Apple ordered by German court to change its privacy rules

The iPhone maker can no longer ask for "global consent" to use customer information or tap in to location-based data. But the court ruling applies only to Germany.

Apple has to amend its customer privacy policies in Germany following a court ruling issued Tuesday.

The Berlin Regional Court found that 8 of the 15 clauses in Apple's data use policy were invalid because they didn't comply with German law. Specifically, the company is no longer allowed to request "global consent" to use customer data, which gives it carte blanche to use any information. Further, Apple cannot use location-based data to target specific products and services to consumers based on their location.

The court also found that Apple cannot request the names, addresses, e-mail addresses, and phone numbers of users' contacts.

The ruling, which, naturally, is written in German, provides full details on the court's decision. German consumer rights group VZBV, which filed the lawsuit against Apple, also announced the decision on its Web site.

A Google translated version of the VZBV's announcement said that "according to the ruling, the regulations unduly disadvantaged consumers because they violated fundamental principles of the German data protection law."

Even before the suit was filed, Apple had already agreed not to use 7 of the 15 clauses that prompted VZBV to take legal action, according to Bloomberg.

The ruling applies only to Germany. However, Apple is currently up against a privacy lawsuit in the United States . Filed in 2011, the suit charges that Apple violated privacy laws by keeping a log of the locations of iPhone users even if they had turned off the location feature on their devices.

(Via Bloomberg)

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.

 

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