German Court Orders Apple To Revise Its Customer Data-Privacy Rules

Apple was today told by a German court to change its rules for handling customer data, revealed a consumer group in a statement on its website today (via Bloomberg). The report claims that 8 out of 15 provisions in Apple’s general data-use terms were struck down by the court because they deviate too much from German laws.

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The Berlin court added that Apple cannot ask for “global consent” to use customer data or use information on the locations of customers. Gerd Billen, head of the German consumer group Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband said that the ruling reflects the importance of data protection for consumers in a digital world. The ruling, which only applies to Germany, however can be appealed by Apple.

Apple had already signed a binding declaration that it wouldn’t use seven of the 15 clauses VZBV had objected to before the German suit was filed, the consumer group said. The remaining eight provisions were invalidated by today’s ruling, VZBV said. German law allows recognized consumer groups to sue companies over illegal terms and conditions.

Apple asked customers in the terms for “global consent” to use their data, while German law requires that clients know in detail what data is used for what purpose, VZBV said. Apple also may not ask for permission to use names, addresses and phone numbers of users’ contacts.

The court has also blocked Apple’s rule for delivering the data to other companies that use them for advertising.