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German Court Rejects Apple's Privacy Policy

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the privacy-policies-need-more-than-one-button dept.

Privacy 124

redletterdave writes "A German court rejected eight out of 15 provisions in Apple's general privacy policy and terms of data use on Tuesday, claiming that the practices of the Cupertino, Calif. company deviate too much from German laws (Google translation of German original). According to German law, recognized consumer groups can sue companies over illegal terms and conditions. Apple asks for 'global consent' to use customer data on its website, but German law insists that clients know specific details about what their data will be used for and why."

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To be fair (4, Insightful)

Vombatus (777631) | about a year and a half ago | (#43662561)

It must be hard to ensure that every jurisdiction on earth will be happy with everything that you do

Re:To be fair (3, Insightful)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year and a half ago | (#43662565)

It must be hard to ensure that every jurisdiction on earth will be happy with everything that you do

it's not that hard. just go by the german definition.

Re:To be fair (4, Insightful)

Stolpskott (2422670) | about a year and a half ago | (#43662619)

it's not that hard. just go by the german definition.

But that means that leaving your towel on a sun lounger before breakfast to reserve that sun lounger for your sole use is perfectly acceptable!

As with any other internationalized business, though... either you tailor your offering to match the requirements or lack thereof of local laws in each case, or you put together a "one size fits all" policy that incorporates the strictest interpretation of each element of local legislation in individual countries.
Apple and other international businesses might complain about the complexity of either approach, but that is part of the cost of doing business in an international environment. Suck it up.

Re:To be fair (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year and a half ago | (#43662635)

it's not that hard. just go by the german definition.

But that means that leaving your towel on a sun lounger before breakfast to reserve that sun lounger for your sole use is perfectly acceptable!

As with any other internationalized business, though... either you tailor your offering to match the requirements or lack thereof of local laws in each case, or you put together a "one size fits all" policy that incorporates the strictest interpretation of each element of local legislation in individual countries.
Apple and other international businesses might complain about the complexity of either approach, but that is part of the cost of doing business in an international environment. Suck it up.

I meant german domestic definitions. What Apple has been going so far quite widely has been the Germans Abroad definitions.

Re:To be fair (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43663481)

it's not that hard. just go by the german definition.

But that means that leaving your towel on a sun lounger before breakfast to reserve that sun lounger for your sole use is perfectly acceptable!

As with any other internationalized business, though... either you tailor your offering to match the requirements or lack thereof of local laws in each case, or you put together a "one size fits all" policy that incorporates the strictest interpretation of each element of local legislation in individual countries.
Apple and other international businesses might complain about the complexity of either approach, but that is part of the cost of doing business in an international environment. Suck it up.

I meant german domestic definitions. What Apple has been going so far quite widely has been the Germans Abroad definitions.

You are also assuming that everybody is the kind of person who frequents cheesy mass tourism shit-holes in the Balearics.

Re:To be fair (2)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year and a half ago | (#43662761)

As with any other internationalized business, though... either you tailor your offering to match the requirements or lack thereof of local laws in each case, or you put together a "one size fits all" policy that incorporates the strictest interpretation of each element of local legislation in individual countries.

Yes, web sites need to be careful what they show in different countries. For example, a photo in the "Victoria's Secretions" catalog might be harmless in Europe, but get your balls amputated in a Muslim Brotherhood 'hood.

I noticed that WebSphere Portal Server actually has some configuration stuff, so that you can block pages for specific areas.

Re:To be fair (1)

Gonoff (88518) | about a year and a half ago | (#43663749)

It must be hard to ensure that every jurisdiction on earth will be happy with everything that you do

it's not that hard. just go by the German definition.

Or even any civilised one. Look at EU rules for example.

Re:To be fair (4, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | about a year and a half ago | (#43662613)

You don't have to- you only have to make sure its legal in the countries you sell it in. Germans aren't suing because of Apple violating their law in America, they're suing them for violating it in Germany. If you aren't willing to abide by the laws, then don't sell in that country.

Re:To be fair (4, Informative)

gnasher719 (869701) | about a year and a half ago | (#43662801)

You don't have to- you only have to make sure its legal in the countries you sell it in. Germans aren't suing because of Apple violating their law in America, they're suing them for violating it in Germany. If you aren't willing to abide by the laws, then don't sell in that country.

Germans are not actually suing. They don't need to sue. Parts of Apple's policy have been declared invalid, which means that legally these parts don't exist.

Re:To be fair (5, Insightful)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year and a half ago | (#43662963)

Given that the invalidated parts give Apple permission to do certain things with the data, Apple now has to stop doing those things, or it will be open to legal action.

I've got this one (3, Funny)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about a year and a half ago | (#43663123)

And then governments get the notion to sue, which of course raises messy issues of jurisdiction, discovery, &c.
1. So Apple pays a fine to Germany.
2. Germany bails out Greece.
3. Euro crisis solved. Profit!!!
Screw you, Underpants Gnomes [wikipedia.org] !

Re:To be fair (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year and a half ago | (#43663635)

What about historical law-breaking? Generally speaking the onus is on you to make sure what you are doing is legal, not on the authorities to point it out and then give you amnesty for past abuses.

Re:To be fair (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43663905)

Sure, but if all you can expect to get from a lawsuit is fair compensation (+ lawsuit costs) and public prosecutors are busy with more important things (it's not likely this is the kind of crime they have to investigate) it is rare that someone will sue you for past wrongdoings on this level.
Courts are supposed to be mainly about conflict resolution and preserving the peace (or more generically public good and a bit of individual rights), not punishing mistakes on principle just because they can.

Re:To be fair (1)

thephydes (727739) | about a year and a half ago | (#43662909)

I couldn't have said it better - thank you!

Re:To be fair (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43662667)

It's not hard when you have billions of dollars. Apple is being the greedy and entitled company that it always has been.

Re:To be fair (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43662689)

Yeah. I'm sure Apple just wanted to treat everyone fairly too.

Re:To be fair (1)

flimflammer (956759) | about a year and a half ago | (#43662755)

Sure, but that's not what's happening. They don't exist in every jurisdiction on earth, just the ones they do business in. Maybe Apple shouldn't do business in countries if it's too hard for them to obey the local laws..?

Re:To be fair (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43662813)

As a corporation it isn't hard, they just are not willing too. And come on, this is Apple. You think they'd easily give up control?

Re:To be fair (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43662891)

As a corporation it isn't hard, they just are not willing too. And come on, this is Apple. You think they'd easily give up control?

And, it costs money to have privacy policies updated and policed so they are legal in multiple markets, do they think Apple is made of money?

Re:To be fair (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43662965)

Ahh didums. Perhaps Apple should have learnt a little about German culture and law before they started doing business there.

If you can't obey the laws of the country you operate in, don't operate there or face fines.

Re:To be fair (2)

moronoxyd (1000371) | about a year and a half ago | (#43663199)

And, it costs money to have privacy policies updated and policed so they are legal in multiple markets

You know what I fear?
That Apple does just what you describe: Change the words of their privacy policies, but don't actually change the processes used to handle data.

Re:To be fair (4, Informative)

gnasher719 (869701) | about a year and a half ago | (#43663303)

You know what I fear?
That Apple does just what you describe: Change the words of their privacy policies, but don't actually change the processes used to handle data.

But the _words_ of their privacy policy _is_ what was wrong. Nobody in Germany requested Apple to change its policies; they requested that Apple lists precisely what they do so that customers can make an educated decision whether to agree or not.

Re:To be fair (2)

moronoxyd (1000371) | about a year and a half ago | (#43663619)

No. They expect Apple to follow the law.
The law does not only talk about the wording of your privacy policies, but your actual conduct.

And the OP's assertion makes them the same (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43663689)

The proposition is that they document what they do and let the user know.

If they update their documentation AND STILL DO WHAT THEY DO, then as long as they've documented it, their actions required by this law are ONLY the documentation changes.

The law isn't to refrain from using the customer's information, it's to inform the customer what use they put that information to.

Re:And the OP's assertion makes them the same (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43663835)

It depends what they do exactly.

The EU rules (of which this German law is just the local implementation) also control what you can do with the data, having a policy is just step one.

For example you're not allowed to have secrets about customers (there are some exemptions but they wouldn't apply to a company like Apple). If you have a customer record for somebody and your customer service staff has written "Sucker. Lie to them if they ask about their refund" then too bad, the customer is entitled to see that information, if you withhold it and somebody finds out you could get prosecuted.

And you're not allowed to have known falsehoods. If a customer says some information you have about them is incorrect, you have a duty to fix it, or again you could get fined or whatever.

And you can't keep personal data you don't need, or use data in a way that you didn't mention. For example if you say "We may keep your telephone number and email address in order to contact you during the lifetime of the contract" and then sell them to advertisers or use them a year after the contract expired to try to get new business, that's illegal again.

It doesn't matter what they do. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43664569)

It matters that they document what they do.

Unless what they're doing is illegal, but in that case, it was illegal to begin with, documenting it wasn't illegal.

Re:And the OP's assertion makes them the same (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43663927)

It also limits what they _will/can do_ in the future. Also there are limits to what they can do, and it is not impossible for them to be sued because of that.
But if there is no documentation on what they do it is a bit hard to sue them because of it, so why take the second step before the first?

Re:To be fair (1)

Gonoff (88518) | about a year and a half ago | (#43663759)

... do they think Apple is made of money?

Not far off. They are certainly made of lawyers which is pretty close.

Re:To be fair (5, Insightful)

hydrofix (1253498) | about a year and a half ago | (#43662905)

Err.. The European privacy laws are pretty much common sense. Just consider that people have the right to know what personal information is stored of them. If you are open about what information you collect, you should have no problem. But if you want to obscure what information you collect or collect more information than you openly admit, you are going to have a bad time.

Re:To be fair (0)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year and a half ago | (#43663421)

Err.. The European privacy laws are pretty much common sense. Just consider that people have the right to know what personal information is stored of them.

Well, how on Earth could anyone deny them this right? If you or your system is sending me personal information, then you can assume it's been stored somewhere, multiple times, and will be used for whatever purpose forever, and can't be deleted. THAT'S common sense. In fact, do a traceroute then maybe get even more irrationally incensed that there are intermediary router owners who can see and possibly store everything you sent and you never even agreed to their "privacy" policy. If it gets transmitted in the clear, consider it stored and used for ANY purpose. If you don't like it, then use common sense and GTFO the Internet, or at leas use encryption. It would be like sending a message on a post card then getting mad that people can see what you wrote, copy it, and do whatever they want with the copy. Doesn't make any sense to me.

I understand the issue and concerns, and I do my best to inform folks what i plan to do with their data, but it's just not in anyone's power to actually comply with the EU privacy regulations at all times. Hire a sky-writer, give them some data to deliver a message to a friend, then demand the sky writer give you a list of all the people who read the message in the sky.... Make a law that requires they tell you where that data is and all parties that could have it, and what they're doing with it? That's what you call "common sense"? Your "right" to know where your data is stored ends at the first router hop outside your ISP on its way to my server. For being supposedly made of "pretty much common sense", the European privacy laws sure don't seem to exhibit much at all to me.

Re:To be fair (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43663449)

Your analogy sucks.

Apple currently reserve the rights to snatch information that you never intended to send over the Internet form your phone and use it for whatever reasons without telling you.
The German law says that they can't do that without telling you.

Re:To be fair (4, Insightful)

soccerisgod (585710) | about a year and a half ago | (#43663511)

Strawman. You're not responsible for what happens with the data in transit to you, but you are responsible for a) what data you take from your customer (via app on the phone, for instance, reading out the phonebook) and you are responsible for what you do with the data once it has arrived at your end.

Actually, that's wrong. If you are sending the data from your application on the user's device to yourself, you're also responsible for what happens in transit: You could easily crypt the information.

Re:To be fair (4, Informative)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year and a half ago | (#43663645)

If you or your system is sending me personal information, then you can assume it's been stored somewhere, multiple times, and will be used for whatever purpose forever, and can't be deleted.

The EU and most member states have strict laws forbidding that. You have to justify storing any personal data, there are limits on what you can do with it, you can't keep it forever and must delete it under certain circumstances.

If it gets transmitted in the clear, consider it stored and used for ANY purpose.

In both the EU and US that would render the intermediate nodes routing the traffic liable for its content. In order to avoid liability they must not use the data in any way, merely pass it along.

It would be like sending a message on a post card then getting mad that people can see what you wrote, copy it, and do whatever they want with the copy.

It is actually illegal to open sealed envelopes not addressed to yourself here. That's why most banks don't send statements on the back of a postcard.

Re:To be fair (1)

xelah (176252) | about a year and a half ago | (#43663713)

Just because it's always possible someone is behaving illegally doesn't mean that people should accept this and not use legal means to attack it and those who do it.

It would be like sending a message on a post card then getting mad that people can see what you wrote, copy it, and do whatever they want with the copy.

Or, how about getting mad when you walk down the street without so much as basic body-armour and someone shoots you? None of this excuses illegal behaviour.

You're hopelessly confused (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year and a half ago | (#43663757)

The rules in question don't apply specifically to the internet. If you give an organisation your information, and they store it (relaying the information doesn't count), they have to properly represent what that information will be used for. This is to allow the individual to make an informed decision as to whether or not to perform that exchange of information.

Encrypting the information on the way to the organisation doesn't make a blind bit of difference to that, so I'm not sure why you brought that up.

Re:To be fair (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43663763)

It may come as a shock, but the whole purpose of law it to define a distinction of allowed/disallowed, and this is not the same as possible/impossible.

Re:To be fair (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year and a half ago | (#43663797)

Quick question: can I simply take your videogames and publish them on the App Store as my own? They're unencrypted and on the internet, so according to you I have the right to use that information as I please.

Re:To be fair (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43664169)

OK that was a stupid comment. Remember, you cannot copyright FACTS. Facts are things like your login ID, your real name, your physical address, your birthdate, your phone number, your height, your weight, your spouse's name, your mistress name, your kids names and ages, your habits, your likes, your dislikes, how much money you make, the amount of debt you have, etc. All of the things that privacy advocates worry about. None of that can be copyrighted

That video game you want to snag on and say is yours? Copyrighted. Because apparently the bits and numbers that make up that game are a creative expression and not facts.

Re:To be fair (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year and a half ago | (#43664241)

The information that Apple stores is not a set of publicly available facts.

Re:To be fair (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year and a half ago | (#43663913)

Your argument is essentially (from reading your previous posts for context), "they did this on the internet, therefore no law applies"?

Re:To be fair (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43663931)

This argument would perhaps make sense, if Apple had any cloud services that accepted personal information in cleartext.

Re:To be fair (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year and a half ago | (#43664551)

I expect that you fully endorse this [slashdot.org] , then?

Re:To be fair (1)

Teun (17872) | about a year and a half ago | (#43664903)

Well, how on Earth could anyone deny them this right? If you or your system is sending me personal information, then you can assume it's been stored somewhere, multiple times, and will be used for whatever purpose forever, and can't be deleted. THAT'S common sense

Maybe it's common sense where you live.
Within the EU it is without mutual agreement distinctly illegal and Germany is part of this EU, we EU citizen expect our privacy to be respected by the companies we get in touch with, even more so by those we do business with.

Re:To be fair (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43663841)

People have the right to know what information an organization stores *about* them, regardless of where they sourced it from, and the right to correct it. That is how I understand the import of EC directives.

What is missing, is the right to now the source of that information. If I google my name, I get lots of pages about me, and I contributed to very few of them. I do no social networking at all, but I do write books and articles, have a job, friends, colleagues, kids, etc. Basically everything about me, including all photos, you can find on the Internet is sourced from others. Some things are wrong, some things are fake, and some things are nonsensical automatically generated aggregations of data peddled as truthy information about me. What is happening behind the scenes is even scarier.

They manage other things. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43663169)

For example, they ensure that every jurisdiction's copyright laws are protected, by choosing the most restrictive and protective of copyright one and using that version.

Indeed in other cases they insist that USA's jurisdictions are the ones applied to their customers everywhere. Why the hell should I, a non-USian, have to accept terms that are valid under US law?

Hell, they assume that since EULA's are not ruled illegal, they are 100% a legal contract, meaning that they are their own global jurisdiction. Yet nobody complains that we, as customers of many different licensed software companies, have to ensure that every company will be happy with everything we do.

Do we.

Re:To be fair (1)

Saint Gerbil (1155665) | about a year and a half ago | (#43663393)

People are different, laws are local, failing to realise this is bad business.

Its like launching an English website in France, your not going to get a lot of customers.

Re:To be fair (1)

dfghjk (711126) | about a year and a half ago | (#43663597)

It's not "everything that you do", it's something specific and it's not hard when you aren't shady.

Re:To be fair (1)

xelah (176252) | about a year and a half ago | (#43663661)

That's one reason the EU was created. Must be harder still in the US, with so many states. However, you can probably miss some jurisdictions. You probably only need to worry about those places you have a presence, plus maybe the local bullies (eg, the US in much of the 'West', possibly Russia if you're somewhere like Ukraine or Belarus). A western Internet company which isn't targeting or operating in China probably doesn't need to care about Chinese laws.

better idea (-1, Flamebait)

mondovoja (2914901) | about a year and a half ago | (#43662603)

Just don't use services whose "privacy policy" you don't like.

Re:better idea (5, Informative)

AuMatar (183847) | about a year and a half ago | (#43662621)

Why should it be on the people? If the company doesn't want to follow their laws, they shouldn't sell their stuff in that country. By choosing to operate in Germany, they have to follow German laws for products sold in that country. Don't like it, decide not to sell there.

Re:better idea (-1, Troll)

mondovoja (2914901) | about a year and a half ago | (#43662815)

Why should it be on the people? If the company doesn't want to follow their laws, they shouldn't sell their stuff in that country.

It should be "on the people" because some people may not have a problem with policies and may want to do business with Apple anyway.

By choosing to operate in Germany, they have to follow German laws for products sold in that country. Don't like it, decide not to sell there.

The injustice here isn't to Apple, it's to other potential customers. One group of people is needlessly imposing their views of privacy on another group; instead of saying "I don't like Apple's privacy terms, so I don't use them", they say "I don't like Apple's privacy terms, so I am going to prevent you from using them as well".

And what's behind this? Most likely not any real concern about privacy, but attempts to kill business models that German publishers and their buddies in politics don't like.

Re:better idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43662861)

There is this inconvenient thing called democracy. The majority chose the leaders and the leaders made the laws.
But you're forgetting one thing though ... if your privacy is compromised, then you aren't the only one affected, all your friends and relatives are affected too.

Anyway, they should have tried this move years ago when iPhone was rising, not ... now.

Re:better idea (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43662919)

The injustice here isn't to Apple, it's to other potential customers. One group of people is needlessly imposing their views of privacy on another group; instead of saying "I don't like Apple's privacy terms, so I don't use them", they say "I don't like Apple's privacy terms, so I am going to prevent you from using them as well".

Wrong. German law says that what Apple is doing is illegal, so they have to stop or they are going to be fined. And please read again what this issue is about. Apple can very well collect personal data and provide services that use them, they just have to inform customers what they are collecting and for what purpose, so the customers can make an informed decision. Their current privacy policy basically says: "We collect whatever data we want, we do whatever we want with it and reserve the right to share it with anybody". That is simply not allowed and has to change, so please enlighten us where you see any injustice.

Re:better idea (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43663277)

You need to forgive him. He is American, and over there laws only apply to regular people. Not to companies, and especially not to the rich (and Apple is both of those).

Companies can ignore the law all they want, and if someone disagrees, he can stop buying their product.

The whole concept of the law applying equally to everybody is foreign to them. Not that it always work that way in Europe, but it works often enough that we are used to the concept, and don't start arguing against it when it does work.

Re:better idea (-1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year and a half ago | (#43663463)

Their current privacy policy basically says: "We collect whatever data we want, we do whatever we want with it and reserve the right to share it with anybody". That is simply not allowed and has to change, so please enlighten us where you see any injustice.

That is the privacy policy of the Internet at large. You can make all the laws you want, but that's not how the system was designed, and it's fucking imbecilic to assume you can. No Law can change the fact that neither you nor the places you visit control the routers in the middle. Even when the data is encrypted then intermediary systems can pretty much figure out who's talking to whom based only on IP:Port mappings (return ports are fairly sequential), there's some data that I can't control. It's beyond my power. You don't like it, then don't use the Internet. Don't pay to have a painter write your message on a park bench then sue the painter for not being able to comply with the demand to tell you everyone who's read the message and what they're doing with the data.

Don't get me wrong, Apple should try to comply with the EU privacy laws as best they can if they operate there. However, you fuckers need to get bent if you think it's actually possible to comply with those laws at a technical level. Apple is just covering their ass, and probably are doing advertising and marketing graph data with 3rd parties, who knows who those third parties do business with forever, and what of the 4th parties? It's like "6 degrees of separation" is totally lost on you. That's the "injustice". That we should bend over backwards to comply with some ignorant and irrational demands. The Internet is PUBLIC space. Treat it as such. Is that too much to ask?

Re:better idea (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43663515)

However, you fuckers need to get bent if you think it's actually possible to comply with those laws at a technical level.

I am sure Apple devices sold in Germany are very identifiable as devices sold in Germany by Apple. I am sure each device has a unique id. It is not a technical problem to filter wich devices can collect which information but more of a problem of the will to comply with local laws.
All companies will try the shortcuts first before they are told to go the long way around.
It is about business efficiency. (saving a buck if you can)

Re:better idea (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43663545)

However, you fuckers need to get bent if you think it's actually possible to comply with those laws at a technical level.

The iTunes store is very good at identifying and limiting access to country specific content, IMHO it is not a technical problem to comply to country specific terms and conditions.

Re:better idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43663769)

erm, no.

You, fucker, need to stop apologising for law-breakers.

Don't get you wrong? Apple should try...

erm, no.

You follow the law or accept the punishment, fucker.

Oh and lastly, fucker, you may wish to question the effect on your credibility when standing in a public place and blindly shouting out "you fuckers".

Re:better idea (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year and a half ago | (#43663885)

Funnily enough if I want to do business in a public space I have to properly represent what I am doing there, or I can get done for misrepresentation.

Re:better idea (1)

Elldallan (901501) | about a year and a half ago | (#43664083)

Laws do not have to be possible to comply with or even logical, you still have to obey them the same. If complying with privacy laws concerning handling and collecting of sensitive data is impossible or prohibitively expensive the answer is easy, don't collect or handle the data at all, problem solved.
You can't just keep going in the same old track and claim that complying with the law is impossible or prohibitively expensive so you won't bother complying.

Only when the government requires you to do things you normally wouldn't do can you complain that it's impossible or prohibitively expensive.
If the government demands that you climb a 50 foot vertical flat glass surface you can complain that it's impossible but if the government merely says u can't use equipment X to climb up a 50 foot vertical glass wall your option is to either stop climbing 50 foot glass walls or find other permissible equipment that will let you do the task.

Re:better idea (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#43664177)

Apple is just covering their ass

Uh no. Apple did nothing to cover their ass here, and that's why it's about to get bitten. They did not even attempt to cover their ass. They have to tell you what they (not unauthorized intermediate parties, you bullshit prevaricator) are doing with the data, and they aren't doing that. If anyone they're contracting can't tell them what they are doing with the data, then it's gross incompetence and possibly malfeasance as well to share data with them.

Re:better idea (1)

Ardyvee (2447206) | about a year and a half ago | (#43664317)

So in theory they could write: We're going to sell it/share it with [company], and be on the clear? Or am I thinking too little and the other company would also have to state what they do with such personal information?

Re:better idea (1)

moronoxyd (1000371) | about a year and a half ago | (#43664181)

This is a strawman argument.

The ruling is not about connection data like IP addresses needed to establish connections.
This is about the data that Apple collects outside of that: email addresses, contacts, geolocation.

If I use, say, iCalendar, obviously I allow Apple to collect and save the data of my appointments. But before Apple can share this data with third parties, they have to tell me which third parties and what data. This isn't 'the privacy policy of the internet at large'. This is Apples (and Googles, and Facebooks, ...) policy of threating users data as their own just because it is saved on their servers.

There is no real need for these companies to share the data with third parties. They do this for their own benefit (usually ad revenue). And

Re:better idea (1)

Ardyvee (2447206) | about a year and a half ago | (#43664295)

Wait. Enlighten me. You mean I can't write the next: I'll store all personal information you send me. I may sell it, analyze it, share it, simply store it, change it, format-shift it, clean my *** with it, laugh at it, preserve it as my most dear possession, etc? You mean I can't do that?

Because it seems to me that is quite clear on the intent of the company: I may use it for anything. Or you mean companies would have to add to their TOS that they may use it for: [insert long list of things], and update it every single time they come up with a new idea? And IIRC if costumers don't like the new TOS then the company would be forced to delete anything they have on the costumer?

If I'm right... I think that's very bad for the companies. And not a real win for costumers, since most don't bother to read TOS unless there is a headline...

Re:better idea (4, Insightful)

Eunuchswear (210685) | about a year and a half ago | (#43662931)

Why should it be on the people? If the company doesn't want to follow their laws, they shouldn't sell their stuff in that country.

It should be "on the people" because some people may not have a problem with policies and may want to do business with Apple anyway.

Absolutely. Everyone should be free to decide which bit of the law of the land they want to follow.

I, for example, can't see why we are not allowed to burn glibertarians in the public parks.

Re:better idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43663241)

Burn the glibertarians!
uClibc will rule the world!

Re:better idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43662953)

Laws apply to everyone, neither companies nor individuals have a right to pick and choose which laws they will follow. An individuals has a right to expect companies they are dealing with operate with the law and there should be no expectation on the individual to need to check every fact and detail about a company to see whether they are operating within the law. Not to mention if some companies can choose to ignore the law then those that are spending funds doing the right thing are at a disadvantage to their competitors.

Re:better idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43662985)

Whether you like this particular law is irrelevant, every company is legally obligated to operate within the laws of the countries they are doing business in, you don't get to write your own laws or terms of use that remove rights written into law from said country, allowing such practises is a very slippery slope that leads to atrocious behaviour as it is all down hill once you permit companies to remove your legal writes given to you by your country. Governments EVERYWHERE should always use the full extent of their laws to prevent such practises. If Apple want to argue that the law is ridiculous, that's fine and they should get the people of that country to take it up with the government not just ignore the law.

Re:better idea (3, Informative)

moronoxyd (1000371) | about a year and a half ago | (#43663233)

It should be "on the people" because some people may not have a problem with policies and may want to do business with Apple anyway.

What's your point?
The basis of the complaint was, that Apple is not transparent about what it does with the data collected.
If they are transparent about it and tell the users what exactly thy are going to do with the data BEFORE any data is collected, they're basically fine.
And then the users who are fine with can use those services.

But Apple, like many other companies, wants to have the right to do anything without telling what they do.

The European data protection laws lay the groundwork for users to be able to decide freely what services to use and what not.
The basis for a free decision is INFORMATION.

Re:better idea (2)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year and a half ago | (#43663331)

But Apple, like many other companies, wants to have the right to do anything without telling what they do.

Hate to be a defender of Apple, but you just took shit out of your butt and added it to the argument.

The issue is that they arent telling what they do, not that they "want to have the right to do anything." These things are not mutual, so you don't get to argue as if they were.

Is it really so hard to stick to the substance here? Seriously.. it isn't... you could bash apple for a week without having to pull shit out of your ass, so why are you pulling shit out of your ass? Every time you reach for your ass, you look like you've got nothing.

Stop talking crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43664021)

If Apple weren't wanting to have the right to do anything without telling what they do, why are they not telling users what they are going to be doing with the data and what data they collect?

Because doing so would limit them to what they say they do. And they don't want to limit themselves to it.

US tendency to data permissiveness (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year and a half ago | (#43664085)

It's more likely that Apple probably has very specific uses in mind for the data, but the US is an anomalously permissive environment with regards to how people's data can be handled and therefore it never occurred to them to enumerate their intended uses.

Re:better idea (1)

moronoxyd (1000371) | about a year and a half ago | (#43664225)

But Apple, like many other companies, wants to have the right to do anything without telling what they do.

Hate to be a defender of Apple, but you just took shit out of your butt and added it to the argument.

The issue is that they arent telling what they do, not that they "want to have the right to do anything." These things are not mutual, so you don't get to argue as if they were.

You quoted the relevant sentence of me. Can you read the last five words of it? They are 'without telling what they do'

So yeah, I did stick to the substance: They want to have the right to do anything WITHOUT TELLING WHAT THEY DO.

Stop reading sentences halfway through, please.

Re:better idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43663437)

What, you think this is some conspiracy? Are you nuts? The only thing i don't understand is how you can think some corporation should have more power than anything else.

Re:better idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43664489)

You've got it backwards. Apple wasn't function in Germany with their privacy policy and a bunch of people got angry at Apple and changed the laws to punish them. Apple is operating in Germany which has established privacy laws, and Apple doesn't want to comply. You are right, just got "the people" and "Apple" mixed up in your statement.

Re:better idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43663255)

This is actually what many companies do when considering entering the US markets . I know several that won't bacause that would open them up to ridiculous lawsuits.

Re:better idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43663523)

This is actually what many companies do when considering entering the US markets . I know several that won't bacause that would open them up to ridiculous lawsuits.

My cousin is a mechanic, he has a friend who operates a business that modifies commercially available heavy duty SUVs and compact trucks for extreme terrain travel. European customers have to sign a 5 page document upon taking delivery of their monsters. The US version of this agreement is over 100 pages and involves over a dozen signatures.

Re:better idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43662639)

Just comply with local laws.

Germany and proteciton of privacy. (3, Informative)

fazig (2909523) | about a year and a half ago | (#43662609)

With organisations like the StaSi and GeStaPo in more recent German history, the protection of the individual's privacy is a serious issue in Germany.
Now and then politicians try to create another surveillance state for example to fight "child pornography", but fortunately they haven't succeeded to enact their crazy laws so far.

Re:Germany and proteciton of privacy. (0)

mondovoja (2914901) | about a year and a half ago | (#43662841)

With organisations like the StaSi and GeStaPo in more recent German history, the protection of the individual's privacy is a serious issue in Germany.

Notice the "Sta" in those organizations, as in "state"? Privacy in Germany has always been a problem of state intrusion into individual lives, and that is still rampant in Germany and voters largely don't care.

All this beating up on Google and Apple is a smokescreen to deflect from the horrible state of privacy in Germany.

Now and then politicians try to create another surveillance state for example to fight "child pornography", but fortunately they haven't succeeded to enact their crazy laws so far.

The German state already intrudes deeply into people's personal lives. On the other hand, in the guise of protecting "privacy", it prevents private organizations from verifying or monitoring its data collection, and it refuses to disclose what it has, how it is using it, or how it is operating.

Re:Germany and proteciton of privacy. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43662939)

What a strange thing to say. It's good that Germany rejects Apple's user subjugating privacy policy quite regardless of anything else.

If anything, corporations will care even less for your privacy. If you have revelations about the German state, feel free to submit a news item...

Re:Germany and proteciton of privacy. (2)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43662957)

Neat defense of Google 'they're bad, but not as bad as the Stasi'

Re:Germany and proteciton of privacy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43663259)

Sadly it is a pretty common defense.
Just look at any article about gitmo or whatever political subject that is the flavor of the month.
There will always be some retard defending atrocious behavior with "Every one else is doing it!" (Meaning North Korea, Syria, Iran or some other of the few places left that still thinks that torture is something that belongs to the future.)
"Not as bad as Hitler." appears to be the way to justify things these days.

Re:Germany and proteciton of privacy. (1)

fazig (2909523) | about a year and a half ago | (#43663219)

The German state already intrudes deeply into people's personal lives. On the other hand, in the guise of protecting "privacy", it prevents private organizations from verifying or monitoring its data collection, and it refuses to disclose what it has, how it is using it, or how it is operating.

Please elaborate.

Re:Germany and proteciton of privacy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43663409)

Ignore him. Broad statements like that show he either doesn't know what he's talking about or, he's writing a series of cookbooks after successfully boiling water.

Re:Germany and proteciton of privacy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43663447)

> Notice the "Sta" in those organizations, as in "state"? Privacy in Germany has always been a problem of state intrusion into individual lives, and that is still rampant in Germany and voters largely don't care.

> All this beating up on Google and Apple is a smokescreen to deflect from the horrible state of privacy in Germany.

I'm well aware you're either a troll or too uneducated or too stupid or too prejudiced to understand what I am going to say, but you did realise that the "current" germany is neither the Nazi Reich nor the German Democradic Republic?
Germany of today has a separation of military, police and secret services that you are unlikely to find in other nations (especially and including the US).
There are laws that protect privacy in a way that is unthinkable in other countries (especially and including the US).

That germany has this kind of laws and this kind of discussion is proof the voters do care. But do not let reality get in your way, troll.

Re:Germany and proteciton of privacy. (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | about a year and a half ago | (#43663543)

Actually, there is some state intrusion, but it may be worse in the US:
http://yro.slashdot.org/story/13/05/05/2329240/former-fbi-agent-all-digital-communications-stored-by-us-govt [slashdot.org]
In Germany, the current government seems to be really eager to install a similar level of surveillance, but the Bundesverfassungsgericht (special court for constitutional issues) has killed the last law that was introduced to make ISPs collect data and keep them available for the authorities.

Right now the next round has been started. A new law was passed that would allow various authorities rather unfettered access to ISP databases, and some civil rights activists are preparing a lawsuit against it.

You do, however, have a point about voter apathy. The two largest parties in Germany really deserve to get their asses kicked for this in the next election, but it is not going to happen over the surveillance issues :-(

Re:Germany and proteciton of privacy. (1)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | about a year and a half ago | (#43663551)

With organisations like the StaSi and GeStaPo in more recent German history, the protection of the individual's privacy is a serious issue in Germany.

Notice the "Sta" in those organizations, as in "state"? Privacy in Germany has always been a problem of state intrusion into individual lives, and that is still rampant in Germany and voters largely don't care.

All this beating up on Google and Apple is a smokescreen to deflect from the horrible state of privacy in Germany.

Now and then politicians try to create another surveillance state for example to fight "child pornography", but fortunately they haven't succeeded to enact their crazy laws so far.

The German state already intrudes deeply into people's personal lives. On the other hand, in the guise of protecting "privacy", it prevents private organizations from verifying or monitoring its data collection, and it refuses to disclose what it has, how it is using it, or how it is operating.

Ok, firstly the Stasi is history so don't try to smear it all over contemporary issues to make some sort of point that only makes sense to a neo-cnoservative mind, there are very few people here who watch FoxNews or whatever the German equivalent of that sewage pump may be for any other purpose than to amuse themselves. Secondly, if you are going to accuse the German state of gross privacy violations name concrete examples (read: more than one) and provide details.

Re:Germany and proteciton of privacy. (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year and a half ago | (#43664043)

Actually the same EU data protection rules that apply to private companies apply to governmental organisations. In the EU in general, the organisations most frequently targetted for data protection and freedom of information breaches are public ones.

Re:Germany and proteciton of privacy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43663105)

s/fight/protect/

What von der Leyen wanted did more to protect cp than to fight it. She and Schäuble should be expelled from the country for their madness.

Re:Germany and proteciton of privacy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43663483)

With organisations like the StaSi and GeStaPo in more recent German history, the protection of the individual's privacy is a serious issue in Germany.

Now and then politicians try to create another surveillance state for example to fight "child pornography", but fortunately they haven't succeeded to enact their crazy laws so far.

And until there is a problem with an organisation like the Stasi/Gestapo in the USA, Americans won't understand what the big deal is with privacy.

It is sad to see it like this, but the American inability to learn from German mistakes essentially means Americans need to be subjugated to the mistakes of Germans' past before privacy will be taken seriously in the USA.

Local laws vs. international standards (1, Troll)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year and a half ago | (#43663015)

I'm experiencing cognitive dissonance; can anyone help me out? This seems to be cheered by posters who say that national laws are a good thing and foreigners should be forced to bend their knees whenever there is a conflict. However, in previous stories I have heard precisely the opposite: local standards are for ignorant redneck bullies who are too stupid to realize that their hillbilly local ordnances should be harmonized with international standards [slashdot.org] . Please reconcile.

I've no time to check, but .... (3, Insightful)

Robert Frazier (17363) | about a year and a half ago | (#43663559)

It would be interesting to know whether there is anyone who holds both of the following positions.

1. The German finding is unfair to Apple because Apple, quite reasonably, shouldn't be required to follow the law of every land in which it does business..
2. Criticising Apple for caving in to the censorship requirements of the Chinese government is unfair to Apple because Apple, quite reasonably, should be required to follow the law of every land in which it does business.

Best wishes,
Bob

Not a sound juxtaposition (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43663917)

It would have been interesting if you'd chosen to contrast two opposite positions relating to the same behavior, but you didn't, you contrasted two opposite positions on two different behaviors, privacy and censorship. They're not the same, and as a result your question sounds good initially but doesn't actually create a logically sound argument.

Since your question is ultimately about consistency, it would have been better phrased as "Should a company have fixed, consistent principles on privacy and censorship, or should it be prepared to modify them for the sake of doing business abroad?" And if the latter, then "Should it be prepared to have its principles both strengthened or weakened on a case by case basis, or just one of these two?"

It's a good question because your two examples highlight the fact that Apple's domestic principles on user privacy are weaker than is required in Germany, whereas Apple's domestic principles on censorship are stronger than mandated in China. As a result, the far more interesting question stemming from your examples is whether Apple should aim for the moral high ground and apply Germany's user protections even in the US, or just aim for profit and hence both improve its offering in Germany but compromise it in China.

Re:Not a sound juxtaposition (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43664599)

There is another interesting question here. Should USA require that its citizens neither breaks foreign law nor its own while abroad.
Say for example that you travel to a nation that doesn't have any laws regarding killing others. Should you be held accountable according to U.S. law when you get back. More realistically, what if you travel to a nation with a lower age of consent than in USA, should you be considered to be a pedophile when you get back?
In both those cases I think that it is reasonable that the foreign nation tries its best to ensure that visitors follow their local laws and that your home nation makes sure that you follow your local laws, even when you are traveling elsewhere.

This can put you in a tight spot if you have a company and your government requires you to provide detailed information of your customers while you are doing business in a nation that is strict about your customers privacy. This is however your problem and if you can't follow both laws then you still have to expect some sort of punishment for offering a service that you know that you can't legally provide.

Re:I've no time to check, but .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43664455)

People who hold point 2. probably also believe Apple shouldn't be doing business with China, period, so there's likely very little interesting there.

Oh but who will make our cheap goods? I hope Bangladesh will make people more willing to consider the true cost of our little gizmos.

Re:I've no time to check, but .... (1)

silentcoder (1241496) | about a year and a half ago | (#43664831)

If you put it like that - it's not possible, however I do hold the both those views - only each have an ammendment you didn't consider "provided they are in line with the international agreement on human rights".

As a general rule (though aside from that) I believe that whenever a company does business in another country, it should be compliant with the laws of BOTH it's parent country AND the one it operates in except where those are contradictory to the point where following one would violate the other (this is extremely rare) in which case the law where they are operating takes precedence.
So by that understanding - because America's minimum wage is higher than China's Apple ought to (in my view) have to pay their Chinese workers the same minimum wage as Americans get.

I agree with the Germans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43663915)

German privacy laws should be the very minimal to start the world over IMHO. Personal privacy trumps anything any company could ever come up with against this. I would like to see all tracking, all non-opt-in data storage declared illegal. Cookies must be 1st-party cookies only - from the company you think are visiting. No third party trackers, anything. People deserve a clean, private experience. No selling of data to third parties, ever.

The Germans have it right.

Apple do no Evil (-1, Troll)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year and a half ago | (#43664147)

Simply evil

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