Facebook Defeats German Watchdog Group in "Fake Names" Case
February 15, 2013 3:11 PM
comment(s) - last by
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
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RE: Simple solution...
2/15/2013 7:13:25 PM
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...
2/16/2013 10:36:29 AM
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...
2/17/2013 9:24:17 PM
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...
2/18/2013 3:15:08 AM
Trillions? A bit of hyperbole... Billions? More in the ballpark... Facebook? Not even a billion yet.
"We can't expect users to use common sense. That would eliminate the need for all sorts of legislation, committees, oversight and lawyers." -- Christopher Jennings
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