13 February 2018 A German consumer rights group, Vzbv, has argued that Facebook’s rules break Germany’s privacy laws. A court in Berlin has ruled in Vzbv’s favour. The court ruled that some of the default privacy settings were ‘hidden’ from users. Facebook intends to appeal against the decision. However, the court rejected the consumer group’s claim that the service cannot be called ‘free’. The group argued that users ‘pay’ by allowing their information to be shared. Vzbv intends to appeal this aspect of the decision. The court found that five of the default settings were in breach of new German privacy laws. This included an app that automatically reveals the location of people involved in a chat, and the company’s ‘authentic name’ policy was also said to be in breach of the laws. The ruling suggests that more information is required to constitute ‘informed consent’. Facebook is planning changes to its privacy settings, which it says will comply with the new laws. It said, “We are working hard to ensure that our guidelines are clear and easy to understand, and that the services offered by Facebook are in full accordance with the law.” Although, the case was heard in mid-January the verdict has just been made public. It is likely that more changes will be needed in the near future as Europe introduces General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) later this year.
Questions Who are involved in this court case? Is everyone happy with the verdict? Do you have strong consumer rights groups in your country? Who are they, what do they want to achieve?
Highlight text for solutions in court over ... - in court about … consumers – people who purchase products to argue – to present a case in court (can also mean to discuss in an angry way) a rule – a company’s guidelines or regulations to rule – to make a decision (especially a court of law) privacy – keeping information personal to appeal (against a decision/ruling) – to ask a court to look at the case again to reject – to decide against (in court) a claim – something that is said or believed by a person or group an aspect – a part, an element in breach of (a law) – breaking this law location – place, geographical position informed consent – agreeing to something that you understand accordance with (the law) – obeying the law, not breaking it a verdict – a court’s decision
In the first two paragraphs the present perfect is used to describe events. In the third paragraph the past simple is used (‘The court rejected …’). Why does it change?
Highlight for solution. In the third paragraph the past simple is used because the previous two paragraphs make it clear that the court case is finished. The present perfect is used in the first two paragraphs because there is no time indicator to tell us when the events happened. More past forms grammar