Apple Under Continued Fire For Privacy Violations

A Berlin court struck down eight of 15 provisions Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) had in its general data-use terms, Bloomberg reported Tuesday. The court mandated that it change its practices of handling customer data as it deviates too much from German law and shows insufficient consideration for privacy. Coming at a time when Apple is already facing a U.S. privacy lawsuit for its information-sharing procedures, it appears the company should start treading a little more lightly.

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The violation of people’s privacy rights is not a new issue for technology companies, as they have recently come under attack for the breaching of data protection and consumer rights. In November 2012, Bloomberg reported that Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) agreed to pay $22.5 million to settle claims that it violated people’s privacy rights by “improperly [planting] cookies on Apple Inc.’s Safari Internet Browser…” Although Google denied wrongdoing, it agreed to remove the tracking cookies it placed on Safari users’ computers by February 2014.

Similarly, in the most recent U.S. lawsuit, Apple is accused of “improperly collecting data on the locations of customers through iPhones…and sharing personal information with third parties.”

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Tuesday’s ruling in Germany invalidated the remaining eight provisions that Apple declared it wouldn’t use. The German consumer advocate group, Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverbandthat, reported the ruling today and celebrated it on its website. The group explained the deviations Apple’s terms took from German law, such as Apple’s request for customers’ “global consent” for use of their data, a direct violation of the German law that mandates the explicit explanation for the purpose of this sequestered data.

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