Daily Management Review

Issue Of Collection Of Personal Data By Facebook Results In A Warning To The Company From German Cartel Office


12/19/2017




In what is another potential face off for Facebook in Europe, the social media giant has been warned against collection of and transferring of data from third parties who are outside the network of the social network in an “abusive” manner by the competition authority of Germany.
 
Facebook was officially warned about its practice of mass collection of private data by Germany’s cartel office (FCO) which also warned that this practice put Facebook at risk of violation of the strict privacy laws of the EU. In a preliminary ruling, the FCO also accused Facebook of intentionally abusing its position in the German market as a dominant player.
 
A ruling is expected to come any day from the European Court of Justice related to whether Facebook had any right to transfer data like pictures and e-mails from their server in the EU region to the US. This is one of the issues that the largest social media platform is facing in Europe.
 
The right of privacy has been enshrined in the EU constitution as a fundamental right and as such the laws and regulations that are related to it are amongst the toughest in the world. Facebook also received a warning earlier this week from France’s data protection watchdog that the social media ran the risk of violation of French privacy laws in relation to the manner in which it shares data from and with WhatsApp. This instant messaging service company was acquired by Facebook in 2014. 
 
2016 was when Facebook faced the first antitrust investigations in Europe when a probe was initiated against it by Germany’s competition authorities. Membership in Facebook by a user also came with the clause that the company would be “allowed to limitlessly amass every kind of data generated by using third-party websites and merge it with the user’s Facebook account”, found the legal finding of a preliminary probe. The finding also highlighted the fact that Facebook also enjoyed a very dominating position in the social media market in Germany and also noted that the company uses this dominant position to restricts the ability of the its users to switch to another service.
 
“From the current state of affairs we are not convinced that users have given their effective consent to Facebook’s data tracking and the merging of data into their Facebook account. The extent and form of data collection violate mandatory European data protection principles,” said Andreas Mundt, head of the FCO.
 
The allegations of its dominant position in Germany is denied by Facebook.
 
“The reality is that Facebook doesn’t show any of the signs of a dominant company in Germany or elsewhere”, said Yvonne Cunnane, Facebook’s head of data protection in Ireland.
 
“The FCO’s preliminary report paints an inaccurate picture of Facebook. Although Facebook is popular in Germany, we are not dominant. We’re just one part of how people interact, and we must constantly innovate to ensure we’re meeting people’s expectations,” said Ms Cunnane.
 
“We’ll be working directly with relevant data protection officials to ensure our approach meets the requirements set out by GDPR and are confident that we’ll be able to address the questions posed by the FCO”, said Ms Cunnane.
 
(Source:www.ft.com)






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