Datonomy attended the event "Datendialog" hosted by Google in Berlin on 24 November, where many interesting speakers discussed the current situation and future of privacy, but also openness. Blogger and Science Fiction author Cory Doctorow described the current situation of many free internet offers as "privacy bargain", in which users traded their personal data for services. The deal, however, would be one-sided and never negotiated. Therefore, Doctorow called for technical measures that would prevent companies from tracking users with cookies and compared the situation to pop up windows, the widespread use of which decreased after Mozilla, as first browser, started offering a tool to block these windows. In his words, cookie managers could be the new pop up blocker. Federal data protection commissioner Peter Schaar said that German data protection law needed to be amended especially with regard to the question of applicable law. If companies systematically offered services in Europeand collected … Continue Reading ››
At a recent roundtable event hosted by theBrusselsoffice of Olswang LLP, Datonomy heard a range of perspectives on data protection issues in the context of social network sites (SNS). Around 50 members of the Belgian Institute of In-House Counsel attended the event. Iain Stansfield from Olwang's Londonoffice set the scene and demonstrated through a number of practical examples what can go wrong for companies that are active on SNS – and further, what can go wrong when they are not active. Besides the risks, there are of course clear advantages of being social online and Iain discussed the need to find a balance between being social on the one hand and complying with the law on the other hand. Christine De Keersmaeker from Olswang'sBrusselsoffice explained what social media do to your Intellectual Property, how they affect trade marks and copyrights and how trademark and copyright holders can deal with the threats of social … Continue Reading ››
Facebook encounters more and more problems with Germany's Data Protection Commissioners. Only last month, the Data Protection Commissioner of Schleswig Holstein, Thilo Weichert, announced proceedings against public authorities and companies in Schleswig Holstein that use Facebook’s Like-Button on their websites (see Datonomy post of 6th October). Mr. Weichert criticised that the Like-Button enabled Facebook to track users even if they had not clicked the button. Now, Johannes Caspar, Hamburg's Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information (HmbBfDI) has conducted an investigation into Facebook's use of cookies, which enable Facebook to recognise its users even if they are not logged in or if they visit a third party website that uses an embedded Like-Button. According to Caspar, Facebook had reasoned that it uses cookies mainly for security reasons, such as youth or password protection. However, the Commissioner claims that this was essentially not true as most functions were optional and only … Continue Reading ››