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German court rules against Apple data privacy terms

updated 12:07 pm EDT, Tue May 7, 2013

Apple can't ask for 'global consent' for data use, court finds

A Berlin court has struck down eight provisions in Apple's terms of use for data because they violate German law, Bloomberg reports, citing local consumer group Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband (VZBV). The ruling states that Apple can't ask for "global consent" to use personal data, including location information. Previous to the decision, Apple had already signed a binding agreement that it wouldn't use seven of the 15 provisions VZBV objected to prior to the lawsuit. Today's judgment invalidates the remaining eight, although Apple can appeal if it chooses.

VZBV says that German law requires customer knowledge of what data is being used and for what purpose. It adds that Apple doesn't have the right to ask for names, addresses, or phone numbers stored in a person's contacts. The court has moreover blocked Apple from giving data to other companies who want it for advertising, VZBV notes.

Apple has sometimes come under fire for its data practices, mainly location tracking. An ongoing US lawsuit accuses of having collected location data through iOS 4 -- even when tracking was turned off -- and sharing it with third parties. Shortly after the issue was discovered, however, Apple insisted it was a glitch, and later patched iOS to reduce the amount of information the firmware stores.

by MacNN Staff



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