German Privacy Regulator Threatens Facebook with Fine

Lora Bentley
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If Facebook can remember these five facts about user privacy, its headaches might begin to fade.

Oh, look - Facebook is in trouble in Germany. reports the social-networking site is facing a fine in Hamburg, Germany for retaining the personal information of individuals without their consent. Not that I'm surprised. Facebook is constantly in trouble or "resolving issues" with regulators somewhere. As one coworker put it this morning, "I think Facebook likes being in trouble."


Maybe it does. But that's another post for another day.


Hamburg's privacy regulators have a problem with the way Facebook's address book uploads and stores information from users' mobile phone and e-mail contact lists. Some of that information might belong to people who are not Facebook users and have not consented to having their information stored.


Johannes Caspar, who heads Hamburg's data-protection service, says the practice is not appropriate. The fact that other social networks do the same thing is no excuse. He said:

That doesn't mean that social networks should be storing data about people who are not members of those networks.

Facebook has until Aug. 11 to make its case to the regulators in an effort to avoid a fine.

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