German DPA asks for the removal of Facebook "like" button

By EDRi · August 24, 2011

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Deutsch: [Deutscher Datensch├╝tzer fordert Entfernung des Facebook-“Like”-Buttons |]

Thilo Weichert, the German data protection commissioner from the Independent
Center for Privacy Protection (ULD) – the Data Protection Authority (DPA)
from the state of Schleswig-Holstein, on 19 August 2011 called on website
owners in his north German state to remove Facebook “like” buttons by the
end of September 2011 or possibly face a fine.

Weichert stated that, according to a thorough legal and technical analysis
by ULD, when people use the “like” button on Facebook pages, traffic and
content data are transferred to Facebook’s US-based servers.
“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 personalized – profile,” stated
Weichert. ULD considers that such a profiling infringes German and European
data protection law.

In this case, if the website owners in the respective German state do not
comply with the request, ULD, after performing the hearing and
administrative procedure, may place a formal complaint, a prohibition order
as well as a penalty fine that may reach 50 000 Euro.

“We firmly reject any assertion that Facebook is not compliant with EU
data-protection standards. The Facebook ‘like’ button is such a popular
feature because people have complete control over how their information is
shared through it,” was Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes’s statement.
Facebook admitted the “Like” button could pass on information such as user
IP addresses, but said the data was deleted after 90 days according to the
industry standard.

Having strict online privacy policies, Germany has had several issues with
Facebook lately. German data protection authorities also said Facebook’s new
facial recognition feature was illegal and asked the site to remove it and
delete all related information. They also demanded that network users get
more control over their e-mail address books in the “Friend Finder” tool.

ULD to website owners: “Deactivate Facebook web analytics” (19.08.2011)

Facebook ‘like’ button declared illegal (19.08.2011)

In his statement, Weichert German official: Ditch Facebook’s ‘like’ buttons

Germany vs. Facebook: Like Button Declared Illegal, Sites Threatened With
Fine (19.08.2011)

EDRi-gram: Facebook’s face recognition raises privacy complaints