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Germany Bans the "Like" Button

| 19 Aug 2011 18:26
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Germany does not like Facebook's "Like" button.

Germany is all about the privacy. Facebook is not. Facebook is the antiprivacy, the place where people go to post their pictures, links and innermost vacuity, and where every possible bit of user data is sucked up and fired off, surreptitiously or otherwise, to marketers around the globe. Some governments have stepped in to protect people from themselves - Canada forced changes to Facebook's privacy policies in 2009 - but Germany is taking things to the next level by dropping the hammer on the "Like" button.

Thilo Wiechert, head of the Independent Center for Privacy Protection in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein, claims that data belonging to anyone who clicks a "Like" button on a web page, Facebook user or not, is immediately sent to Facebook's servers in the U.S. "Facebook builds a broad individual and for members even a personalized profile. Such a profiling infringes German and European data protection law," the agency said in a press release. "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 agency "calls 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." Any organization that fails to do so by the end of September 2011 will be subject to a formal complaint which could lead to fines of as much as €50,000 ($72,000).

Weichert also urged users to "keep their fingers from clicking on social plug-ins" and not set up a Facebook account in order to avoid being profiled. Facebook, naturally, denied the claim and said it was in full compliance with Germany's privacy laws.

Sources: SiliconFilter, ABC News

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