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German data commissioner orders Facebook to drop its real name policy

Germany to Facbook: Drop real name policy or else!
By: Charles Gantt | Social Networking News | Posted: Dec 18, 2012 4:13 pm

The Unabhaengiges Landeszentrum fuer Datenschutz (ULD), Germany's data commissioner, has ordered Facebook to remove its real name policy, accusing the company of violating German data protection laws which give users the right to use pseudonyms online.




Both Facebook's US and Irish offices are included in the regulators report, noting that it has "instructed the two companies by decree to [amend the policy] and ordered the immediate execution of orders," which Facebook has said it will fight "vigorously."


Facebook comes under fire from time to time for its insistence that users only create accounts with the real full names. Facebook has even went as far as setting up a system for other users to report those who violate the real name rule.


"The permission to use pseudonyms on Facebook is reasonable. The real name obligation does neither prevent abuse of the service for insults or provocations nor does it help prevent identity theft," says the ULD. "Against this other precautions are necessary. To ensure the data subjects' rights and data protection law in general, the real name obligation must be immediately abandoned by Facebook."


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