back to article German court: 'Nein' to Apple 'global consent' on fanbois' privacy

A German court has demanded that Apple change its rules on handling sensitive customer data. The Berlin Regional Court told Apple to change eight clauses in its privacy policy, after the fruity firm agreed to drop a further seven of them. These clauses include an end to "global consent" to use of customer data - which means …


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  1. N2
    Thumb Up


    But why arnt other countrys doing the same?

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      So much for the EU

      I thought privacy laws were supposed to be harmonised, just like voltage and electrical safety.

      Or are some EU states more harmonised than others?


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So much for the EU

        It's ok, vote UKIP and let the US shit all over us. Lets face it, the Tories and Labour will bend over and take whatever they ask, so a t times we do need the EU to step into a bitch fight.

        1. P. Lee

          Re: So much for the EU

          I refuse to accept that we can't manage our own affairs and should therefore hand over power to people other people voted less for.

          I'd rather have a bad policy for a little while than cede powers to Brussels forever.

          1. Ted Treen

            Re: So much for the EU

            We have in fact not hand over power "to people other people voted less for".

            We have handed over power to people that no-one has voted for and who are therefore totally unaccountable.

      2. Drummer Boy

        Re: So much for the EU

        EU laws are harmonised, this deals with data going outside of the EU.

        The DPA (and other EEA country laws) set a minimum standard to allow the free passage of data, within the EEA (not just the EU).

        Having said that certain types of info are more strongly protected in certain countries than others. The data here includes credit card numbers, so (theoretically) also falls under PCI-DSS, which makes DPA look like a walk in the park!!

  2. hungee


    So.. First they must find out the location of German customers in order to know that they shouldn't have that location information...

    1. Remy Redert

      Re: paradoxical?

      Exact user location. I'm pretty sure 'somewhere in Germany' doesn't count as such. Besides, they can track that by ip anyways, no need for the phone to phone home with GPS data for that one.

  3. Big-nosed Pengie

    No sympathy. Apple's approach to privacy is well-known; you use their shit, you deserve all you get.

    1. Paw Bokenfohr

      Because of course Google's not big brother.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I think of google more as a little sister.

        1. Ian Yates

          Extracting bodily fluids from our corpses? Apt metaphor

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I think of google more as a little sister.

          Very apt. Annoying, wants to know what you're doing all the time, might go off and tell your parents things you don't want them to know.

          Sadly, Channel 4 wasn't interested in my proposal for a programme to be called "Little Sister", in which Endemol executives and Big Brother presenters would be locked in a house with a lot of small girls who were allowed to pester them endlessly, until they promised never, ever to make exploitative programmes again.

          1. P. Lee

            Re: I think of google more as a little sister.

            I was thinking more along the lines of Bioshock...

  4. ratfox

    German law requires that consumers know exactly what their data is being used for

    My bet is that just the explanation of how wireless data is used to enhance the detection of the location of the user would take a heavy book to explain "exactly" to the consumers...

    1. Tim Parker

      Re: German law requires that consumers know exactly what their data is being used for

      In German, it will be expressible as one, very long, but very precise word.

  5. Aoyagi Aichou
    Big Brother

    Only Apple?

    Google's or Microsoft's privacy policies are better when it comes to "smart"phones?

    (It's a serious question, not a poor flame attempt)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Only Apple?

      Google are already being battered over this sort of thing.

    2. esque

      Re: Only Apple?

      Non, not only Apple.

      But this specific case was about Apple. Because in Apples case their disregard for German laws could be easy enough proven by pointing to their terms of service or privacy policies.

      I know that Google got into hot water because of their policies here in Germany more than once. And I'm sure they will again if there is enough proof for further misconduct.

      1. Aoyagi Aichou

        Re: Only Apple?

        I see, thanks for the clarification. In that case it makes me wonder why is most countries so careless about this issue. And the media. The way I see it, paranoia is better than lethargy.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Only Apple?

          What I find most remarkable is that Germany seems to be worried about this moreso than countries that supposedly value freedom, like the United States. Maybe the experience of having a dictator rise up and take absolute power within the living memory of some of its residents has something to do with that. I guess people in the US would probably have been more concerned about this if we'd only won independence from the British in WWII.

  6. Mystic Megabyte

    I want control

    I'm going to wait for a pure Linux smartphone. Seriously.

    You are carrying around a sophisticated computer that is sucking all your data, no thanks.

    I'm sticking with my PAYG Nokia C1-01 until then

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I want control

      My phone doesn't run any of the mainstream OSes. If anything tries to read location data, it asks me whether to allow it. The browser isn't Chrome. So long as I don't install "apps" that do who knows what, I'm really not worried. I don't use things like Facebook or Twitter.

      When my phone becomes more unusable than it already is (the browser isn't keeping up) I will almost certainly buy a BlackBerry. I'd rather be laughed at than tell a lot of Americans about everything I do. Not because I do anything I shouldn't, but because it is none of their fruit-flavoured San Francisco business.

    2. Aoyagi Aichou
      Thumb Up

      Re: I want control

      I wish more people were thinking like that. Aren't N900 and N9 both pure Linux smartphones?

      1. pepper

        Re: I want control

        @Aoyagi Aichou

        I know the N900 is, not sure about the N9 but I presume so. With the N900 Nokia was even kind enough to bind the x-terminal application to a shortcut(ctrl-shift-x).

        Its pretty much Debian with a Hildon(desktop) layer on top.

    3. P. Lee

      Re: I want control

      You can use android if you strip the googley bits.

      I'd like to have android and pay nokia for the maps, perhaps wrapped in my monthly fee.

      Encrypt and mirror all my mail from home to a google imap or AWS and off we go.

      For me, google is mostly about always on email and contacts, but I see no reason why AWS couldn't be convinced to run an imap server.

  7. lglethal Silver badge

    I love living in Germany

    Seriously, the Germans are one of the few people in the world who have actually taken the time to LEARN from their previous mistakes. During the reign of the Nazis, and then with the actions of the Stazi, Germans have come to realise just how important personal privacy is, and they will go to almost any length to protect that. Its incredibly comforting to live here.

    I just hope that other countries (Aus, UK, US) dont have to go through their own Stazi years before they learn that Privacy is important...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I love living in Germany

      Does this fine concern for privacy also apply to the German state. Asking just because I do not know.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I love living in Germany

      "I just hope that other countries (Aus, UK, US) dont have to go through their own Stazi years before they learn that Privacy is important..."

      In US/UK your information is cash. Those breedy b*stards are not going got give that up. Fat f*ckers just want to get fatter. If that means selling yuor privacy, then thats what will happen.

    3. Antoinette Lacroix

      Re: I love living in Germany

      It's all fine and dandy when it comes to private companies. However, if the government or a flimsy lawyer is interested in your data, ISPs are ordered to hand it over without real evidence, you've done something wrong. Most judges aren't very IT savvy.

  8. Velv

    Experience is what you get when you didn't get what you wanted.

    Soon there will be a substantial breach of personal data from one of the big boys. Or one of the big boys will use masses of personal data for something that is widely regarded as a breach of privacy (immoral at least, if not technically illegal).

    The media will go mental. The public will go mental.

    The law will change.

    Companies of all sizes will continue to write poor user agreements and will continue to slurp data without much thought - it is the culture we currently live in.

    I work in IT for Financial Services - we (largely) consider security quite high on the list (2FA, encryption, tokenisation, RBAC, layers of security). I also work with Supermarkets. For them, security is more a one layer password type thing.

    It's the culture. It will only change through experience. As a kid you learn not to touch hot things by burning yourself. Pray it's not your personal data that is the blister on the burns experienced by our current IT culture.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Eventually ...

      because it has to happen, someone in power will get burned. When there's a breach/hack/whatever, and David Camerons personal data is revealed to the world, politicians will suddenly discover a new-found zeal for privacy.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Eventually ...

        Sadly, that law will apply only to them. Ala parlimentary privilidge......

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And meanwhile, the Uk ICO ...

    I made a complaint to our ICO that Apple slurps data and hands it over to Google - by default, and without (AFAICT) any notification let alone informed consent. That data includes *ANY* URL you ever type or edit - not just things you want to search for.

    So we have a UK company, selling software (as part of a system) in the UK, to UK citizens, which slurps their data and exports it to (I assume) the USA where I assume it's used in ways I would prefer it not to be.

    The ICO response ? After my re-iterating the "UK ... UK ... UK" elements twice ...

    "Oh that's bad, we'll look into it" perhaps ? Dream on, this is a UK regulator here.

    No, the answer was "The data is processed in the USA and we don't give a s**t". Yep, this is still the same regulator that thought Phorm was a pretty neat idea.

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