Many websites use social media plug-ins such as Facebook’s “like”-button. The Data Protection Commissioner’s Office calls on all institutions in the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein, to shut down their fan pages on Facebook and remove social plug-ins. A legal and technical analysis concluded that such features are in violation of the German Telemedia Act (TMG) and of the Federal Data Protection Act (BDSG), respectively the Data Protection Act of Schleswig-Holstein (LDSG SH).
The Commissioner’s Office criticizes that by using the Facebook service traffic and content data is transferred to the USA and a qualified feedback is sent back to the website owner concerning the web page usage, the so called web analytics. Whoever visits facebook.com or uses a plug-in must expect that he or she will be tracked by the company for two years. Facebook builds a broad individual and for members even a personalised profile.
Thilo Weichert, head of the Office explained: “ULD has pointed out informally for some time that many Facebook offerings are in conflict with the law. This unfortunately has not prevented website owners from using the respective services and the more so as they are easy to install and free of charge. [...] Our current call is only the beginning of a continuing privacy impact analysis of Facebook applications. ULD will continue in cooperation with other German data protection authorities.“