Despite expected privacy inquiries from the German government, reports indicate that the move has not stopped Germans from using Google, Facebook and Apple products. The German government has raised eyebrows over the three American companies’ privacy policies, with speculation that the companies might be misusing member information.
Lately, the American tech firms have come under close examination in the country, with Internet search Giant, Google, currently undergoing investigations after it wrongfully gathered personal Internet information such as people’s email addresses when it was carrying out research over its latest addition to Google Maps, the Street View mapping service. Elsewhere, American giant social site, Facebook is under investigation for wrongfully gathering personal information for individuals without Facebook accounts from their friends with accounts.
What Facebook did is take mailing lists of active users and derive information from non-users from the mailing list, allegedly. On the other hand, Apple Inc. is under duress from the German government, seeking to know what the company’s latest addition, the iPhone 4, is storing with regard to users information and the exact storage periods.
The move by the German government is said to be geared at protecting German consumers from what the agency responsible for the investigations said is “themselves.” According to the agency undertaking the investigations in Hamburg most users of the three company’s products are largely oblivious to what the companies do with the data they submit while using their products.
German Privacy Laws
Germany’s strict privacy laws were as a result of the consequences of the Second World War in which people’s personal information was used to single out people for persecution. Data released just two months ago revealed that Google took up about 92% of Germany’s online search market, whereas in the US, it had a paltry 65%. On the other hand, Facebook took up about 7.7 million German online social networks users and Apple’s all iPhone models have performed impressively in the country, with the latest, the iPhone 4, going out of stock in a few days of its introduction in the German market. According to an Amiando executive, Europe’s biggest online event registration offering company, said there is huge separation with regard to data privacy laws and consumers that have remain largely uninterested in or oblivious of their privacy safeguards.
Tradition vs Business
The German government has particularly had issues with the three American firm’s tradition that allows them to sell client information to third parties. In Germany itself, the biggest events organizer, Amiando, does not sell members information to third parties. Even though German laws allow the companies to sell the information of their customers, what it does in the country is ruin an traditional sense of trust that Germans have developed in their companies, thus most companies do not take advantage of the law.
But even with the suspicious government making a move on the American firms, Germans themselves are continually letting their details be used by third party companies in a deal that is seeing them save some buck. Payback, a retail bonus card, gives them discounts if they let its operator send offers.