German competition watchdog opens probe against Facebook

BERLIN -- Facebook's privacy rules are under fresh scrutiny in Germany after the country's competition watchdog said Wednesday it suspects the social networking site of abusing its dominant market position to make users hand over too much personal information.

See Full Article

The California-based company has repeatedly faced challenges to its terms of service in Germany and last week was ordered to pay a fine for making excessive demands on the intellectual property of its users.

"There is a preliminary suspicion that Facebook's terms of use breach data protection rules," Germany's Federal Cartel Office said in a statement.

Facebook rejected claims of wrongdoing. "We are confident that we comply with the law and we look forward to working with the Federal Cartel Office to answer their questions," said Tina Kulow, the company's director of corporate communication for Northern, Central, Eastern Europe and Benelux.

The competition watchdog said its probe is directed against Facebook's subsidiaries in Ireland and Hamburg, Germany.

"Market dominating companies have a special responsibility," said Andreas Mundt, the head of the cartel office. Facebook's collection of users' personal data is important to the company's advertising business and therefore warrants particular scrutiny, he said.

"In order to access the social network users must first agree to the collection and use of this data by declaring their consent to the terms of use," the cartel office said. "The extent of the permissions granted is hard for users to comprehend."

"There are considerable doubts about the admissibility of this practice especially under the current national data protection law," it added.

Last month the company was fined 100,000 euros ($109,000) by a Berlin court for failing to narrow the rights that users have to grant Facebook to use their intellectual property, such as photos and videos.



Advertisements

Latest Economic News

  • Warren Buffet’s company buys into Toronto-based Home Capital

    Economic Toronto Sun
    TORONTO - Home Capital Group Inc. says American investment firm Berkshire Hathaway Inc. has agreed to indirectly acquire $400 million of its common shares in a private placement and provide a new $2 billion line of credit to its subsidiary, Home Trust Company. Source
  • Sears Canada seeking court protection from creditors

    Economic Toronto Sun
    TORONTO — Sears Canada said Thursday it is seeking court protection from its creditors in order to restructure its business. The struggling retailer has piled up losses and seen its stock dive, losing more than 80 per cent of its value in the last year, despite efforts to reinvent itself at a time when more Canadians are shirking bricks-and-mortar in favour of online shopping. Source
  • The Source revamps stores to avoid becoming 'walking dead' in tech retail

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO - The Source is staging a transformation to turn its stores into electronics playgrounds in an effort to boost sales as the consumer technology industry faces pressure on multiple fronts, including big-box retailers and the ease of online shopping. Source
  • Warren Buffett's company investing in troubled Home Capital group

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO - Home Capital Group Inc. (TSX:HCG) says American investment firm Berkshire Hathaway Inc. has agreed to indirectly acquire $400 million of its common shares in a private placement and provide a new $2 billion line of credit to its subsidiary, Home Trust Company. Source
  • Warren Buffet's company buys into troubled Home Capital Group

    Economic CBC News
    Home Capital Group Inc. says American investment firm Berkshire Hathaway Inc. has agreed to indirectly acquire $400 million of its common shares in a private placement and provide a new $2 billion line of credit to its subsidiary, Home Trust Company. Source
  • 2nd wave of softwood lumber duties sets up 'dangerous' talks for Canada

    Economic CBC News
    The other shoe is set to drop for softwood lumber producers Friday as the U.S. Commerce Department is expected to reveal preliminary anti-dumping duties on Canadian imports. Combine this with the retroactive countervailing duties announced in April, and the already-high stakes for trade negotiations between Canada and the United States may rise again. Source
  • Asian stocks rise after weak oil prices lead to declines on Wall Street

    Economic CTV News
    BEIJING - Asian financial markets were mostly higher Wednesday after a plunge in oil prices dragged down energy stocks on Wall Street. KEEPING SCORE: The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.4 per cent to 3,170.19 and Tokyo's Nikkei 225 shed 0.1 per cent to 20,118.25. Source
  • Global stocks lower after oil prices drag down Wall Street

    Economic CTV News
    BEIJING -- Global financial markets declined for a second day Wednesday after weak crude prices dragged down energy stocks on Wall Street. KEEPING SCORE: In early trading, France's CAC-40 fell 0.5 per cent to 5,249.15 and London's FTSE 100 shed 0.4 per cent to 7,413.74. Source
  • Wealthsimple expanding service to the U.K.

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO - Wealthsimple says it's expanding its robo-adviser service to the United Kingdom. The Toronto-based company says an invitation-only trial version of the product will be tested this summer in the U.K., followed by a public launch in September. Source
  • Standard and Poor's cuts Saskatchewan credit rating, cites low commodity prices

    Economic CTV News
    REGINA -- Weak commodity prices and higher government capital spending have prompted Standard and Poor's to downgrade Saskatchewan's credit rating. The agency says it has lowered the rating to double-A from double-A plus. Standard and Poor's says the downgrade reflects Saskatchewan's weakened budget performance and growing debt thanks to low oil, natural gas and potash prices. Source