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Hands off address books

Germany’s highest court has ruled that Facebook’s practice of harvesting email addresses from their users contact lists in order to send invitations to them constitutes “advertising harassment” and violates German law on data protection and unfair trade practices. This in response to a suit filed by the Federation of German Consumer Organisations (VZBV)

What the judgment means exactly for the current Friends Finder, we now have to find out. In addition to Facebook, other services use this form of advertising to attract new users. They must now probably rethink. — Klaus Mueller, head of the VZBV

Harvesting address books in order to send email to them has never been a good idea. This ruling suggests that it will be legally risky to do so anywhere in Europe.

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