook? Not even a billion yet.

It follows that...
By Armageddonite on 2/15/2013 7:25:40 PM , Rating: 1
Some degrees of anonymity and privacy serve only to further illegal and malicious behavior.

Junkies and drug dealers don't like their cars and luggage being searched.

Cyber-criminals don't like their traffic being intercepted and discovered.

And cyber-bullies and cyber-stalkers don't like being required to reveal their true identities online.

Freedom of expression plus total anonymity equals the perception of impunity, which will always be abused to the fullest extent possible.

RE: It follows that...
By ipay on 2/18/2013 1:23:19 PM , Rating: 3
And cyber-bullies and cyber-stalkers don't like being required to reveal their true identities online.
Or people like myself, who simply value a level of privacy surrendered by exposing a full name.

By JonnyDough on 2/17/2013 6:12:18 AM , Rating: 2
Facebook is a fad that will eventually phase out. Many are already bored/disgusted with it and refuse to use it. It's going the way of MySpace. Why? To be honest it's a POS. It simply is not that well designed. Furthermore, it has too elusive of controls/TOS/privacy. Also, people are becoming more and more uncaring of other people. Relationships are faltering with today's youth. If Facebook is the way to communicate between ourselves, I don't want it. I have a feeling that at some point our youth will reject technology some and get back to the basics, speaking to one another. At least, I sort of hope we will.

By daneren2005 on 2/15/13, Rating: -1
RE: Likewise
By GulWestfale on 2/15/2013 5:26:32 PM , Rating: 2
if it made no effort to to do business in europe's biggest market, then why is facebook in germany displayed in german?

corporations and companies have to followlaws, instead of just making up their own. our laws are made by elected officials, not by a company.

RE: Likewise
By Reclaimer77 on 2/15/13, Rating: -1
RE: Likewise
By GulWestfale on 2/15/2013 7:21:13 PM , Rating: 5
a company that operates in a country must respect that country's laws, you idiot.

RE: Likewise
By Reclaimer77 on 2/15/2013 7:49:04 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry but that is 20'th century thinking. With the advent of online commerce and the explosive growth of the World Wide Web, your position is horribly antiquated and outmoded.

Facebook is no more "operating" in Germany than a FPS game is depicting actual violence. We're talking about data packets here and nothing more. Hello?

Now if they had a physical presence there, I would 100% agree with you. By all means, they would have to abide German law in all respects.

RE: Likewise
By Reclaimer77 on 2/15/13, Rating: -1
RE: Likewise
By GulWestfale on 2/15/2013 9:21:01 PM , Rating: 3
so which laws should a company operate under? its own? and what about russian hackers/scammers, are you saying you cannot complain about them if they attack you (in the US), because they live in another country and have no physical presence in yours?

RE: Likewise
By Reclaimer77 on 2/15/2013 10:25:27 PM , Rating: 2
First off Facebook isn't "operating" in Germany in any traditional sense. Germans are CHOOSING to send data packets from their internet connection, to a server, REQUESTING access to Facebook. You make it sound like Facebook has a store in Germany somewhere.

Secondly, Facebook is a completely free service.

Again, your thinking on this is outmoded and needs to catch up to the times. And the hacker analogy? Get a clue!

RE: Likewise
By Reclaimer77 on 2/15/2013 11:04:58 PM , Rating: 1
Once again I'm forced to illustrate the absurd by using absurdity.

Let's say I have this country, we'll call it Reclaimland. Here in Reclaimland we passed a law that said no websites can enter our country where the color green is displayed. Why? Because I hate green, it matters not.

Also our legislature has decided that things are pretty bad here, so the entire concept of a +1 button on webpages shall henceforth be barred from Reclaimland. If we can't be happy, nobody else can!!

So Gul tell me, how exactly do we enforce these mandates? And who's responsibility is it to spend the money needed for compliance? What if EVERY country decided on similar but separate "laws" and policies?

Please, for the love of all things, tell me you're getting it.

Facebook has every right to set it's own terms of use. If this clashes with German law, there's a simple fix. Block Facebook from being used in Germany.

The idea that you believe the Internet model can survive if every single website and service is forced to comply with every countries arbitrary laws, on any front, is insane. Are you sure you even understand the concept of the World Wide Web and how it works?

RE: Likewise
By it_guy on 2/17/2013 12:50:32 AM , Rating: 2
I understand what you are trying to say. However, you must understand that although Facebook is technically free to use, it does have a model that makes money. It does this by taking in revenue from companies that want to display ads, as well as taking in money from users that want to pay micro-payments for other services, usually in the form of the games and entertainment attached to the Facebook portal. Therefore, Facebook must adhere to the laws of the land, just like Microsoft loosing the IE battle in EU, etc. Yes, Facebook must take the responsibility to adhere to the laws of the land, and spend the money to be in compliance. It then passes that money incurred in mandated design to the different money models that it uses to be profitable. Facebook does this, since it wants to have the revenue that it is currently getting from Germany. They will, on occasions like this, challenge the law of the land in court, and get laws like this overturned... but ultimately, the Judge could have landed on the side of German law, and Facebook would have had to accede to the wishes of the court. It probably would have made changes, only to the Germany portal and TOS, to allow pseudo names on it's website.

RE: Likewise
By Reclaimer77 on 2/17/2013 1:46:56 PM , Rating: 2
Okay you refuse to get it, so I give up. I'm not "trying" to say anything, I said it. It's irrefutable.

Windows OS and IE are entirely different than a website, so not sure why you bring that up.

Yes Facebook makes a profit, however absolutely no money is changing hands between them and German citizens for the core service. Aside from entirely voluntary transactions which have no impact on the core service (games etc etc). Which have no bearing on this lawsuit anyway.

Hey I see where you're coming from, I do. You, for some reason, think it's a great idea if we cripple the World Wide Web to cater to every single countries potentially stupid laws. Which were probably written by idiots who have no concept of this stuff, or were written before the advent of the WWW entirely.

At least China had the good sense to simply firewall their Internet to customize things they way they wanted to. I guess in your mind if they didn't, it would be entirely logical to expect every website, online game, and service to adhere to their multitude of censorship and banned content policies.

RE: Likewise
By Tony Swash on 2/16/2013 6:31:21 PM , Rating: 1
Again, your thinking on this is outmoded and needs to catch up to the times. And the hacker analogy? Get a clue!

Bet you think this is OK as well.

RE: Likewise
RE: Likewise
By Tony Swash on 2/17/2013 11:46:26 AM , Rating: 1

For you if it's Apple it's a scandal, if it's anyone else you don't care.

RE: Likewise
By iano80 on 2/17/2013 9:11:13 PM , Rating: 2
I think the point is, you threw one stone, another came flying back!
Tony, please don't drag an entirely separate aspect into this conversation. You don't do yourself any favours!

RE: Likewise
By Tony Swash on 2/18/2013 6:07:34 AM , Rating: 2
So let me get this straight.

An easily and quickly corrected and obscure bug that meant that someone who stole your Phone might be able to look at it's contents is the same as a large tech company, unannounced and deliberately, and passing on critical user information to anyone who pays them, is equivalent? Apple phobia really does rot the brain.

RE: Likewise
By xti on 2/15/2013 11:03:13 PM , Rating: 1
FB really does get hated on here for no reason. Well, no logical reason other than dorks hate social stuff.

RE: Likewise
By SPOOFE on 2/16/2013 2:02:25 AM , Rating: 2
It's popular. Geeks often feel that "popular" and "geeky" are mutually exclusive. Thus, geeks rage against popular.

RE: Likewise
By SeeManRun on 2/15/2013 5:37:45 PM , Rating: 3
They make ad revenue off German citizens selling German ads...

RE: Likewise
By SPOOFE on 2/16/2013 2:04:06 AM , Rating: 2
So Germany should ban Facebook from their country.

But oh wait, German laws say that can't do that.

So German laws have an internal conflict. It should be resolved internally. Sucks to be Germany. Oh noes, they have to legislate a teensy-tiny bit!

“We do believe we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone.” -- Steve Jobs

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