German data commish makes a Hamburger out of Google

Profiling punters? Get permission

In another likely-to-be-fruitless attempt to rein in the globalisation of privacy invasion, Hamburg is telling Google to seek punters' permission for a range of services that build user profiles.

The news comes just a day after Brussels told Android OEMs they could either open the skirts on their contracts with Google, or face fines.

The broad-ranging requirement for explicit permission stretches to the search engine, Gmail, and Android devices and would hamper Google's ability to aggregate data across the different platforms, according to Reuters.

The order came from the city of Hamburg's data protection commissioner, Johannes Caspar, who issued the edict that “Google is ordered to take the necessary technical and organisational measures to guarantee that their users can decide on their own if and to what extend their data is used for profiling”.

The commissioner's “administrative order” (PDF here) says Google's data aggregation capabilities “allows the creation of meaningful and nearly and comprehensive personal records.”

Such extensive profiling has “no justification in German national or European law”, the order states, so it can only be conducted with user consent and if users are given the chance to object.

The commissioner said meetings with The Chocolate Factory hadn't gone anywhere: “Google has not been willing to abide to the legally binding rules and refused to substantially improve the user’s controls,” the order states. ®

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