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Minister calls for internet code of conduct

AFP · 12 Jul 2010, 12:11

Published: 12 Jul 2010 12:11 GMT+02:00

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"We need an honour code ... 10 golden rules – short, sharp and clear," Ilse Aigner told Die Welt daily in an interview.

"Such rules can only come from the Internet community. It would be good if users themselves made suggestions. We could base them on social networks that already have a 'netiquette'.

"The Internet could become the pillory of the 21st century. The trend is worrying," added the minister.

Last month, Aigner, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives, said she would remove her page from Facebook after failing to receive assurances from the US firm that her private data were secure.

"Anyone who visits a social networking site should know that it's a business model. The service is not free. We users pay for it with our private data," Aigner said.

She launched another broadside at Facebook, saying she had become a member of other social sites with better privacy controls.

With these sites, "I can decide to open doors and windows and I can better control what personal information I share with others," she said.

"On Facebook, the reverse is true: I have to go through the cumbersome process of changing my security setting to close these doors and windows and protect my privacy.

"Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg has indicated that in principle, he does not want to change anything. In contrast, his firm wants to use members' private profiles for commercial purposes," the minister added.

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Partly for historical reasons, Germany is particularly sensitive about privacy issues, with campaigners bristling at plans by US Internet giant Google to launch its "Street View" service in Germany later this year.

Street View allows Internet users to view panoramic still photographs at street level from spots around the world, with images taken from specially equipped vehicles.

Officials and campaigners in Germany called the service an invasion of privacy and a potential security risk.

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Your comments about this article

12:46 July 12, 2010 by duckys
This is what I hate most about Politics... if they feel like they don't have control over something... than.. they want to... If you don't like the "INTERNET" than... shutup and don't use it...

Stop complaining about something that is not yours to complain about!!!!
13:00 July 12, 2010 by whatzup
On the other hand privacy is an issue that affects all of us and I'm not in favor of ceding control of my data to internet behemoths without a fight.
13:30 July 12, 2010 by Kayak
"Anyone who visits a social networking site should know that ... the service is not free. We users pay for it with our private data," Aigner said.

The penny has dropped for Frau Aigner. She finally gets it!
14:02 July 12, 2010 by michael4096
the internet is a commons like the village pasture, a national road system and the global environment. Without governance, abusers will always reduce its benefits to less than the optimal for society as a whole - the "tradgedy of the commons". To this extent, the lady is correct

the questions left are: how to regulate? where to regulate (national, global..)? what to regulate? and, how to enforce?

the lady is a consumer minister and not, say, a national security adviser and so her response reflects that: how - user decided; where - globally; what - private data usage; and, enforcement - not clear but sounds like self-enforcement

so far so good, doesn't sound too tyrranical

I question her definition of private data though; if I provide my birthday to a site to share with friends - ok, should be kept between friends - but, if anybody can walk past my front door and photograph it, why should that image suddenly become my private data?
14:22 July 12, 2010 by Canadianhaggis
The Minister looks old enough to know if you want privacy especially on Facebook or a Blog or any site on the internet then do not post private and personal information. Sounds like a no brainer to me.
14:27 July 12, 2010 by majura
Germans + Anally-retentive-fear-of-the-internet = *YAWN*
15:09 July 12, 2010 by vitor
If Facebook does not protect your privacy well, look for a better alternative! The free market will take care of people choosing the right tools to do their social networking. The government should stay far away from these issues.
15:18 July 12, 2010 by danamcmahon
Good Ideas, but invent something. Sometimes you must lead and this creates change. Little pun, "if God had not created the universe, Germany would have invented it. Why we must always be alert and not tarry.
16:52 July 12, 2010 by duckys
I think this also falls underneath the user not being able to use the machine...

Come on... Facebook clearly gives you two options... 1... You have the "Option" to put your birthdate in.. if you choose too... 2... you have the "Option" to have it private... just click on private information... not to hard...!?!?!

About Google maps and earth of taking pictures of your house door... Well... that isn't that one of the many purposes of having a door on your house!?!?! (Now if you have someone in a black car parked outside your house everyday for the last month... taking pictures... well... you might want to rethink somethings...)

Some of data integrity things that have been coming to the spotlight have been a bit bogus and silly... "Don't Forget... the computer is a stupid machine....You tell it what to do..." If you choose to enter your birth date and where you live on a Facebook... Than that is your own fault... nobody held a gun to your head!!?!?

But, I do feel that a beginners course should be offered for everyone who purchases a machine... as there are way too many noobs that mess things up for everyone else!!!!


my birth date is September 27th, 1979 and my username is duckys.... Good Luck!
17:17 July 12, 2010 by michael4096
@majura - germany is 6th in the world for the number of internet users and the other five have much larger populations. Additionally, most of the code driving the internet is open source with more than its fair share of german developers.

Were you aware of this? Or, did you simply feel like insulting our hosts?

@duckys - knowing about the machines is a million miles from knowing about the services provided - which is what this is talking about. There are standards for financial and insurance services to ensure you don't get small-printed to death and I would see this as more along those lines.
20:39 July 12, 2010 by Der Grenadier aus Aachen
I'm a software engineer by trade, and I and my company do write a lot of web applications.

I can assure you, we already know what those golden rules are, and we do tend to think of Facebook as being a idiotic for being such a bunch of douches with privacy data.

I really don't mind the least if those golden rules were codified into law.
21:39 July 12, 2010 by ReaderX
You people crying that you need regulations for the internet are proof positive that some people do in deed need someone to hold your hands through life. How freaking hard would it be to put "made up " data in the stupid forms. I mean for crying out loud if your that paranoid about your dumb birth date then don't use it. How hard is that concept. As for anybody caring about how many people in Germany use the internet and how much of it is coded. written, and or produced by any one population is totally irrespective to the story.

Seems also that a lot of people have forgotten that these social media sites are free.
22:44 July 12, 2010 by JohnnesKönig
this is another story about someone who needs something to do... overpaid and under worked!
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