The Federation of German Consumer Organizations has alleged that Facebook’s App Center violates German law. The App Center does not provide a complete disclosure of the purposes for which apps collect data, and therefore does not provide for the informed consent required by law. The group says it will consider legal action if Facebook does not correct the problem by September 4. The allegations follow repeated requests by German data protection officials that Facebook disable its facial recognition software. Recently, the Federal Trade Commission finalized a settlement with Facebook that follows from complaints filed by EPIC and other consumer and privacy organizations in 2009 and 2010. The settlement bars Facebook from changing privacy settings without the affirmative consent of users or misrepresenting the privacy or security of users’ personal information. In response to a dissent by Commissioner Rosch, the FTC clarified that “Facebook will be liable for conduct by apps that contradicts Facebook’s promises about the privacy or security practices of these apps.” For more information, see EPIC: In re Facebook.
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Communications Law and Policy
Jerry Kang and Alan Butler