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Hamburg To Fine Facebook Over Facial Recognition Feature

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the kennen-wer-uns? dept.

Cloud 195

An anonymous reader writes "Johannes Caspar, data protection commissioner for the German state of Hamburg, today declared he will soon fine Facebook over its use of biometric facial recognition technology. He said 'further negotiations are pointless' because the company had ignored a deadline he set for it to remove the feature. German authorities could fine Facebook up to €300,000 ($420,000)."

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Not enough cash to bail out Greece and Italy? (-1, Flamebait)

AdmiralXyz (1378985) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017254)

No problem, just start shaking down the Americans.

Re:Not enough cash to bail out Greece and Italy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38017266)

I could do without ym face being recognized as well.

Re:Not enough cash to bail out Greece and Italy? (-1, Troll)

BitterOak (537666) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017928)

I could do without ym face being recognized as well.

And I could do without German judges deciding how an American based social networking site should be run.

Re:Not enough cash to bail out Greece and Italy? (5, Informative)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017984)

If they want to do business in Germany, they comply with German law. Not sure what's so difficult to understand on that point... wouldn't be the first time Facebook has had to adjust its practices to stay on the friendly side of the law. Actually, it wouldn't be the first time they've had to adjust their practices to comply with German law, at that. The reason you can hide your profile from search, among other privacy features you've been granted, are because of the orders of the German and Canadian privacy commissions....

Wait a minute (1, Insightful)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 2 years ago | (#38018296)

You have it backwards. If German users want to use a US service, they can deal with how the service works as constituted in its home country. If the Germans don't want to use some service, they always have that option. This is legal fuckery, no more. Typical mommy government idiocy.

I'm no fan of Facebook -- quite the opposite, in fact, I outright despise them -- but again, my answer is not to use Facebook, not to try to tell them what they can or cannot do.

Re:Wait a minute (5, Insightful)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 2 years ago | (#38018502)

What you say would be true if FB didn't actually do business in Germany. The thing is, they do. They have offices in Hamburg, and they also do business with German advertisers, selling the information of German citizens. If they want to continue doing business in Germany, then they comply with German laws. Be grateful. This wouldn't be the first time some American company with no concept of consumer rights has tried to fuck over its customers, only to be thwarted by the laws of a country where they do business, and it certainly won't be the last. Perhaps you should be bitching about the state of privacy laws and individual rights in the US rather than about a sovereign nation enforcing its laws on companies seeking to do business in their jurisdiction.

If they were strictly a US site that happened to be accessible from Germany (like, for example, Slashdot), then perhaps what you say would have merit. The thing is, they aren't, and it doesn't. This isn't really any different from the US enforcing its laws on foreign companies... case in point, Bell Canada has to comply with SarbOx rules, because some of their stock gets traded through the NYSE. This is a company that doesn't have any customers outside of Canada, that doesn't offer service outside of Canada (doesn't even offer service to all of Canada), that doesn't buy services from providers outside of Canada, and that is majority owned by Canadians. By all judgements, they have even less to do with the US than Facebook has to do with Germany, but because they trade on the NYSE, they have to comply with US trade rules, and the only way to not comply with rules like SarbOx would be to de-list from the NYSE. And yet nobody in the US is bitching about that, or the thousands of other examples of foreign companies that have to comply with US laws to do business in the states. Hypocrisy much?

Re:Wait a minute (1, Flamebait)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 2 years ago | (#38019116)


They have offices in Hamburg, and they also do business with German advertisers, selling the information of German citizens.

Easily rectified. Hopefully that's exactly what will happen. Let's see if FB, a company of enfeebled, ethics-free idiots if there ever was one, has the sense to figure it out. In the meantime, Germans can continue to shoot themselves in the foot all they want.

Re:Wait a minute (2)

psiclops (1011105) | more than 2 years ago | (#38018608)

No, you're the one that has it backwards.

For one Facebook is not just a US service.
They have an office in Hamburg.
They have www.facebook.de registered. this is a German owned TLD.
They have 21,880,080 German Users [socialbakers.com]

If i were to start selling greeting cards full of anthrax which i shipped to your country, would you just decide that people in your country should not use my greeting card service?

Re:Wait a minute (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 2 years ago | (#38019086)


If i were to start selling greeting cards full of anthrax which i shipped to your country, would you just decide that people in your country should not use my greeting card service?

Yes, of course. What a stupid question.

Re:Wait a minute (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 2 years ago | (#38019104)

That's a mistake that can be easily rectified. Facebook can, and hopefully will, remove their sub-agency from your country. It isn't relevant to the issue at hand, which is FB is an American operation, not a German one.

Re:Not enough cash to bail out Greece and Italy? (1)

metrix007 (200091) | more than 2 years ago | (#38018580)

How does Facebook do business in Germany? Simply because Germans use it is not enough.

Re:Not enough cash to bail out Greece and Italy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38017290)

Lol yeah Greek debt is the problem when Germany has more than three times the debt of Greece.

Re:Not enough cash to bail out Greece and Italy? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38017296)

Germany actually has industry. It's like how if a homeless bum owes $1000, he's never going to pay it, whereas an upper-middle-class guy with a job can owe $300,000 on a mortgage and another $20,000 on a car and still have a future ahead of him.

Re:Not enough cash to bail out Greece and Italy? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38017454)

That works fine until this upper-middle-class guy's job is shipped over to some third-world shithole nation where the work is performed at a small fraction of the cost by somebody with an even smaller fraction of the skill doing a very horrible job at it. Now the upper-middle-class guy is $300,000 in debt and jobless. Since he was a manager for a few years, he no longer has any technical skills, and there are no management jobs available, so he's shit out of luck. Even if he took that job at Burger King, it'd still take him over 20 years to pay down that debt, and that's without spending money on anything else, and without taking into account the interest! Furthermore, thanks to "Free Trade" and their outsourcing blunder, the company he used to work for will go under in a few months, so he has no chance of ever going back there. He can't even start up his own business, because nobody is willing to lend him any more money given his current $300,000 debt load. Even though he's making absolutely no income, and the interest on his debt grows daily, he still needs to provide food and shelter for his family. He can't sell his house, because nobody else is financially sound enough to purchase it. Even worse, he can't sell his car because he lives in the suburbs where there is absolutely no public transit and the only way to get the basic necessities of life is to drive 20 km into the city. Welcome to America, circa 2011.

Re:Not enough cash to bail out Greece and Italy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38017606)

That works fine until this upper-middle-class guy's job is shipped over to some third-world shithole nation where the work is performed at a small fraction of the cost by somebody with an even smaller fraction of the skill doing a very horrible job at it.

That's more of an American thing, sell out your countrymen - and to a degree, your customers - for higher profits. 'Made in the USA' used to a hallmark of quality, it's now been replaced with 'Designed in the USA. Made in China.'

Re:Not enough cash to bail out Greece and Italy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38017738)

Exactly. Germany figured out how to have a first-world country that can still make things. They're still #2 for exports worldwide. The USA, on the other hand, is going to get worse before it starts to get better.

Re:Not enough cash to bail out Greece and Italy? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38017864)

This is why you rent a house, lease a car, and learn chinese. $300 on rosetta-stone and you can live like a king as a cab driver in shanghai!

Re:Not enough cash to bail out Greece and Italy? (1)

x kepa x (643976) | more than 2 years ago | (#38018098)

Have you ever wondered why can someone get paid less and do OK with it? This in my opinion is the true turning point, WE as a whole should be thinking as one. Forget the borders and nations and whatever. WE need to figure it out. Hell, if half of Africa isn't hospitable for harboring so many humans, maybe the science should make forward for making it hospitable. WE want to go to Mars? If WE are thinking WE can make that place livable, maybe WE should start here on Earth first? Is it normal for anyone to think that the current time period (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_time_periods) we live in is the end of the list ultimate one? Frak that. I'm sure change is coming and for me rather then turning to a God I'm starting to believe the 2012 predictions. NOT the paranoid ones, but the original ones: Beginning of the new age. Still I'm not even sure I can last a year to wait for it. I'll do my best, but shit is dire. WE seriously need an intervention from the higher power (be that God or Alien - I'm picking Aliens on this one). In the end just think about this for a moment: money is a universal currency and is equivalent by the power (be it brain or labor) a person gives. If that translates to an UNIVERSAL currency, if a job in America and an job in India is paid the same... would it matter? Of course not.. It's US ... the HUMANS that made it that way. Borders make us separated... Borders make us get that living somewhere else is a good idea... This is a problem in it's root. WE need to UNITE. - imagine this: Aliens come to Earth. That shit is kinda new to us, but whatever, TV style. 1: They lend in America - "Howdy ho" guns pointed at them, because American are generally scared of everything going on in the World. 2: They lend in Serbia (that's where I'm from) - "De ste rodjaci" - (translated: "Welcome cousins" - lousy translation) hugs all over, thinking "Get us out of this mess, we are now the link to the higher power"... "Jackpot" would say the most. But still the reaction is the CURRENT one. Thinking "We'll stick it to the World, we got our diplomat and his on OUR side, not anyone else". Still thinking about the difference between nations and countries. 3: Anything goes... A lot of envy I sense in everyone's eyes, a lot of WTF going on. Bottom line... WE are still divided. WE still live in multi-national world. The problems WE are having right now are pathetic at least. And still after all those thoughts, it comes back to this: Do your job better then others and live good OR do your scams better then others and live good. PS. I'm veeeeeery drunk. Peace and love, whoever you are. PSS. How do I make the (Enter/Break/Return) - also known as next paragraph here? Blah. block of text. TL;DR. I get it. :*

Re:Not enough cash to bail out Greece and Italy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38018600)

Because people are different, people are individual, but by all means let's force everyone to think and act alike, great idea you totalitarian dickhead.

Re:Not enough cash to bail out Greece and Italy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38017306)

Americans are too endepted to shake down :-(

Re:Not enough cash to bail out Greece and Italy? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38017808)

Want to try spelling that word again, skip?

Re:Not enough cash to bail out Greece and Italy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38017316)

Of course typical social euro mentality....

Re:Not enough cash to bail out Greece and Italy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38017766)

Yep. Mind your own business.

Re:Not enough cash to bail out Greece and Italy? (3, Insightful)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017362)

So what will you whine about when Canada does the same thing? The privacy commissioner launched a similar investigation into this as well, though our fine could be in the several million dollar range.

Re:Not enough cash to bail out Greece and Italy? (0)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017438)

Not enough cash from the high taxes? No problem, just start shaking down the Americans.
 
I am sure someone can come up with something better.

Re:Not enough cash to bail out Greece and Italy? (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017498)

Obviously. Taxes are indeed high, though as long as you keep buying our resources, we won't have any shortage of money.

Re:Not enough cash to bail out Greece and Italy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38017588)

So what will you whine about when Canada does the same thing? The privacy commissioner launched a similar investigation into this as well, though our fine could be in the several million dollar range.

Don't worry, your southern neighbour will invade you in the near future.
Fallout wasn't so off the mark it seems (American annexes Canada to keep the peace).

Re:Not enough cash to bail out Greece and Italy? (2)

SteveTheNewbie (1171139) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017908)

They've already tried that two or three times and failed miserably at it.

Re:Not enough cash to bail out Greece and Italy? (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#38018138)

No. We never levied fines. We gave ultimatums, including blocking and seizing their assets in Canada, and the changes went in.

Re:Not enough cash to bail out Greece and Italy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38017618)

not enough domestic oil left at a price to keep the 'natives' happy no problem lets just invade and takesome one else.
Besides Greece and Italy can allways borrow off the Chinese it's not like any one else is borrowing that money.
 

Re:Not enough cash to bail out Greece and Italy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38017706)

No problem, just start shaking down the Americans.

Yeah, they have plenty of cash [slashdot.org]

please read IBM and the Holocaust (1)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#38018326)

and you will understand why Germans have a stick up their ass about this sort of thing.

Europe (1)

arunce (1934350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017258)

Most european countries can fine facebook if they want.

States regulating Internet (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38017276)

It's silly for one state/province/city/school board to try to regulate the activites of an international website.
The situation is different from, say, a company actually setting up a location or conducting physical sales somewhere.
How is a site even to know whether or not it's sending packets to a particular locale?
If it's so intolerable to Hamburg for Facebook to "do business there", they can always just block Facebook.

Re:States regulating Internet (4, Interesting)

nschubach (922175) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017480)

This happens a lot... and it can get into major overhead. The place I used to work had to go through special hoops to get a workplace training system with questions and answers approved by the German Works Council because we collected a worker ID and could track what answers they selected for questions. We were using it to track what questions were missed the most, but being able to find out what employee answered incorrectly was a concern.

There was also a situation in dealing with Quebec and ensuring that French was listed before English because they have some law that felt it important to violate the alphabetical sorting of language text.

Re:States regulating Internet (1)

The Askylist (2488908) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017632)

I remember having to modify some production reports for use in Germany so that individual operators could not be identified. Not a big deal to do, but it made me wonder what sort of law would allow unproductive workers to hide behind data protection...

Re:States regulating Internet (2, Insightful)

BitterOak (537666) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017966)

Mod parent up! You're absolutely right. Facebook is an American-based company, and German citizens have to voluntarily visit facebook.com, taking them to the American site, then set up an account, and then supply them with information. That American company shouldn't then be hauled into a German court and ordered to restructure it's website to meet German standards. China doesn't like Facebook's model, so they block the website; they don't try to dictate how Facebook should run its business.

Re:States regulating Internet (3, Informative)

boristhespider (1678416) | more than 2 years ago | (#38018122)

Facebook have an office in Hamburg.

Re:States regulating Internet (0)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 2 years ago | (#38018344)

Facebook have an office in Hamburg.

A mistake that can be easily corrected. :o)

Re:States regulating Internet (2)

boristhespider (1678416) | more than 2 years ago | (#38018396)

Yes, certainly. Facebook could pull their physical presence from Hamburg (though that would include any servers etc.), so long as other German states or the Federal Government don't decide to do the same. And if they do Facebook can simply pull their physical presence from Germany entirely and be fine. For whatever reason, Facebook have chosen to have a physical office in Hamburg, so I imagine they won't be too keen doing that (especially not for the measly sum of $400k), but it would be a clean solution...

Re:States regulating Internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38018904)

IMHO if you do business somewhere you have to comply with local laws, the other way around all US companies could outsource their headquarters to some tax heaven, and then claim they have no liability to pay taxes, etc... I seriously doubt any government would tolerate that, so some conclusions are pretty straightforward...

Re:States regulating Internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38018800)

Physical presence doesn't really matter. If you derive revenue from a country, that revenue can be garnished. At the extreme, a country can tell your customers, suppliers and/or advertisers "you can either do business with them or you can do business here; but not both."

Re:States regulating Internet (1)

boristhespider (1678416) | more than 2 years ago | (#38018880)

All true. Someone else commented on a thread below that Germany (or the separate states) could target revenue streams from German businesses paying Facebook for adverts, for instance. I'd guess physical presence does make it a lot easier for you to be pulled into court, and it's noteworthy that the case is being called in Hamburg, where Facebook have their physical presence, but yes, you're right.

$420K? (1)

Joe Decker (3806) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017298)

Facebook's even going to notice that?

Re:$420K? (4, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017308)

They would if it was PER OFFENSE.

Re:$420K? (3, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017322)

Facebook's even going to notice that?

Ok, using that line of reasoning, I'm going to fine Facebook for $400,000. Hand it over Zuckerberg, it's a bargain.

Re:$420K? (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017728)

Facebook's even going to notice that?

Ok, using that line of reasoning, I'm going to fine Facebook for $400,000. Hand it over Zuckerberg, it's a bargain.

He'll probably ask you to break a $500,000 bill.

Which he pulled out of petty cash.

Re:$420K? (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#38018674)

Just send them an invoice. They've grown so fast their internal cost controls won't have a chance of catching you.

Re:$420K? (1)

steelfood (895457) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017696)

They'll be scratching their heads over why they hired a new engineer and why he never showed up for work.

Ignorant question ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38017358)

Excuse my ignorance, but isn't Facebook an american corp?
Why are they somehow held to the law of a different country. More to the point who is going enforce the German law?
Shut down the 'German headquarters' or branch if there is one and just go on with life? Why is the a problem, Is there some kind of treaty that will force them
to pay the fine in the U.S.?

I'm not being a wise cracker. Can someone answer these questions? I'd like to know.

Re:Ignorant question ? (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017380)

If they want to do business only in America, then they can ignore the laws of the rest of the world.

Re:Ignorant question ? (2)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017412)

If they want to do business only in America, then they can ignore the laws of the rest of the world.

Are they doing business in Germany?

Re:Ignorant question ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38017440)

but what constitutes 'doing business' ... is Germany actually going to filter out Facebook without massive backlash from it's own people? I mean Facebook not going to stop accepting or advertising too people who live in Germany.If they have no physical presence in Germany so where exactly to the Germans get the idea they should be subject to German law?

Are Chinese web sites subject to German Copywrite laws? Are American websites subject to Iranian decency laws?

Re:Ignorant question ? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38017546)

a physical office is doing business you blithering idiot.

Hamburg, Germany
Our German office is located in beautiful downtown Hamburg, surrounded by splendid shopping opportunities we are also just few minutes walk from the vibrant harbor area and the most infamous part of town - St. Pauli!
Open Positions
Account Management (1)

        Account Manager (Hamburg)

Ads Marketing (1)

        Head of Brand & Agency Marketing (Hamburg)

Corporate Communications (1)

        Head of Policy (Germany)

Monetization (1)

        Senior Strategist, Global Customer Marketing (Hamburg)

Sales International (3)

        Client Partner (Hamburg)
        International Client Partner (Hamburg)
        Regional Director Europe (Germany & Nordics)

Re:Ignorant question ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38017914)

Way to miss the point. Listen up, moron. The question is, why bother with the German physical presence. The internet is connected everywhere. It just doesn't make sense to me why they want the German physical presence.

Re:Ignorant question ? (2)

psiclops (1011105) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017942)

well obviously they do.

unless someone got really high and started throwing darts a map then opened up offices wherever the darts landed. then forgot all about it.

Re:Ignorant question ? (1)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017410)

You are right... The problem is that Facebook might want to do business with an EU company. At that point things become funny...

Re:Ignorant question ? (2)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017506)

More to the point who is going enforce the German law?

As I posted elsewhere, the court can order German ISPs to block facebook.

lol (1)

DarkofPeace (1672314) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017364)

In other news, Facebook tells Hamburg where they can stick it and Casper disappears under mysterious circumstances.

Its quite simple. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38017396)

No European travel any more for any of Facebooks senior management.
Even if they're just "passing through"

It'll be the same treatment as meted out to the management of European gambling/poker websites who got snatched whilst visiting the US.

Re:lol (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017398)

Are you seriously suggesting that they abduct or murder foreign government officials? Or even that they just ignore the laws of countries that they do business in?

Re:lol (1)

DarkofPeace (1672314) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017426)

not at all. Just being funny at the arrogance of a semi-local politician trying to exert power over this "internet thing".

Re:lol (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38017564)

It has nothing to do with this "internet thing."

It has to do with people in a democracy (Hamburg) in this case, but also Europe in general, passing laws through their representatives regulating how businesses must treat personal data.

If you want to do business in their jurisdiction, then you must abide by their laws. If you don't like it, you can cease doing business in that jurisdiction.

The fact that you are named Mark Zuckerburg doesn't give you the right to ignore the laws of a sovereign state.

Re:lol (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38017628)

It has everything to do with this "internet thing."

Scenario: I am in Massachusetts, in the Untied States of America. I have franchise here.

If you connect to my server in my Massachusetts data center, then you are doing business in Massachusetts. I am not going to burden myself to know the law of every sovereign nation and subnational entity, I am only going to obey the laws of Massachusetts and the United States. If *you* don't like that, *you* can just keep yourself away from my systems.

Re:lol (1)

gnud (934243) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017666)

You know Facebook has an office in Hamburg, presumably to sell ad space?

Re:lol (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 2 years ago | (#38018374)

You know that office isn't what you connect to when you connect to Facebook?

Re:lol (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017680)

That's fine. You aren't advertising in the UK, you aren't trying to do business with me. If I order something from you, and give you a UK shipping address, it's my problem to deal with the import duty, which I have done when ordering from ThinkGeek. But Facebook clearly are deliberately doing business with German consumers and German companies, so they have to play by German rules when doing so. Same as you have to deal with Massachusetts laws, this "internet thing" doesn't make you immune to that, and it doesn't make Facebook immune to this.

Re:lol (2)

DarkofPeace (1672314) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017760)

This isn't all of Germany. This is a city-state. This is more similar to the whole Amazon sales tax issue here in the USA. Jus't because your people access/buy/sale things on a site; does not mean that you have the right to control that site. I'm anti-corporation all the way, I'm just also anti-government totalitarianism too.

Re:lol (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38017814)

My example was predicated on my not having a presence in Germany.

However, if I do have a presence in Germany, then I guess I am bound by their laws. Facebook's simple out is to gtfo out of Germany (or comply with the law)

Re:lol (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38017700)

BUT facebook has business relationships in Europe as well as an office there. They can close it if they wish. Facebook needs to understand that people in Europe want the data protection directive.

Re:lol (1)

silanea (1241518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017866)

Facebook has an office in Hamburg and runs servers in Germany. Any further questions?

Re:lol (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38017782)

The fact that you are named Mark Zuckerburg doesn't give you the right to ignore the laws of a sovereign state.

What if your name is Julian Assange? Or is that a one-way street?

Re:lol (1)

psiclops (1011105) | more than 2 years ago | (#38018670)

What laws did he break that the major US Media corporations didn't?

Also i wasn't aware that he was trying to do business in the US.

Re:lol (3, Insightful)

silanea (1241518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017840)

The office that threatens to sue is not that of a politician but that of the data protection officer of the State (not city!) of Hamburg. This is not about politicians playing web sheriffs, this is about upholding the law. Some of our data protection laws are slightly overreaching and collide with practical IT needs - server operators who fall under German jurisdiction may not even store IP adresses of visitors, so the stock Apache logging settings violate our laws - but overall our personally identifiable information enjoys strong protection. Several state DPO's are taking initiative against things like Facebook's Like button being embedded into websites, and I clearly see this as a good thing.

Re:lol (1)

manoweb (1993306) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017906)

Has Facebook any physical presence in Hamburg?

SIlly goose (5, Insightful)

Joehonkie (665142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017374)

Silly goose, only the government can use facial recognition!

Re:SIlly goose (2)

MichaelKristopeitDad (2488356) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017450)

Exactly. The problem is that banning face recognition just hides the problem for everyone, and so the problem becomes more insidious.

Of course, it is a bad idea to use face recognition by default. But it has the advantage of making people aware of what is going on. Because face recognition is probably available to many organizations today, and they probably currently use it as we speak. So all in all, Facebook raising awareness over here looks like a good idea. Because it's out there. And there's no one can forbid me to install such software and scan the entire web with it.

What's their incentive to pay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38017404)

I don't understand - yeah, 420k is like nothing to facebook, but why would they ever pay? I.e., what can germany do to facebook? Boycott it? So what? Ask the US government to hold up their ruling? It hasn't been declared illegal in the US.

Paying would imply some agreement that this would, could or should be illegal, so facebook clearly has an incentive to fight it. I'm wondering what incentive they have to not simply ignore it. (I assume I'm missing something.)

Thanks!

Re:What's their incentive to pay (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017482)

I.e., what can germany do to facebook? Boycott it?

Order German ISPs to block facebook. Its as simple as that.

Re:What's their incentive to pay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38017614)

If there is a single website in the world that would introduce the unwashed masses to anti-censorship tech upon being censored, Facebook is it. This would be a good thing.

Re:What's their incentive to pay (5, Informative)

silanea (1241518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017980)

Presumably you are not from Germany. Privacy and data protection are regarded quite differently over here compared to, say the US. We had two totalitarian regimes in one century on German soil who drew most of their power from the insane amount of information they collected on individual citizens, and the last few months of public debate have been dominated by several data snooping and retention initiatives by our government and police, and this debate may well cost a few top-ranking politicians and public servants their seats/jobs.

People here regard information about themselves as their property. When Google announced the expansion of StreetView to Germany they brought a shitstorm upon themselves. Take a look around German cities in StreetView. A large number of houses had to be blurred out because of complaints by residents. Google very narrowly avoided concerted legal action from our federal and states' data protection officers. Facebook will have to follow the law or risk being banned. We had quite a few successful social networks here before Facebook opened up to international users. Right now they are barely keeping themselves afloat, but should Facebook be kicked out they would jump to fill the void with a legal alternative.

Re:What's their incentive to pay (0)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 2 years ago | (#38018414)

That's all fine. You know the Facebook servers are here in the US, right? You know you can "opt out" of Facebook by simply not using it, right? Also that Germany can cripple its nameservers, etc., by not allowing access to Facebook, right? (oh, and also that any user can get around that with zero problems) You know that the office in Germany is not what you connect to when you connect to Facebook, right?

Facebook is a scumbag company. Ethical retards. They scam users out of personal data -- that's their entire gig. So the problem here appears to be that you're using them. Stop that. See how easy that was?

Wait, you say you want to use them? Sorry, I didn't realize you were idiots.

Re:What's their incentive to pay (1)

BlueCoder (223005) | more than 2 years ago | (#38018006)

It's nearly impossible to block internet traffic unless you prohibit encryption and even then there is stenography(where you hide data in other data).

Block a domain name? Well there are alternative name servers.. very easy to setup. You can even mix and match them.

And while any website may prefer a local domain for a country there is nothing preventing anyone from setting up service for people that speak a language... not all German speakers are in Germany and nor are all English websites from the UK. Facebook makes money in ad revenue and clicks. If they pull away from Germany then there will be brokers that will figure out the complexities and arrange ad space for German advertizes that want to reach the German speakers that are more than capable of getting on Facebook. If anything it will probably make the site more popular.

It all comes down to a question of convenience. You can be sure Facebook isn't the only one doing facial recognition for online pictures. Basically what this commission wants to prohibit is pictures on Facebook period because it's the pictures that are the issue and causing privacy concerns.

Re:What's their incentive to pay (1)

psiclops (1011105) | more than 2 years ago | (#38018732)

Yes, complete censorship is impossible, however they are not trying to prevent German users from dealing with Facebook, they are trying to prevent Facebook from dealing with German users.

i highly doubt it will make the site more popular for German users.
I can't see a lot of people jumping through hoops just to connect to a social networking site that all their other German aren't using because they also cannot be bothered.

Re:What's their incentive to pay (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017574)

I don't understand - yeah, 420k is like nothing to facebook, but why would they ever pay? I.e., what can germany do to facebook?

Confiscate assets held in Germany? Including everything in their German offices and all their income going through German bank accounts (such as the fees they charge German advertisers for serving up German advertisements -- sorry, sponsored links -- to German customers)?

Re:What's their incentive to pay (1)

fnj (64210) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017862)

All right, but why do they even have offices in Germany? Or any other country foreign to their home country? What does it gain them? It's obvious how it exposes them. Are they stupid?

How wimpy (0)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017476)

Will Facebook gladly pay on Tuesday for an open faced Hamburger today?

In other news (0)

mr1911 (1942298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017534)

Facebook pulls out of Germany and suspends all German accounts. Johannes Caspar is removed from office when the Facebook-deprived masses start rioting in the streets.

Typical slashdot bullshit comment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38017584)

When do companies ever make a stand like that?
Oh right, never. Facebook will just adapt their service.

Re:Typical slashdot bullshit comment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38017726)

Well, Amazon killed its affiliate program for a number of US states when they went broke and tried to rob the company. And I seem to remember google left china, no?

Re:In other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38017616)

That might actually the best thing that could happen.
Facebook is a total waste of time

Re:In other news (5, Insightful)

psiclops (1011105) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017912)

Yes, I'm going to riot in the streets because some company based in another country has decided to stop doing business with people in my country.

"what do we want", "Legal immunity for overseas corporations" "when do we want it" "NOW!"

Re:In other news (1)

Bucky24 (1943328) | more than 2 years ago | (#38018868)

Well first of all I really doubt FB would suspect all German accounts. Remember, to them customers are products. Though I can see Facebook users rioting... Some undoubtedly would figure out ways around the block. It would advance proxy technology by a decade :D

so if i read this right (1)

Eponymous Hero (2090636) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017888)

the cost of using biometric facial recognition technology on facebook in germany is about 300k euros.

Re:so if i read this right (1)

psiclops (1011105) | more than 2 years ago | (#38018102)

I dunno, but i don't think paying a fine for breaking a law makes it okay to continue breaking that law forever.

Who Do You Think That You Are? (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 2 years ago | (#38017898)

Who do you think you are, Johannes Caspar? Facebook doesn't respond to anyone else complaining about their high-handed actions, so why should they respond to you?

Re:Who Do You Think That You Are? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38018064)

The guy who can hand out fines of 100ks of euros? Sure Facebook will have no problem affording some of those fines, but if he can keep them coming then it will start to hurt.

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