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German consumer group is not happy with Facebook

App centre, nein danke
Tue Aug 28 2012, 14:48

A GERMAN CONSUMER GROUP has asked Facebook to have a good hard look at its app centre and consider whether it needs to change it in order to stay within privacy laws.

The German federation of consumer organisations believes that Facebook's new app centre violates privacy laws, according to a statement that we used Google to translate from the original German.

"The Social Network gives personal information about users on the App Store on without that users have given their consent," it says in reference to the app centre.

It has given the social network until early September to respond or fix the problem. A spokesperson for the firm told us that it was looking into the report but had no other comment.

Legal action has been threatened if Facebook does not make changes and the watchdog is said to be concerned that the firm is giving away its users' details and information without making them properly aware that it is doing that.

In order to do this it must make how it deals with information much clearer, said the VZBV, and rather than assume that users want to share information it should give them the option to do so.

Katharina Maria Nocun, a policy officer for the German consumer group Consumer Rights in the Digital World, confirmed the details to The INQUIRER, adding that it also sued Facebook in the past after it launched Friend Finder. Although it won, Facebook appealed and the case is still pending.

"Facebook does not notify customers properly in a way that complies with German law. We criticize that there is no 'informed consent' because the notification is incomplete and not very clear. We do not exclude taking further legal steps when the ultimatum ends without a declaration of Facebook to change the settings," she added.

"We hope that the company will try to find a solution that respects the consumer rights and German law."

The Facebook app centre is a relative newcomer and is reckoned to be something of a rival to things like the Apple App Store.

Facebook pitches it as a more social experience, saying that it recommends apps to users based on what their friends have downloaded and and it redirects users to the relevant app store. Facebook launched it in the UK earlier this Summer. µ


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