Facebook has long faced greater scrutiny in Europe than it does in the U.S. However, the social media giant scored a major victory against German regulators this week when a court ruled the company can combine the data it gathers about its users without their consent.
The decision was reached when Facebook appealed an order by Germany’s Federal Cartel Office that would have banned the company from gathering user data like this. German regulators even went so far as to call Facebook’s monopoly “exploitative abuse.” However, a German court agreed enough with Facebook to suspend the order indefinitely. And while Facebook could eventually face more consequences, experts say this ruling strikes a big blow against regulators’ hopes of slowing the company’s data gathering practices.
“The law is at its limits with the internet giants. It is too slow. A final decision in a few years on the privacy terms of Facebook is too late either way,” professor Rupprecht Podszun told TechCrunch. “The decision is a wake-up call to legislators: If you want to regulate Google, Amazon, Facebook & Co., the existing tools are not enough.”
A company the size of Facebook has virtually limitless resources at its disposal when it comes to battling in court, so this ruling shouldn’t come as a surprise. Still, it’s a disappointment for privacy-minded observers hoping to see the company get reeled in.
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