Germany: the Data Protection Commissioner’s Office of the State of Schleswig-Holstein asked the website owners to shut down their fan pages on Facebook and remove the “like”-button

The Independent Centre for Privacy Protection Schleswig-Holstein, the agency of the State of Schleswig-Holstein that exercises state control and advisory functions in the area of data protection and freedom of information, called on “all institutions in the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany to shut down their fan pages on Facebook and remove social plug-ins such as the “like”-button from their websites”.

The Data Protection Commissioner’s Office draws its conclusions from different legal and technical considerations and notes that these digital devices are in violation of the regional and national laws on data protection. The authority observed that “by using the Facebook service traffic and content data are transferred into the USA and a qualified feedback is sent back to the website owner concerning the web page usage, the so called web analytics (Ger.: Reichweitenanalyse). Whoever visits or uses a plug-in must expect that he or she will be tracked by the company for two years. Facebook builds a broad individual and for members even a personalised profile. Such a profiling infringes German and European data protection law. There is no sufficient information of users and there is no choice; the wording in the conditions of use and privacy statements of Facebook does not nearly meet the legal requirements relevant for compliance of legal notice, privacy consent and general terms of use”.

The authority stated it will adopt further measures if website owners will not stop the transfer of user data to Facebook in the USA by the end of September 2011.


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