German Regulator Bars Facebook’s Real-Name Policy

Facebook’s controversial real-name policy took a hit in Germany, as the Hamburg Data Protection Authority ruled that the social network cannot bar users from using pseudonyms.

Facebook’s controversial real-name policy took a hit in Germany, as the Hamburg Data Protection Authority ruled that the social network cannot bar users from using pseudonyms.

Reuters reported that Hamburg commissioner for data protection Johannes Caspar rejected an argument by Facebook that it since its European headquarters are in Dublin, the social network should only be subject to Irish data-protection laws.

Caspar said, as reported by Reuters:

For that matter, Facebook cannot again argue that only Irish data-protection law would be applicable … Anyone who stands on our pitch also has to play our game.

Facebook offered its standard defense for its real-name policy, with a spokesperson telling Reuters:

The use of authentic names on Facebook protects people’s privacy and safety by ensuring people know who they’re sharing and connecting with.

According to Reuters, the Hamburg Data Protection Authority reached its ruling after a complaint by a woman, who claimed that Facebook blocked her account for using a fake name, required her to submit a copy of her identification and changed her user name to her real name. The woman did not want to be contacted over business matters, Reuters reported.

Readers: What are your thoughts on Facebook’s real-name policy?

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