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Facebook beefs up 'Friend Finder' privacy for German users

The Local · 25 Jan 2011, 08:00

Published: 25 Jan 2011 08:00 GMT+01:00

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The official, Johannes Caspar, said Monday that Facebook has agreed to inform its members that it had obtained email addresses from their accounts and to give them the option of forbidding their usage.

The Friend Finder feature allows Facebook to search potential users and register or even import their entire email address books without notifying them.

If the users opt out of appearing in Facebook's directory, the site agreed with Germany to encrypt their email addresses, so that they would not resurface later, Caspar said.

"We hope to carry out the deal fast and we will follow it closely," Caspar said.

He said he contacted Facebook after receiving letters from German Internet users worried after receiving invitations to join the social networking site, often accompanied by photographs of their friends.

Facebook is the second internet giant to make concessions in a country particularly sensitive to privacy concerns due to gross abuses under the Nazi and communist regimes.

Story continues below…

Germany is the only country where inhabitants were given the choice of having their houses blurred before Google's "Street View" launch. Elsewhere, residents had to wait until photos went online to request their withdrawal.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

10:26 January 25, 2011 by catjones
This is why its called the Father land. Like children, Germans must be protected from outside (read: American) evil by their government.
19:08 January 25, 2011 by Glocken341
If naive American's realized how much of their private data was being brokered without their consent or knowledge, then they would also be desiring stricter privacy regulations.
08:48 January 26, 2011 by Landmine
What cracks me up about Germans vehemently opposing things like this or being photographed in public w/o their permission is that none of them object to being photographed in the act of breaking the law such as when they get blitzed driving.

One would think that would be a worthy argument for privacy but no, no one complains about this and all are perfectly ok. They might not like it, but it is accepted by all. I find that VERY ironic given how rabid they are about their privacy.
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