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Aigner warns fellow ministers against using Facebook

The Local · 11 Sep 2011, 13:36

Published: 11 Sep 2011 13:36 GMT+02:00

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In an internal letter obtained by Der Spiegel, the minister, Ilse Aigner, a long-time critic of the privacy policies at the social networking site, had outlined her objections to the other ministers.

"After an intensive legal review, I have concluded that it is crucial to ensure that the Facebook button is not used on any of our official government websites," she wrote in the letter.

Aigner, who said she quit Facebook a year ago protesting its data security practices, added that "fan pages" which users can join to get information about organizations should also be avoided "in light of justified legal doubts."

In the letter, she said ministries and members of parliament should "set a good example and give data protection its due."

German data protection authorities have raised the alarm in recent weeks over Facebook, and in particular its "Like" button with which users indicate their preferences as they navigate the site.

Privacy watchdogs say the information is collected with the aim of creating detailed user profiles, for example for advertisers.

Story continues below…

Facebook said Thursday it would sign up to a voluntary code of conduct in Germany to protect users' data, the first time the site has agreed to such measures in a country particularly sensitive about privacy.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

17:14 September 11, 2011 by expatriarch
Although I am sometimes baffled by Germany and its relationship to computer and information sharing technology; I have to laud this kind of action. People in America and probably the rest of the world are just not fully aware of what is done with their information and identities and who is accessing it. Their blase attitude towards the issue is unfortunately heavily driven by an ignorance bias. Especially in the USA corporations and even Facebook are profiting from what they see as an asset, which should belong to individuals to sell, not for facebook, et al. to do with as they wish. Maybe with things like the Diaspora project that is attempting to build a "social network" that provides the user control over their information, the user can also be in control over who profits from their consumer profile. Something else to consider, it almost seems that Google+ is worse than Facebook when it comes to this type of matter. Although users might suspect that Google+ is a social network it is actually an identity service. They are trying to create a system that will become the official identity of an individual on the internet; essentially creating a self-maintained intelligence dossier on every single citizen that wishes to take part in society. If I am honest, I would feel far more confident of using such a system in Germany or even any other European country than here in the USA, because it is absolutely horrendous what the US government is allowing itself to do behind the boundaries of the physical world. The legal systems of the whole world need to be revised to allow people the privacy they were provided before the internet. The USA is moving in the opposite direction, taking advantage of the disparities between the current legal framework and basic rights and liberties to justify and enact unprecedented public and private surveillance on a scale that makes the Nazis and any other dictatorship or even prior installments of the US government look like unmotivated amateurs. Of course all of this is being wrapped in the flag and security and the "American way of life" and all the other standard nationalist sticks and carrots.
09:34 September 12, 2011 by freechoice
It would be a disaster if the German ministry is disconnected with the general populace. Only through facebook could the general public feedback to the leaderships, they do not have great lobby powers like corporations, which most policies are being influenced by.
12:04 September 12, 2011 by oldWine
Rather than providing the claasified information regarding the work they do in the ministries.Ministers can keep their accounts and share some basic information on the FB. As it is a great way to be connected with the people who voted them in the election.

One who does not know how to provide and share whic type of information on the FB does not simply have the qualification to be an minster or have the sense to be minister.

As I am working as a Informtaion Technologist and having an account on FB for years don't have any troubles with it. As am not sharing where I wrok what sort of customers I have what I do. But make me pleasant as I have found a lot of childhood friends there.

At the conclousion, providing info is up to the users. FB does not add some more info about you until you provide.
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