Germany Demands Greater Facebook Privacy
In Germany, there is a law called the German Telemedia Act that allows the citizens the right to use nicknames online. Thus, Germans should be able to increase their Facebook privacy by using a fake name on their account. Facebook, however, has a strict “real name only” policy. They refuse to allow the use of pseudonyms, even in Germany.
The German Data Protection Commissioner has ordered Facebook to stop disabling fake name accounts. They must allow the use of fake names immediately, said privacy commissioner Thilo Weichert. The decree is official and binding.
From yesterday’s article on IT World by Loek Essers:
“Weichert [stated] that it is unacceptable that a U.S. portal like Facebook keeps violating German data protection law. To ensure users’ rights and comply with data protection law in general, the real name obligation must be immediately abandoned by Facebook.”
In an emailed statement to IT World, a spokeswoman from Facebook stated, ”we believe the orders are without merit, a waste of German taxpayers’ money and we will fight it vigorously.” She also stated that Facebook should be the ones to decide their policies within the bounds of the law. Facebook maintains that their real name policy is in line with European Facebook privacy guidelines and also, Irish law.
From day one, Facebook has had a real name only policy. Though users could get a lot more Facebook privacy from the use of a fake name, Facebook will not allow it. They claim that the use of real names only keeps the community safe for all users. But shouldn’t YOU be the one to decide your own safe practices online?