Germans have always been very keen about their privacy. Well, maybe they haven't always been this way, but they certainly are now. Things like taking photos in public are very frowned upon, apparently, not to mention your friends using a tool to tag you faster in their photos.
But no, this is not about Facebook's facial recognition system again, this time around it's about the app center.
The Federation of German Consumer Organizations, VZBV by its German acronym, a group of consumer watchdogs, have issued an "ultimatum" to Facebook to stop handing over data on users to third-party apps without user consent.
The group takes issue with the fact that, since the App Center was introduced, Facebook has even fewer safeguards to ensure that users are properly informed about their actions.
That is, users can simply click "play game" for example and will be directed straight to that app, not to the interstitial screen asking them to authorize the app to access their data.
Some info on what the app needs is listed below the button in grey-colored font.
What's more, this is only displayed the first time, clicking the button implies consent and the info won't be shown the next time you visit the app's page.
The German group has a problem with this, actually, it says it's illegal under German laws which require specific consent from users. This regression of Facebook's already poor privacy settings has prompted the VZBV to ask Facebook to remedy the situation or face legal actions. It has a week to comply.
Germany has a history of some strict and sometimes exaggerated privacy demands, but that's not really the case now. The fact is, Facebook's change makes it much easier for users to dismiss the data sharing warnings. It probably boosts app usage, which is what Facebook wanted, at the detriment of user privacy.