German dis-'Like' prompts ridicule, presages more EU restrictions on web services

U.S. companies already threading mazes to move data will have an even more convoluted path.

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The rules affect only the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein, in Germany's far north, at the base of the Jutland Peninsula, former home of the warring Angles and Jutes, jumping-off point for Viking raids on Northern Europe and invasion of what was not yet Russia, but would be after Vikings called it that , and environmental setting for many of the most action-packed, bloody, violent, dramatic, completely unreadable sagas of early college Literature review courses.

It doesn't cover, so far, the rest of Germany and, according to Facebook, reflects a misunderstanding of how the "like" button works.

Clicking on the "Like" doesn't send personal information to U.S.-based servers if the user is not signed in to Facebook already, according to Facebook spokespeople. Only the IP address is recorded, Facebook views that only in aggregate, and Facebook erases even that after 90 days.

“The only time ‘Like’ button information is associated with a particular person is when you are signed into Facebook and click,” according to Carl Sjogreen product manager for Facebook, as quoted in Buzzmachine. "If you are signed into Facebook when you visit a site with the “Like” button, obviously, Facebook’s servers will act on knowing who you are because it will tell you which of your friends also publicly liked this site," Sjogreen said.

Being signed in is equivalent to consent under most European privacy laws, but neither Germans nor the rest of Europe limits its concern to information about non-members.

In what The Atlantic described as Germany's War on Facebook, in 2010 a government agency in the central-German city of Hamburg launched an investigation into how Facebook handles personal data posted by members about non-members.

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