Facebook wins German case on pseudonym ban

German court says it has no jurisdiction over the social network because its European headquarters are in Ireland.

Facebook has won an important ruling on its ban of pseudonyms across its social network.

A German court yesterday ruled that it had no jurisdiction over Facebook because its European headquarters are in Ireland and therefore, could not offer an opinion on the social network's pseudonym use. The Associated Press was first to report on the court's ruling.

The court's ruling comes just two months after data protection agency Unabhaengiges Landeszentrum fuer Datenschutz (ULD) in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein ordered Facebook to allow for its users to employ pseudonyms . The company has a policy that requires all of its users to use real names.

"It is unacceptable that a U.S. portal like Facebook violates German data protection law unopposed and with no prospect of an end," Thilo Weichert, the country's privacy commissioner and the head of ULD, said in a statement at the time. "The aim of the orders of ULD is to finally bring about a legal clarification of who is responsible for Facebook and to what this company is bound to."

For its part, Facebook has argued that requiring real names protects both adults and children.

The ULD's loss today might not be the end. According to the AP, the organization will appeal the court decision and has stuck to its argument that Facebook is violating the country's privacy law. It's not clear whether its headquarters in Ireland will provide the same protection in a higher court.

CNET has contacted Facebook for comment. We will update this story when we have more information.

 

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