Germany orders Facebook to stop collecting WhatsApp user data

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WhatsApp banned from sharing data with Facebook in Germany

Such an arrangement is only allowed if both companies make sure that people commit to it, German privacy watchdog says – which didn’t happen

The German data protection agency has ordered Facebook to stop collecting user data from its WhatsApp messenger app and delete any data it has already received.

The social network announced in August that it would begin sharing data from its 1 billion-plus user base, including phone numbers, from WhatsApp users with Facebook for the purpose of targeted ads. It gave users the option of opting out of the data being used for advertising purposes, but did not allow them to opt out of the data sharing between WhatsApp and Facebook.

WhatsApp’s hugely controversial data-sharing deal with Facebook is now officially banned in Germany.

The two companies announced last month that WhatsApp would start handing over data about its users to Facebook. Facebook would then use that data to help its ads, generating more information about the people using it.

That agreement caused huge outrage, with many people arguing that such an arrangement shouldn’t be allowed. What’s more, it caused embarrassment for WhatsApp, which has in the past committed to keeping data private and not using its platform for ads.

“This administrative order protects the data of about 35 million WhatsApp users in Germany,” said Johannes Caspar, the Hamburg commissioner for data protection and freedom of information, in a statement. “It has to be their decision, whether they want to connect their account with Facebook. Therefore, Facebook has to ask for their permission in advance. This has not happened.”

source: theguardian.com, independent.co.uk

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Facebook’s privacy policy breaches European law

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Facebook’s privacy policy breaches European law, report finds
A report commissioned by the Belgian privacy commission has found that Facebook is acting in violation of European law, despite updating its privacy policy.

European commission

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/feb/23/facebooks-privacy-policy-breaches-european-law-report-finds

Conducted by the Centre of Interdisciplinary Law and ICT at the University of Leuven in Belgium, the report claimed that Facebook’s privacy policy update in January had only expanded older policy and practices, and found that it still violates European consumer protection law.

“Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities (SRR) contains a number of provisions which do not comply with the Unfair Contract Terms Directive. These violations were already present in 2013, and they are set to persist in 2015,” wrote the authors.

According to the report, Facebook’s policies around profiling for third-party advertising do not “meet the requirements for legally valid consent”, while the social network “fails to offer adequate control mechanisms” with regard to the use of user-generated content for commercial purposes.

“Facebook places too much burden on its users. Users are expected to navigate Facebook’s complex web of settings in search of possible opt-outs,” wrote the authors. “Facebook’s default settings related to behavioural profiling or Social Ads, for example, are particularly problematic.”

The report also points out that there is no way to stop Facebook from collecting location information on users via its smartphone app other than to stop location access on the smartphone at the level of the mobile operating system.

“Users are offered no choice whatsoever with regard to their appearance in “sponsored stories” or the sharing of location data,” wrote the authors, stating that “users do not receive adequate information” to help them make informed choices where choices are available.

The authors continue: “We argue that the collection or use of device information envisaged by the 2015 data use policy does not comply with the requirements of article 5(3) of the EU e-Privacy Directive, which requires free and informed prior consent before storing or accessing information on an individual’s device.”

Facebook met with Bart Tommelein, the Belgian privacy minister, to discuss the report. The company claims that its privacy policy does not break Belgian data protection laws, according to reports.

Facebook is already being investigated by the Dutch data protection authority, which asked Facebook to delay rollout of its new privacy policy, and is being probed by the Article 29 working party formed of data regulators from individual countries across Europe, including the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office.

“We recently updated our terms and policies to make them more clear and
concise, to reflect new product features and to highlight how we’re
expanding people’s control over advertising,” said a Facebook spokesperson. “We’re confident the updates comply with applicable laws. As a company with international headquarters in Dublin, we routinely review product and policy updates including this one­ with our regulator, the Irish Data Protection Commissioner, who oversees our compliance with the EU Data Protection Directive as implemented under Irish law.” ­

Hard to believe, indeed!


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Why Facebook Makes You Stupid

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We all know that Facebook spreads your private details and knows everything about you. Facebook and privacy do not fit together.

I’ve been guilty of this one before until someone told me to make my check-ins “friends only”. It’s perfectly normal to want to share your intrepid adventures with your Facebook followers but if you highly publicise the fact that no-one is at home, then an opportunistic burglar might come around to your house and become the new owner your TV and next-gen games console.

In the “about” section, there are spaces for you to reveal all kinds of personal information, including your sexual orientation. It also invites an address and phone number to be entered. This is where you really start to get into murky waters.

If there is one thing which Facebook is universally hated for, it’s advertising. Even though they are a public company which needs to make money, people still object to ads which they say is intrusive and “in your face”.

Let’s look at some of the ways that are dangerous to you if you say the wrong thing on Facebook. They’re not “it will kill you” dangerous, but instead dangerous in terms of your reputation, your finances, etc.


You tell your followers that you are feeling down and possibly depressed. Facebook sells your info to an insurance company, and when you try to apply for life insurance, you are denied. On Facebook, you get constant ads about making your peace with God, and making up your will before you go. If you were hesitating about making the final leap, ads like that might persuade you.

You gripe that you have a bad back and you are on long term sick leave from work. Suddenly you get ads about medicine, wellness spas, etc. What’s worse is that your insurance premiums go up. Don’t believe that something like this would happen? It was strongly suspected this year that fitness tracker Fitbit was selling user information to insurance companies, who were then seeing if any of the users were customers. If so, they used the fitness information to adjust the premiums accordingly. Fitbit strongly denies the charge but who knows if they are lying or not? Now if Fitbit is suspected doing it, do you think Facebook would have any qualms about trying the same if the price was right?


You are discussing NSFW subjects with a Facebook follower, while at work. Suddenly you get ads for dildos and sex dolls. The boss walks past and sees it. Suddenly it’s “can I see you in my office please?”. Next step – the unemployment office.

Now these are three things that instantly came to mind. I am confident there are numerous others, and I am sure you can cite some in the comments.

Finally, Facebook is time-consuming and distracts you with absolute useless information. It makes you and especially our children stupid.

You may follow our The Facebook Haters Site

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The Trump Of The Day

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At least Europe had to laugh a lot when Trump the trumpet visited Scotland yesterday.

After he recognized that Belgium is NOT a town, he said on Twitter, that the Scottish took their country back. Uninformed as usual, Brexit = Brain exit, Mr Trump?

Just arrived in Scotland. Place is going wild over the vote. They took their country back, just like we will take America back. No games!

 

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We Are Not Amused, Little Britain

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So you Hools have voted and indeed, a horrible vote. I do not understand you listened to the right winged UKIP, shame on you!

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Do you really understand what happens now? Less migrants? Bullocks, England as former colonial power gets her migrants from her own former colonies. And they are still on their way because they like your social system and because you, my friends, do not want to do minor jobs.

So, my dearest English friends, this is what you can expect within the near future:
 .
– financial disaster, London will lose its importance as financial stock market centre,
– increasing prices for food and energy (and alcohol!)
– corporate insolvencies,
– economic barriers to market entry, products and services market,
– stock market crash,
– Northern Island and Scotland may leave The Kingdom,
– no more access to the police-databases of the EU (Eurodac, terrorism database),
– less tourism, as costs for flights and ferries to the Island will increase (bad luck for Sally)
 .
God may bless you, England, you will need it.
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