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Germany court rules against Facebook 'like' button

[JURIST] The Dusseldorf district court [official website, in German] on Wednesday ruled [judgment, PDF, in German] against the use of Facebook's "like" button on an online shopping site, Peek & Cloppenburg (P&C) [retail website, in German], stating that proper consent from customers is required before transmission of their identities to Facebook. The court found [Reuters report] that P&C failed to observe appropriate standards for data transmission and violated Germany's data protection laws giving the retailer a commercial advantage. In announcing its ruling, the court stated that "a mere link to a data protection statement at the foot of the website does not constitute an indication that data are being or are about to be processed." The suit arose out of a complaint from North Rhine-Westphalia Consumer Association [advocacy website, in German] which alleged [press release, in German] that P&C's Fashion ID website had transmitted user data before shoppers had decided whether to click on the "like" button. P&C faces a penalty of up to €250,000 (USD $275,400) or a six-month detention for a manager.

Facebook has faced numerous legal challenges across the globe. In January Germany's Federal Court of Justice [official website, in German] ruled [press release, in German] that Facebook's friend finder feature is unlawful [JURIST report]. In November Belgium's Court of First Instance ordered Facebook to cease all tracking [JURIST report] of users within the country who have not signed up for the social networking platform. In October the European Court of Justice [official website] ruled [JURIST report] that EU user data transferred to the US by various technology companies, including Facebook, is not sufficiently protected. In December 2014 Facebook failed to dismiss a lawsuit [JURIST report] that claimed it scanned users' private messages for the names of websites for targeted advertising purposes. In May 2014 an Iranian judge ordered [JURIST report] Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to appear in court regarding allegation that certain Facebook apps violated user privacy.

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