March 18, 2019

German Watchdog plans to order Facebook to stop unethical gathering of user data

German Watchdog plans to order Facebook to stop unethical gathering of user data



Germany’s Federal Cartel Office, a technology watchdog organization plans to order Facebook to stop gathering user data. The report was first made by a newspaper on Sunday.


The organization has been investigating Facebook since 2015 in which time it has concluded the social media giant have abused its market dominance to collect user data with their consent.


The Bild am Sonntag newspaper said the watchdog will present the U.S. company with its ruling on what action it needs to take in the next few weeks.


A Facebook spokeswoman said the company disputes the watchdog’s findings and will continue to defend this position.


The investigation is being closely watched amid mounting concerns over leaks of data on tens of millions of Facebook users. The investigation also covers danger of the use of social media by foreign powers seeking to influence elections in the United States.

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The German watchdog objects in particular to how Facebook acquires data on people from third-party apps – including its own WhatsApp and Instagram services as well as games and websites – and its tracking of people who are not members.


The paper said it is still not clear how strictly Facebook will have to comply with the German order, noting that the watchdog looks likely to set a deadline for compliance rather than insisting on immediate action.

Facebook has been in the middle of multiple scandals around unethical use of personal data it has gathered over the years. Last year, Cambridge Analytica, a research firm was held to have wrongly used data of Facebook users which may have been used to impact the U.S 2016 election.

Multiple hacks also led to compromise of sensitive personal data throughout 2018. Facebook has apologized for such breach in privacy but maintains it is committed to protecting its users. In Europe already, there is a tightening noose on tech firms to act responsibly in how they manage personal data, according to the new GDPR regulation.


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