News Flash: German Regulator Seeks to Restrict Facebook

February 8, 2019

Blog

Bundeskartellamt rules Facebook needs users’ consent to combine personal data from different services

Germany’s federal cartel office has ruled that personal data collected by Facebook-owned services, such as WhatsApp and Instagram, can only be assigned to Facebook user accounts with the user’s voluntary consent. The Bundeskartellamt also ruled that Facebook needs users’ consent to collect data from third party websites and assign them to a Facebook user account. If users do not consent, Facebook may not exclude them from its services, the regulator added.

“The combination of data sources substantially contributed to the fact that Facebook was able to build a unique database for each individual user and thus to gain market power,” said Andreas Mundt, President of the Bundeskartellamt. “As a dominant company, Facebook is subject to special obligations under competition law. In the operation of its business model the company must take into account that Facebook users practically cannot switch to other social networks. In view of Facebook’s superior market power, an obligatory tick on the box to agree to the company’s terms of use is not an adequate basis for such intensive data processing.”

The regulator argues that Facebook’s terms of service and the manner and extent to which it collects and uses data are in violation of European data protection rules. Facebook said it intends to appeal the decision. The Bundeskartellamt underestimates the “fierce competition” that Facebook faces in Germany, misinterprets its compliance with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and “undermines the mechanisms European law provides for ensuring consistent data protection standards across the EU”, Facebook said in a statement.

In January, French regulator CNIL announced it will fine Google €50 million for alleged breach of the GDPR. The fine was issued because Google failed to provide enough information to users about its data consent policies and didn’t give them enough control over how their information is used, according to a report by The Verge. Google has said it will appeal the fine while a Google spokesperson told The Verge that the company is “deeply committed” to meeting the “high standards of transparency and control” that people expect of it.

 

The Bundeskartellamt statement can be found here.

The related Facebook statement can be found here.

Back

Report: Mobile Connect Turbocharges New Services How Turkcell’s mobile authentication service is helping Turkey’s start-ups to grow This case study explores how Turkcell is harnessing the global Mobile Connect authenticatio...

Read more | See all Identity Resources

Identity Hangout: Decentralised Identity – Material The GSMA Identity team was joined by Andrew Tobin from Evernym to discuss the role of identity and the mobile industry in decentralised identity. Presentation Audio...

Read more | See all Identity Resources

MWC19 Barcelona Seminar Presentations The industry seminars at Mobile World Congress have developed a reputation for being one of the leading ways in which to discover the plans and motives of any given market. Below...

Read more | See all Identity Resources

Mobile Connect Platforms & Operations services The GSMA offers a series of technical platforms and services designed to help mobile network operators and service providers deploy Mobile Connect successfully. This document co...

Read more | See all Identity Resources

The Identity Guide to MWC 19 Barcelona With mobile internet traffic accounting for more than half of all global online traffic, the nature of digital identity is changing. Our impressions and personal information are ...

Read more | See all Identity Resources

Presentation: Identity Hangout Delivering Identity Services The first Identity Hangout: Delivering Identity Services on 5 December explored the value and commercial scalability of mobile-based identity services. The online event was targ...

Read more | See all Identity Resources

Biometric authentication is getting stronger – so we’ll be seeing David Pollington, Head of Service Access, Identity, GSMA Biometric authentication has been around for some time but is now becoming mainstream. Why? It’s mostly down to the wea...

Read more | Visit Identity Blog

Digital Identity: if you Streamline it, They Will Come Digital startups face all manner of challenges, and identity is no exception.  However strong the service offering, if registration and login processes detract from the user exp...

Read more | Visit Identity Blog

Flash News: Multi-factor Authentication Gains Traction Report says SMS is the most widely used method of adding an extra layer of security Almost 30% of businesses are now using multi-factor authentication to enable customers to acce...

Read more | Visit Identity Blog

News Flash: Big Names Back Digital ID Start-Ups SoftBank, Salesforce, Microsoft & PayPal make strategic investments in ID innovators SoftBank Investment, Salesforce Ventures and M12 (formerly Microsoft Ventures) all partic...

Read more | Visit Identity Blog

News Flash: Australia Accelerates Digital Identity Push Federal government allocates additional funds for myGovID system Australia’s government has injected a further AUS$67 million (US$48 million) into the development of its myGovI...

Read more | Visit Identity Blog

The Future of Digital Identity is Simplicity, Decentralisation and Con Last year was a complicated one for digital enterprise, with highlights and more bracing moments – and at the centre of that developing picture has been digital identity. On on...

Read more | Visit Identity Blog

Identity Hangout: Controlling fake online identities June 12, 2019 Hear what´s new in the identity space. This Hangout will focus on fake online identities and how the mobile industry can help control it....

Read more | See all Identity Events

Contact GSMA Legal Email Preference Centre Copyright © 2019 GSMA. GSM and the GSM Logo are registered and owned by the GSMA.