Bloomberg Law: Privacy & Data Security brings you single-source access to the expertise of Bloomberg Law’s privacy and data security editorial team, contributing practitioners,...
The Berlin Regional Court (Landgericht Berlin) Nov. 19 found Google's privacy policies do not comply with German data protection law (In re Google, Inc., LG Berlin, No. 15 O 402/12, 11/19/13).
“Even if Google appealed the Court's decision, I do not expect the Superior Court of Justice (Kammergericht) or the Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof)--in case of a further appeal--to decide in Google's favor,” Steffen Bunnenberg of Bunnenberg Bertram, in Berlin, told Bloomberg BNA Nov. 21. “The violations are too obvious and the courts are rather strict.”
The court has not made the text of its ruling public.
“The information supplied by Google to users is not precise or transparent enough--that needs to change according to German law, giving users back control over their data wherever applicable,” a VZBV spokeswoman said.
In data protection provisions in the policy, Google says it “may capture device-specific information or location data or, under certain circumstances, link personal data in various Google services,” according the consumer group's statement.
“It was unclear for the consumer where they should consent to the use of their data and in some cases personal data could be used and processed without active consent,” VZBV said in the statement.
Marc Hilber, who specializes on information technology and data protection law at Oppenhoff & Partner, in Cologne, Germany, told BNA Nov. 21 that “under German law, Google needs a transparent and precise data protection policy, which both informs users and requests their consent whenever required--for instance, when cookies are used for marketing purposes.”
But Google is in a difficult position because consent provisions are complex and unwieldy and because data policies refer to several legal areas, Hilber said. “Data-use policies are difficult because several legal areas, like IT law, user rights and data protection law overlap,” he said
“If Google were 100 percent clear in all cases, the provisions in its general data-use terms would become so long and complex that few users would still bother to read them or be able to understand them,” he said.
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