German Courts Not Seeing Eye-To-Eye On Facebook

GermanFlagWatercolor650Facebook is caught in the middle of conflicting rulings by courts in Germany, as a decision by the Higher Court of Berlin that the social network’s friend finder violates the country’s law clashes with an April 2013 ruling by the Administrative Court of Appeals of the State of Schleswig-Holstein, which stated that Germany’s data-protection laws should not apply to Facebook, as its European headquarters are in Ireland.

PCWorld reported that the Higher Court of Berlin also ruled that “several clauses” of the social network’s privacy policy and terms of service are also in violation of the country’s laws.

The case was originally brought by the Federation of German Consumer Organizations (VZBV), and the group said in a statement, as reported by PCWorld:

The verdict is a milestone for data protection in the Facebook era.

A Facebook spokeswoman told PCWorld via email that the company was still reviewing its options.

According to PCWorld, the Higher Court of Berlin and the Administrative Court of Appeals of the State of Schleswig-Holstein are considered equals, and while the ruling by the latter is final and cannot be appealed, the ruling by the former could possibly end up being reviewed by the country’s highest court, the Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe.

Readers: How do you see this German court drama playing out?

German flag images courtesy of Shutterstock.

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