Facebook Defeats German Watchdog Group in "Fake Names" Case
February 15, 2013 3:11 PM
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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
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2/15/2013 11:04:58 PM
Once again I'm forced to illustrate the absurd by using absurdity.
Let's say I have this country, we'll call it
. Here in
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
. 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.
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?
2/17/2013 12:50:32 AM
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.
2/17/2013 1:46:56 PM
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.
"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet. A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis
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