• Germany's news in English

Facebook signs up to voluntary privacy code

The Local · 8 Sep 2011, 15:12

Published: 08 Sep 2011 15:12 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

"We support this initiative towards self-regulation," said the social networking site's director of European public policy, Richard Allan, after a meeting with German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich.

"It can be a very effective way to protect the interests of internet users," added Allan.

Self-regulation is "especially important in the fast-moving domain of the internet," said Friedrich in a statement.

Facebook has repeatedly come under fire in Germany, where privacy is a particularly sensitive issue for historical reasons.

Last month, a data protection official in Schleswig-Holstein declare Facebook's ubiquitous ‘like’ button in violation of privacy laws. Thilo Weichert said websites in the northern German had to remove the ‘like’ button from their offerings by the end of September or face a fine of up to €50,000.

It was not immediately clear if the deal on Thursday would pre-empt such penalties.

Consumer Affairs Minister Ilse Aigner threatened last year to cancel her Facebook account in protest at what she said was the website's reluctance to make its privacy settings comply with German law. But Facebook is not the only technology firm to run foul of Germans' concerns about data protection.

Google was forced to delay rolling out its Street View 3D-mapping service to allow residents to block out their homes from public view.

Story continues below…

With Thursday's deal, Germany and Facebook appeared to have buried the hatchet.

"With Facebook's willingness to sign up for this self-regulation ... the debate over the extent to which German data protection law applies to Facebook has been considerably defused," the Interior Ministry said.

AFP/DPA/The Local/emh

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

18:43 September 8, 2011 by catjones
Blurred buildings remain so into perpetuity even if the original complainer no longer lives there. There's no such thing as unblur, just like no such thing as unstupid.
08:56 September 9, 2011 by freechoice
i noticed this feature recently, whenever you post something on facebook, it actually puts the location where your are posting from!! talk about voluntary privacy, my God, how many people knows how to activate that?
Today's headlines
Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German town, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd