“The verdict shows the importance of privacy for consumers in the digital world,” said Gerd Billen, executive director of the VZBV.
According to German law, recognized consumer groups can sue companies over illegal terms and conditions. Apple asks for “global consent” to use customer data on its website, but German law insists that clients know specific details about what their data will be used for and why.
VZBV had taken Apple to court over 15 different clauses in the German version of Apple’s website, but even prior to the filing of the German lawsuit, Apple had already signed a binding agreement saying it would void seven of the 15 clauses VZBV had objected to.
On Tuesday, Berlin Regional Court agreed with the VZBV over eight of Apple’s customer data clauses, saying those rules “unduly disadvantaged customers because they violated fundamental principles of the German data protection.” The court also rejected Apple’s distribution of customer data to services that use the information for advertising purposes.
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Apple can appeal the Berlin Regional Court’s ruling, which only applies to Germany.
Bloomberg said Apple was accused in its U.S. lawsuit of inappropriately collecting iPhone customers’ location data, even when the handset’s geo-location feature was turned "off," and sharing the information with third-party companies and services.