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German court strikes down Apple's customer data privacy rules

post #1 of 61
Thread Starter 
Apple's customer data sharing policies have been found by a German court to violate the country's consumer privacy protection laws, and the iPhone maker has been ordered to retool the way it deals with some consumer data.

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A Berlin court on Tuesday struck down eight of 15 Apple provisions governing its use of customer data, Bloomberg reported. The provisions had been challenged by German consumer advocate group Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband (VSBV), which celebrated the court's ruling on its website.

As a result of the court's decision, Apple is forbidden from seeking "global consent" to use customer data like location information. Instead, the company may have to specify in each case what a customer's data will be used for and by which programs. VZBV officials cheered the result.

"The verdict," said Gerd Billen, VZBV's executive director, "shows the importance of privacy for consumers in the digital world."

Apple had already signed a binding agreement with VZBV that it would not use seven of the 15 clauses that make up its general data use terms. The court's decision on Tuesday invalidated the remaining eight clauses.

The decision also blocked Apple from giving consumer data to other companies that used it for advertising.

The amount and importance of data customers enter into their iOS devices has grown as the devices have become more popular. The sensitivity of the data gathered by and entered onto these devices has led to numerous efforts around the world to ensure consumer privacy. 2011 saw governments in France, Germany, Italy, and South Korea asking Apple to clarify its use of location data after tests reportedly found that users' iPhones were collecting and storing location information even when location services were turned off.
post #2 of 61

Did they do the same for Google?

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply
post #3 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Did they do the same for Google?

Precisely what I was thinking.

post #4 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Did they do the same for Google?

Huh? Was Google involved in the case? Google has it's own issues with EU privacy for which a settlement is still being discussed. The two cases have nothing to do with each other as far as I know tho I wouldn't be shocked that some issues in Apple's German case also become EU-wide issues.

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post #5 of 61
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post
Huh? Was Google involved in the case?

 

You know that isn't the point.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply
post #6 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

You know that isn't the point.

Of course it's the point. Deflect from Apple and make it a discussion about Google. What other purpose would your post serve?


Edited by Gatorguy - 5/7/13 at 9:08am
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post #7 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

As a result of the court's decision, Apple is forbidden from seeking "global consent" to use customer data like location information. Instead, the company may have to specify in each case what a customer's data will be used for and by which programs. VZBV officials cheered the result.

 

Not sure I would cheer.  Depends on what this decision covers.  For example:

 

Apple depends on anonymous collection of location data in order to build up their database of cell ids and WiFi hotspots.

 

If people have to opt in to allow such collection, non-GPS location services could ultimately suffer.

 

Quote:
The decision also blocked Apple from giving consumer data to other companies that used it for advertising.

 

Need some clarification here.

post #8 of 61
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post
Deflect from Apple and make it a discussion about Google. What other purpose would your post serve?

 

Not, "not refute the point being made about Apple but rather hope they don't hold a double standard because that would be illegal"? Sounds like you'd want to get behind that instead.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply
post #9 of 61

The Germans have stronger privacy expectations than we do in the US. For example here we had no problem with Google Streetview. The Germans do. Those privacy expectations extend to Apple as well.

 

The very broad rights to use and share "non-personal" customer data with anyone for any purpose that Apple tries to claim via their somewhat vague privacy policy doesn't pass muster with them and it really shouldn't be a surprise that it doesn't. The Germans expect a little more transparency on just what Apple gathers, for what purposes and how it's shared. One area specifically mentioned is that Apple can no longer share that German customer data with outside 3rd parties for advertising purposes. Just because it's Apple doesn't mean privacy clarity and expectations shouldn't apply does it?

 

I would guess that Apple is already working on a new and more specific Privacy Policy for the European region. 

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post #10 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Did they do the same for Google?

Don't point out the speck in your brother's eye when you have a plank in yours.
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post #11 of 61
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post
For example here we had no problem with Google Streetview.

 

Oh, don't we? lol.gif


One area specifically mentioned is that Apple can no longer share that German customer data with outside 3rd parties for advertising purposes.

 

Were they doing that before?


Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post
Don't point out the speck in your brother's eye when you have a plank in yours.
 

Talk about irony.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply
post #12 of 61
Can't we all get along?

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post #13 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Oh, don't we? lol.gif

Were they doing that before?
Talk about irony.

It is the epitome of ironic. I thought it was a typo when I read the headline.
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post #14 of 61
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post
It is the epitome of ironic. I thought it was a typo when I read the headline.

 

No, no, I mean thinking Google only has a speck.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

Reply
post #15 of 61

It looks like Germany would be a perfect country to sell a low-cost, no frills iPhone. Apple could then deliver a chopped up iOS that doesn't include much of anything. This should satisfy the German court.

post #16 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

Were they doing that before?

Seems the Germans think they were. 

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post #17 of 61

This question is off topic, and not related to this case. If anybody has an answer, I'd appreciate it.

 

Under German law, is Google permitted to seek "global consent" to use customer data like location information. Or must they specify in each case what a customer's data will be used for, and by which programs?

 

Also, are Google allowed to provide consumer data to other companies that have used them for advertising?

post #18 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by isaidso View Post

This question is off topic, and not related to this case. If anybody has an answer, I'd appreciate it.

 

Under German law, is Google permitted to seek "global consent" to use customer data like location information. Or must they specify in each case what a customer's data will be used for, and by which programs?

 

Also, are Google allowed to provide consumer data to other companies that have used them for advertising?

You already have that answer. If Google does that and doesn't explain any better than Apple does how data is collected and used they wouldn't be any better than Apple and the same rules would apply wouldn't they? It's not as tho the EU isn't investigating Google's Privacy Policies too. So far Apple's problem only extends to Germany. Don't be surprised that it eventually gets the EU Commissions attention too just as Google has.

 

Apple and Google are very much alike when it comes to their privacy policies. Apple has been fortunate up until now to avoid the level of scrutiny that Google gets.


Edited by Gatorguy - 5/7/13 at 10:20am
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post #19 of 61

Google was ordered to pay a fine of €145.000 just last month. They were proven guilty of recording personal WLAN information without permission while gathering all the data for Street View. Also last month, France, Germany and four other European countries filed a lawsuit because of a change Google made to the Terms of Use which allows them to share user data between their different services. The list goes on and on, Google really is getting under fire a lot in Europe and Germany specifically for data privacy issues. There's no indication whatsoever Apple is getting handled any different than any other companies.

 

Also, as Gatorguy said, us Germans take data privacy pretty seriously, each of the 16 federal states even have a government agency just for data privacy issues.

post #20 of 61
So does that mean users will be prompted every time location services are needed? If so, that could be quite annoying.
post #21 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by rob53 View Post

It looks like Germany would be a perfect country to sell a low-cost, no frills iPhone. Apple could then deliver a chopped up iOS that doesn't include much of anything. This should satisfy the German court.

Yes. Actually it would be... but not for the snarky comment on the end of the post.

Real reason: majority of Germans are on inexpensive POG plans using "Smart Phones", not "Super Smart Phones". BTW: this extra "Super" category is starting to be used now more often in German tech media to differentiate the low-spec phones that many people were led to believe were "the same as the iPhone or Galaxy" brands.

On topic: yes... the Germans are extremely vigilant protecting their privacy rights(!). Although a very large number do not have the slightest idea how much data-mining is going on by Google, because it's just too far out their for them to fathom really. They have been led to believe that the government, or specifically the VZBV would have stopped anything even approaching what Google does, long, long ago. It has been rather recent that many Germans have become of aware of what's being collected... and of course... Apple is the worst offender because they make the most profit.... and are inherently evil because of it.

Not going to rag on my adopted country any longer, but they are a rather naive bunch when it comes to computer technology... other than those that work in the industry. Just sayin'......1tongue.gif
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post #22 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by jungmark View Post

So does that mean users will be prompted every time location services are needed? If so, that could be quite annoying.

SJ: No.
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post #23 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThePixelDoc View Post


Yes. Actually it would be... but not for the snarky comment on the end of the post.

Real reason: majority of Germans are on inexpensive POG plans using "Smart Phones", not "Super Smart Phones". BTW: this extra "Super" category is starting to be used now more often in German tech media to differentiate the low-spec phones that many people were led to believe were "the same as the iPhone or Galaxy" brands.

On topic: yes... the Germans are extremely vigilant protecting their privacy rights(!). Although a very large number do not have the slightest idea how much data-mining is going on by Google, because it's just too far out their for them to fathom really. They have been led to believe that the government, or specifically the VZBV would have stopped anything even approaching what Google does, long, long ago. It has been rather recent that many Germans have become of aware of what's being collected... and of course... Apple is the worst offender because they make the most profit.... and are inherently evil because of it.

Not going to rag on my adopted country any longer, but they are a rather naive bunch when it comes to computer technology... other than those that work in the industry. Just sayin'......1tongue.gif

Hmm. . . Apple gets a single ding from a single country (so far) for it's privacy policies and you feel they're being treated unfairly compared to Google? Perhaps Apple isn't being treated the same. That's a good thing so accept it while it lasts.

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post #24 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThePixelDoc View Post

SJ: No.

Good thing you're not SJ.
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post #25 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThePixelDoc View Post

Yes. Actually it would be... but not for the snarky comment on the end of the post.

Real reason: majority of Germans are on inexpensive POG plans using "Smart Phones", not "Super Smart Phones". BTW: this extra "Super" category is starting to be used now more often in German tech media to differentiate the low-spec phones that many people were led to believe were "the same as the iPhone or Galaxy" brands.

On topic: yes... the Germans are extremely vigilant protecting their privacy rights(!). Although a very large number do not have the slightest idea how much data-mining is going on by Google, because it's just too far out their for them to fathom really. They have been led to believe that the government, or specifically the VZBV would have stopped anything even approaching what Google does, long, long ago. It has been rather recent that many Germans have become of aware of what's being collected... and of course... Apple is the worst offender because they make the most profit.... and are inherently evil because of it.

Not going to rag on my adopted country any longer, but they are a rather naive bunch when it comes to computer technology... other than those that work in the industry. Just sayin'......1tongue.gif

The Germans are pretty smart you know. They're more than capable of knowing what Google is up to. They were smart enough to find out what many on here deny and that's that Apple does indeed give your info to advertisers.
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post #26 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Apple and Google are very much alike when it comes to their privacy policies. 

 

Notice he uses the term "privacy policies". Most companies are "very much alike" in their privacy policies. That's because the purpose of privacy policies is mainly to provide legal cover, not to tell you in detail exactly what the company does with the data.

 

The important question is what are the companies' privacy practices, how much do they violate privacy and in what ways. GG would like you to focus on the "policies" not the practices, and with good reason (for him and Google). No one has been caught violating privacy laws as often as Google, and no one violates your privacy in more ways than Google. Ignore the policy, scrutinize the practice.

post #27 of 61

@ThePixelDoctor:

If Germans feel Apple is evil then it's because of the price of their products which are generally viewed as overpriced. An advertising slogan called "Geiz ist geil" (translates to something like "Stinginess is awesome") by an electronics chain store a few years ago has since become a mentality for lots of people. They ask themselves: Why pay €700 for an iPhone when you can get an iPhone-like device like the Galaxy S3 for €500? They don't see the extra value but rather lower their sights to save a few bucks. It's something that bugs me personally but a cheaper iPhone might do wonders for Apple here anyway. 

 

As for data privacy, I don't think the public sees Apple as a big issue yet. They haven't made huge headlines in the mainstream media because of it like Google (Street View) or Facebook (unintentional public Facebook events turned 5000 people rager) have.

 

Overall, it's pretty easy to accuse a company of data privacy wrongdoing. The hard part? Throwing together a solid case with actual proof.


Edited by alex101 - 5/7/13 at 11:22am
post #28 of 61
Can you provide specific examples of this? Links (not from Android Life or whatever).
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post #29 of 61

Examples for what, exactly?

post #30 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by SCProfessor View Post

Oh the Germans are not that smart. They build an overpriced car in South Kaclelaky that gets its parts from the same vendors than supplies Ford and Chrysler. 

Plus they tried taking over the world with a puny underfunded army.
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post #31 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by lostkiwi View Post

Can you provide specific examples of this? Links (not from Android Life or whatever).

There's life in Android¿
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post #32 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Hmm. . . Apple gets a single ding from a single country (so far) for it's privacy policies and you feel they're being treated unfairly compared to Google? Perhaps Apple isn't being treated the same. That's a good thing so accept it while it lasts.

-1
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post #33 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post


Plus they tried taking over the world with a puny underfunded army.

Once we saved all Southern European countries from national bankruptcy, we'll try again, I promise. 1wink.gif

post #34 of 61
Curious cause last I checked apps already ask individually for access to contacts, calendar, location etc.

So it seems like they just invalidated old rules that aren't in effect anymore because Apple voluntary changed the rules ages ago.

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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post #35 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by isaidso View Post

This question is off topic, and not related to this case. If anybody has an answer, I'd appreciate it.

 

Under German law, is Google permitted to seek "global consent" to use customer data like location information. Or must they specify in each case what a customer's data will be used for, and by which programs?

 

Also, are Google allowed to provide consumer data to other companies that have used them for advertising?

You already have that answer. If Google does that and doesn't explain any better than Apple does how data is collected and used they wouldn't be any better than Apple and the same rules would apply wouldn't they? It's not as tho the EU isn't investigating Google's Privacy Policies too. So far Apple's problem only extends to Germany. Don't be surprised that it eventually gets the EU Commissions attention too just as Google has.

 

Apple and Google are very much alike when it comes to their privacy policies. Apple has been fortunate up until now to avoid the level of scrutiny that Google gets.

No  I don't already have that answer. I'm kind of an idiot, so maybe you could just answer my question for me in a straight-forward manner, rather than with more questions of "if" and "wouldn't?" I mean, I didn't ask "if" Google does. I asked "does" Google does?

Your "theoreticals" do not equal "You already have that answer".

Actually, big an idiot as I am, I think your answer is pretty convoluted.

post #36 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by alex101 View Post

Google was ordered to pay a fine of €145.000 just last month. They were proven guilty of recording personal WLAN information without permission while gathering all the data for Street View. Also last month, France, Germany and four other European countries filed a lawsuit because of a change Google made to the Terms of Use which allows them to share user data between their different services. The list goes on and on, Google really is getting under fire a lot in Europe and Germany specifically for data privacy issues. There's no indication whatsoever Apple is getting handled any different than any other companies.

 

Also, as Gatorguy said, us Germans take data privacy pretty seriously, each of the 16 federal states even have a government agency just for data privacy issues.

That's useful / helpful info.

Thanks.

 

 

EDIT: Ok, I just googled "google privacy german court" and found the instance you refer to.

The only other thing that came up under my search is this current story we are discussing concerning Apple.

 

Google case Quote:

 

Google has been fined E145,000 (£125,000) by German data regulators for illegally recording information from unsecured wi-fi networks.

The country’s data chief called it “one of the biggest known data protection violations in history”. But the regulator admitted the amount was “totally inadequate” as a deterrent to the company.

The search giant said it unintentionally collected data including emails, passwords and photos. Google has said it never intended to store the personal data, which had been captured in 2008-10, while the company gathered material for its Street View service.

Under European regulations, the maximum fine for an accidental violation is 150,000 euros - but data protection supervisor Johannes Caspar called for that amount to be increased in future.

In a statement, the regulators said: “Among the information gathered in the drive-bys were significant amounts of personal data of varying quality. For example, emails, passwords, photos and chat protocols were collected.”


Edited by isaidso - 5/7/13 at 12:36pm
post #37 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by SCProfessor View Post

Oh the Germans are not that smart. They build an overpriced car in South Kaclelaky that gets its parts from the same vendors than supplies Ford and Chrysler. 

Sounds pretty smart to me.

post #38 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

Curious cause last I checked apps already ask individually for access to contacts, calendar, location etc.

So it seems like they just invalidated old rules that aren't in effect anymore because Apple voluntary changed the rules ages ago.

 

This is not about what apps do with the info.

 

It's about Apple's policy for its own internal use of private information.   For example, collecting info without explicit approval, even if you just shared a photo to someone's email address:

 

"When you share your content with family and friends using Apple products, send gift certificates and products, or invite others to join you on Apple forums, Apple may collect the information you provide about those people such as name, mailing address, email address, and phone number."

 

...and using location services for multiple purposes...

 

"To provide location-based services on Apple products, Apple and our partners and licensees may collect, use, and share precise location data, including the real-time geographic location of your Apple computer or device. This location data is collected anonymously in a form that does not personally identify you and is used by Apple and our partners and licensees to provide and improve location-based products and services. For example, we may share geographic location with application providers when you opt in to their location services."

 

As far as I can tell, the people's lawyers persuaded the Court that location data was implicitly not anonymous.  

 

I'm not giving my own opinion here, btw, but simply trying to explain the German one.

post #39 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by isaidso View Post

I asked "does" Google does?

Does that mean they does do?
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post #40 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by alex101 View Post

@ThePixelDoctor:
If Germans feel Apple is evil then it's because of the price of their products which are generally viewed as overpriced.

Do the Germans consider the BMW or Benz as overpriced too?
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