Facebook Sued over Privacy in Germany

Already facing trouble with its use of tracking cookies and how it pushes in its Like button, Facebook is now under water in Germany where the social networking giant is facing lawsuit over its use of face recognition software on its services by German authorities.

The Hamburg’s state data protection authority has filed a lawsuit against the social networking giant for exploiting automatic face recognition saying that “further negotiations are pointless,” reported the Deutsche Welle.

The organization issued a statement on its website stating that the world’s largest social network keeps a “comprehensive database of the biometric features of all users,” that too “without informing the user and without obtaining the required consent. Unequivocal consent of the parties is required by both European and national data protection law.” Storing such information without the consent of users is an illegal act, said the authorities.

Facebook issued a report in response to this claiming:

“We believe that any legal action is completely unnecessary,” wrote Tina Kulow, a Facebook spokesperson in Germany, in an e-mail sent to Deutsche Welle. “[The] tag suggests feature on Facebook is fully compliant with EU data protection laws.”

According to Deutsche Welle, the German data protection laws condition is to keep the users opt-in rather than opt-out of the feature as Facebook does, so that they themselves decide whether to have their data stored or not.

It will be difficult for German authorities to take any step against the company in terms of violating data protection laws as the social networking company doesn’t have servers in the country. However, with a view to resolve this issue, the German Federal Minister for Consumer Protection Ilse Aligner and the EU’s Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding had a meeting in Brussels earlier this week to discuss the matter. Both the personages talked about the options available to direct Facebook to stick to the Europeans laws.

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