German competition authority orders Facebook not to combine data between platforms without consent

7 Feb 2019

The German Federal Cartel Office ordered Facebook to stop combining data from other Facebook-owned platforms such as WhatsApp and Instagram, without voluntary consent. The German regulator has given one month to Facebook to appeal its decision, which was built on a three-year investigation. According to TechCrunch, ‘despite such regulatory action, Facebook is ramping up efforts to tie users from its different platforms closer together’.

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Privacy and data protection are two interrelated Internet governance issues. Data protection is a legal mechanism that ensures privacy. Privacy is usually defined as the right of any citizen to control their own personal information and to decide about it (to disclose information or not). Privacy is a fundamental human right. It is recognised in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and in many other international and regional human rights conventions. The July 2015 appointment of the first UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy in the Digital Age reflects the rising importance of privacy in global digital policy, and the recognition of the need to address privacy rights issues the the global, as well as national levels.

The telecommunications infrastructure is a physical medium through which all Internet traffic flows.

Consumer trust is one of the main preconditions for the success of e-commerce. E-commerce is still relatively new and consumers are not as confident with it as with real-world shopping. Consumer protection is an important legal method for developing trust in e-commerce.

One of the main sociocultural issues is content policy, often addressed from the standpoints of human rights (freedom of expression and the right to communicate), government (content control), and technology (tools for content control). Discussions usually focus on three groups of content:

 

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