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German State of Schlewsing-Holstein Declares Facebook ‘Like’ Button Illegal

Facebook’s ‘Like’ button in Germany was declared in violation of the country’s strict privacy laws by a state data protection official on Friday.

“Citing violations to the countries strict privacy laws, the Independent Center for Privacy Protection (ULD) called for all Facebook ‘like’ plugins to be removed in the German state of Schlewsing-Holstein.”

The ULD stated that the Facebook ‘like’ plugin infringes on the Telemedia Act and the Federal Data Protection Act as Facebook transfers data back to the US.

Also, according to Thilo Weichart, employee of the the data protection in Schleswig-Holstein, the plugins illegally tracked users’ web habits. “Facebook can trace every click on a website, how long I’m on it, what I’m interested in,” he said. According to Weichert, all the information was sent to the US company even if someone was not a Facebook member,” reports The Local.

He said Facebook probably used the data for advertising purposes and provided website operators an analysis of user traffic.

In the press release, the ULD stated:

The ULD expects all website operators in Schleswig-Holstein, that they immediately cease the data cascading over her to-use Facebook in the U.S., by disabling the appropriate services. This is not done until the end of September 2011, the ULD will take further measures.

and that,

The maximum height is fine for violations of the TMG at 50,000 €.

Facebook rejected Weichert’s claim and said in a statement that the website’s social plug-ins were in compliance with European data protection laws.

The company admitted the ‘like’ button could pass on information such as user IP addresses, but said the data was deleted after 90 days as per industry standard.

Facebook users remained in “full control of their data” while using social plug-ins, the statement said.

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