A pioneering decision was published today by the German Antitrust Office (Bundeskartellamt). The decision states that Facebook must have the consent of the user before collecting data outside of the social network.
German regulators have ruled that the use of Facebook's additional services such as WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook Analytics and social buttons in general on every web site and collecting data from users even when they do not use the social network, is illegal and should be banned for fair competition between technology companies.
Bundeskartellamt executives reported that Facebook could continue to collect data from each service but should store them separately so they can not merge with existing Facebook profiles unless the company has the express endorsement of the end user .
Facebook vs Bundeskartellamt
"In the future, FaceBook will no longer be able to force its users to agree to virtually unlimited data collection and outsourcing outside of FaceBook," said Andreas Mundt, President of Bundeskartellamt ().EN/DE).
"The combination of data from different sources makes it essential that Facebook is able to create a unique database for each individual user and thus gain market power," Mundt added.
The Bundeskartellamt has published an essay (PDF) that describes their findings in detail and how unlimited data collection by social network users helped the company to win competition over the years, allowing it to create a dominant position almost impossible to overcome by others in Buy.
The above report is the result of a nearly three-year survey of data collection practices that Facebok uses.
“We have been working with the Bundeskartellamt for almost three years and will continue our discussions. We disagree with their conclusions and intend to appeal to people in Germany to continue to benefit fully from all our services. " he said today Facebook.
Facebok claims that its data collection practices are covered by privacy laws and the new EU GDPR Directive. But it does not mention anything about antitrust law.
FaceBook has a month to appeal the ruling to a German court. The Bundeskartellamt decision at present has no legal authority. According to the service report, Bundeskartellamt would like Facebook to have "an implementation plan" to address these issues.
However, if FaceBook does not comply, "Bundeskartellamt decisions can be implemented through certain legal measures," the report said.
“These include the possibility of imposing a fine (10% of annual turnover) or periodic fines (maximum of EUR 10 million per penalty) which may be imposed at specified times.