A German official in the Schleswig-Holstein district of Germany has ruled that the Facebook “Like” plug-in violates European Union privacy laws and he is going after websites operating in his region who use the button, fining them $72,000 for “Like” button use.
According to the official, Facebook follows a users habits for a period of two years from the time of use, tracking that is used by Facebook to “build a broad individual and for members even a personalized profile.”
Data protection chief Thilo Weichert told the AP:
“Whoever visits Facebook.com or uses a plug-in must expect that he or she will be tracked by the company for two years.”
A Facebook spokesman quickly admitted that the company can see, ”information such as the IP address” of users who visit a site with a “like” button, however they add, “we delete this technical data within 90 days. That is in keeping with normal industry standards.”
It’s not the first time a German official has went after the world’s largest social network, earlier this month another German official begged Facebook to remove their photo-tagging feature due to privacy concerns, Facebook did not comply.
Facebook is constantly under pressure by various governments around the world, however this is one of the first cases I’ve seen in which a governmental agency is going after website users for their part in the Facebook privacy debate.
Do you think this particular German official has overstepped their bounds when German courts have not officially ruled on the Facebook Like button privacy issue?