Thursday, September 29, 2016

Novel But a Long Time Coming: The Bundeskartellamt Takes on Facebook

Robert McLeod, MLex offers a Novel But a Long Time Coming: The Bundeskartellamt Takes on Facebook.

ABSTRACT: With German antitrust chief Andreas Mundt taking on Facebook in a case that many describe as unprecedented in its attempt to tie a possible breach of an unrelated set of laws to an abuse of dominance, he is taking on a challenge that while novel, reflects changes in attitudes to privacy and data that have been a decade or more in the making.

In a statement released in early March, the Bundeskartellamt announced it has initiated a proceeding against Facebook, Inc., USA, the Irish subsidiary of the company, and Facebook Germany GmbH, Hamburg. The authority is investigating suspicions that with its specific terms of service on the use of user data, Facebook has abused its possibly dominant position in the market for social networks.

There is an initial suspicion that Facebook's conditions of use are in violation of data protection provisions and that, in the case in question, Facebook's use of unlawful terms and conditions could represent an abusive imposition of unfair conditions on users. The Bundeskartellamt will examine, among other issues, to what extent a connection exists between the possibly dominant position of the company and the use of such clauses.

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