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Apple’s privacy policy breaches German data protection laws

22 May, 2013
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This article is also available in:
Deutsch: Apples Datenschutzpolitik verstößt gegen deutsches Recht


The Berlin Regional Court ruled on 7 May 2013 that 8 of Apple’s privacy policy clauses are infringing the German data protection laws and asked the company to rectify them.

The case was brought to court by the German consumer rights group Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband (VZBV) which complained about 15 of Apple’s privacy clauses. The German legislation allows recognized consumer groups to sue companies over illegal terms and conditions. Apple had already signed a binding declaration to stop using 7 of the 15 clauses before the German suit was filed, the remaining 8 being invalidated by the court’s decision. The court’s decision reinforces that Apple cannot use generalised or global consent for how it uses its customers’ data. The company must specifically tell its customers what the data is used for. The court also prohibited Apple to merge the users’ data with other information it has as well as the exchange of personal information with "affiliates" and "strategic partners" and the processing of location data.

One of the things Apple argued in court was that the German law did not apply because personal information was not collected by a branch office in Germany, but the court rejected the argument stating that German consumers were subject to the German Law. The decision is not final therefore it can be appealed by Apple which made no statement in this sense.

Apple is also facing a privacy lawsuit in the U.S. over its information-sharing practices, being accused of improperly collecting data on its customers’ location through iPhones (even with the device’s geo-location feature turned off) and of sharing personal information with third parties.

Apple's user data-sharing takes a hit in Germany after court objects to privacy policy (8.05.2013)
http://www.zdnet.com/apples-user-data-sharing-takes-a-hit-in-germany-a...

Apple’s Customer Data-Privacy Rules Struck Down by German Court (7.05.2013)
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-05-07/apple-s-customer-data-privacy...

Illegal Apple’s data clauses (only in German, 7.05.2013)
http://www.vzbv.de/11558.htm

Landgericht Berlin: Apple's privacy rules are partly unlawful (only in German, 8.05.2013)
http://www.spiegel.de/netzwelt/netzpolitik/landgericht-berlin-apples-d...

 

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