So Linked In is going to have German problems too

Germany’s highest court has declared unlawful a feature that encourages Facebook users to market the social media network to their contacts, confirming the rulings of two lower courts.

A panel of the federal court of justice ruled that Facebook’s “friend finder” promotional feature constituted advertising harassment in a case that was filed in 2010 by the Federation of German Consumer Organisations (VZBV).

The Facebook feature invites users to grant it permission to vacuum up the email addresses of friends or contacts in the user’s address book, which in turn allows the social network to send an invitation to non-Facebook users to join the service.

The court concluded this was a deceptive marketing practice, confirming decisions by two lower courts in Berlin in 2012 and 2014, which had found that Facebook had violated German laws on data protection and unfair trade practices.

Given that Linked In does exactly the same thing….

17 thoughts on “So Linked In is going to have German problems too”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    I did not know Linked In did this. Will be deleting my account.

    Apparently you can identify someone from anonymised credit card data if you have four transactions. At least with something like 90% confidence.

    So how long would it take the Germans to, say (unfairly but fairly obviously), identify every Jew in Europe from their friends links? I can see why people would be a little concerned about this.

    Off topic, can anyone explain to me why everyone is worried about lower oil prices? I mean I can see why Tim N might be. But I have to say every time I picture Putin and a bunch of bearded Sheiks looking at $30 a barrel, I just burst into mad giggling. Couldn’t happen to a nice set of sons of b!tches. Why aren’t markets celebrating?

  2. Off topic, can anyone explain to me why everyone is worried about lower oil prices? I mean I can see why Tim N might be.

    Actually, I’m quite enjoying myself. Having watched a decade of record-high prices turn reasonable companies into bloated, bureaucratic behemoths resembling a branch of the civil service more than a commercial enterprise, I am looking forward to the inevitable blood-letting. Sure, a lot of good people will be let go before the useless managerial classes, but most of them would have made hay while the sun shone and can see out a year or so of downturn. The useful ones will bounce back into employment the first sign of an upturn, but I can’t imagine what the armies of diversity coordinators, finance administrators, and endless branches of laughably-named “support services” are going to do when shareholders figure out that the best the industry can hope for is a doubling of the oil price to $60 per barrel – a figure which had everyone breaking down in tears over just a few months ago.

    As somebody who is willing and able to do just about any task anywhere and get it done provided I am not presented with endless roadblocks put up by hoofwanking bunglecunts* who add no value whatsoever, I’m of the opinion this collapse in the oil price will, in the medium and long term, work out very well for me.

    *Thanks, TW comments section.

  3. @SMFS

    There are a lot of upside down things nowadays! There has never been more debt but it has never been more expensive, cheap oil is bad, inflation is good, etc…

    I think the thing with oil is that it lowers inflation so it is bad. There was a time when inflation was bad but since it benefits borrowers, ie governments, it is now seen as good.

    For you and me, inflation is still theft. But I guess we’re expendable.

  4. So Much For Subtlety

    As somebody who is willing and able to do just about any task anywhere and get it done provided I am not presented with endless roadblocks put up by hoofwanking bunglecunts* who add no value whatsoever, I’m of the opinion this collapse in the oil price will, in the medium and long term, work out very well for me.

    So there is no down side at all? I shall change from a mad giggle to hysterical laughter then.

    How can you not think of the Saudis being told oil is down to $25 and not smile a little inside? Imagine Putin chairing a meeting where someone has to tell him.

  5. Hoo-f****g-ray. So at least any Germans I exchange e-mail with won’t be pitching their LinkedIn account every couple days. Who are all these assholes? I’m about as likely to look at as a LinkedIn page as surf squirrel pr0n.

  6. So there is no down side at all?

    There will be for some, unfortunately. Some will be damned unlucky with timing: bought a house or had another kid just as the industry collapsed. But even those being laid off can’t complain too much, we have had record wages that previous generations could only have dreamed of for 10 years, and almost full employment across the industry. We can’t say we haven’t had it good, and one must take the rough with the smooth. Plus, things will bounce back: the world still needs oil and gas, and always will.

  7. Shorter, cruder version: anyone who spent, planned, and acted as though $100+ oil and full employment in cushy positions on $1,000 per day was going to last forever was a fucking idiot.

  8. SMFS,

    > Off topic, can anyone explain to me why everyone is worried about lower oil prices?

    It’s great if it means we’ve suddenly found a vast reservoir of cheap, easily accessible oil, free of political influences. But in the absence of such, most economic commentators assume the falling oil price is a sign that the global economy is going to hell in a handcart.

    The truth is that actually we have found several vast reservoirs of cheap oil. It’s mainly US shale, but we also have Iran coming back into the world market; and nearly every oil-producing country is increasing production. Sure, there’s some economic slowdown in China; but the headlines I see from China are about ten-day traffic jams; not nine million bicycles.

  9. Apparently you can identify someone from anonymised credit card data if you have four transactions. At least with something like 90% confidence.

    Reference needed please? This would actually be day-job important if it isn’t a traditional statistic (i.e. 78.5% are invented on the spur of the moment) or an utterly shoddy piece of research.

  10. There’s also the downside that Putin and others might decide a little conflict or two will push the price up nicely and allow them to continue feathering their nests.
    The other downside is that the Saudi’s in particular can endure a lower price for longer than others which might allow them to hover up other producers assets at cheap prices as they struggle or mean that when production drops they can exploit a window of low production until mothballed facilities come back online.
    If it’s not the Saudis buying up cheap assets then likely it will be the Chinese, they have invested in Alberta tar sands the last few years for example and if the downturn continues govt resistance to selling to Chinese will weaken
    Just some thoughts, but overall I agree it’s surprising how much gloom there is over the low prices

  11. “Sure, there’s some economic slowdown in China; but the headlines I see from China are about ten-day traffic jams; not nine million bicycles.”

    Well yeah.. the ones suffering there are the peeps who expected double and triple digit growth figures to last forever, and be without any backlash further down the road..

  12. Bunglecunts – my word of the day. There are a few here. They always prosper and progress when times are good.

  13. Years ago when I set up a fb account I believe it asked if I wanted fb requests sent to all of my contact. Did they change it so users don’t have to opt in? If so then I have an issue. If not then what is wrong with it?

  14. So Much For Subtlety

    Surreptitious Evil – “Reference needed please? This would actually be day-job important if it isn’t a traditional statistic (i.e. 78.5% are invented on the spur of the moment) or an utterly shoddy piece of research.”

    I think it is one of those spurious internet things, but it seems to be based on this:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/01/150129160856.htm

    Just four fairly vague pieces of information — the dates and locations of four purchases — are enough to identify 90 percent of the people in a data set recording three months of credit-card transactions by 1.1 million users. If someone had copies of just three of your recent receipts — or one receipt, one Instagram photo of you having coffee with friends, and one tweet about the phone you just bought — would have a 94 percent chance of extracting your credit card records from those of a million other people. This is true, the researchers say, even in cases where no one in the data set is identified by name, address, credit card number, or anything else that we typically think of as personal information.

  15. So it’s saying if you have 4 pieces of information that give time/location/vendor for a person you can figure out which credit card is theirs from millions of records, which would be reasonable assumption as all you are doing is filtering for common numbers against set criteria, each instances reduces commanlity and 4 sounds reasonable.
    The key point would seem to be that the sort of time and location data required is becoming increasingly available amongst certain sections of society

  16. So Much For Subtlety

    Bloke not in Cymru – “So it’s saying if you have 4 pieces of information that give time/location/vendor for a person you can figure out which credit card is theirs from millions of records, which would be reasonable assumption as all you are doing is filtering for common numbers against set criteria, each instances reduces commanlity and 4 sounds reasonable.”

    Presumably we are all creatures of habit so if we buy a latte at Costa on the way to work every day, we become easily identifiable.

    AOL did this once when they released their search data after anonymising it. It was a trivial task to identify people because popular searches including things like “How many people with my surname live near me”.

    “The key point would seem to be that the sort of time and location data required is becoming increasingly available amongst certain sections of society”

    Which would be great if only it applied to the types of people who commit most crime. This will make life great for marketers, but not so useful for the police. Still, real life does seem to be copying Demolition Man in that everyone is determined to carry an electronic device that tracks them wherever they go in the form of a smart phone. At some point police are going to start using that to solve crimes.

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