German Court Struck Down Apple’s Customer Data-Privacy Rules

In addition to the U.S. privacy lawsuit over the information-sharing practices that Apple was already facing, it seems that a German court found that the company is violating the country’s consumer privacy protection laws. Therefore, Apple must review the way it handles part of the customer data.

Apple Agreed Not to Use Seven of the 15 Clauses VZBV Had Objected to

The Berlin Regional Court struck down 8 of the 15 clauses in Apple’s data use policy, as they were not in accordance with the German law. According to the court, the company is no longer able to ask for “global consent” to use customer data or use information on the locations of customers.


Furthermore, Apple cannot claim for the names, addresses, e-mail addresses, and phone numbers of users’ contacts. Not only that, but it also appears that the company might need to specify in all situations what a customer’s data will be used for and by which programs, and seems to be blocked from giving consumer data to other companies that used it for advertising.

Even before the suit was filed, Apple had already agreed not to use 7 of the 15 clauses that prompted VZBV, the German consumer rights group, to take legal action. However, Apple declined to comment on the ruling but is expected to file an appeal.

A Proof for the Importance of Customer Privacy

The Berlin Regional Court’s decision demonstrates the importance that consumers’ privacy has in the digital world. The orders apply only to Germany. However, as mentioned above, Apple is already facing a U.S. privacy lawsuit, being accused of improperly collecting data on the locations of customers through iPhones, although the device’s geo-location feature was turned off.  Moreover Apple was associated with sharing personal information with third parties.

As the Apple devices have become more popular, the quantity and significance of data customers enter into their iOS devices has amplified. This is the reason why there have been made great efforts around the world to ensure consumer privacy. Therefore, in 2011, not only that the U.S.A filed a lawsuit, but also governments in France, Germany, Italy, and South Korea asked Apple to explain its use of location data, as it was demonstrated that iPhone users’ were able to gather and keep information regarding locations, even though the location services were not turned on.

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