Karin Retzer

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Big data is now big business. In recent years, due to the exponential growth of databases (spurred at least in part by social media and cloud storage) and of the capability of technology to undertake data analytics on a massive scale, organisations have started to appreciate the potential hidden value that could be derived from their data. Indeed, in March 2014, Neelie Kroes (Vice President of the EU Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda) reflected…
Big data is now big business. In recent years, due to the exponential growth of databases (spurred at least in part by social media and cloud storage) and of the capability of technology to undertake data analytics on a massive scale, organisations have started to appreciate the potential hidden value that could be derived from their data. Indeed, in March 2014, Neelie Kroes (Vice President of the EU Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda) reflected…
For many companies, the main question about cloud computing is no longer whether to move their data to the “cloud,” but how they can accomplish this transition. Cloud (or Internet-based on-demand) computing involves a shift away from reliance on a company’s own local computing resources, in favor of greater reliance on shared servers and data centers. Well-known examples of cloud computing services include Google Apps, Salesforce.com, and Amazon Web Services. In principle, a company also…
As technology becomes ever more complex, the scope and scale of cyber-attacks and risks are increasing at an unprecedented rate. Cyber issues are high on the agenda for boards of directors and senior management. We all know that cybercrime is no longer just an issue for the IT department or an issue relating only to U.S. state laws. Governments around the world are working to educate businesses about the risk of cybercrime and are taking…
Earlier this year, the French consumer association UFC-Que Choisir initiated proceedings before the Paris District Court against Google Inc., Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc., accusing these companies of using confusing and unlawful online privacy policies and terms of use agreements in the French versions of their social media platforms; in particular, the consumer association argued that these online policies and agreements provide the companies with too much leeway to collect and share user data. In…
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) issued a quite surprising decision against Google which has significant implications for global companies. On May 13, 2014 the ECJ issued a ruling which did not follow the rationale or the conclusions of its Advocate General, but instead sided with the Spanish data protection authority (DPA) and found that: Individuals have a right to request from the search engine provider that content that was legitimately published on websites should…
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) issued a quite surprising decision against Google which has significant implications for global companies. On May 13, 2014 the ECJ issued a ruling which did not follow the rationale or the conclusions of its Advocate General, but instead sided with the Spanish data protection authority (DPA) and found that: Individuals have a right to request from the search engine provider that content that was legitimately published on websites should…
On January 24, 2014, in a case filed against Facebook by German consumer protection association VZBV, the Berlin Court of Appeal (“Court”) upheld a lower court ruling that Facebook’s “Friend Finder” function is unlawful. The Court agreed with the Berlin Regional Court’s 2012 decision that the Friend Finder function violates both German data protection law and unfair trade law, and re-affirmed the invalidity of several clauses in Facebook’s privacy notice and other online terms…
In November 2013, the Berlin District Court ruled that all of the 25 provisions in Google’s online terms of use and privacy policy that had been challenged by the German Federation of Consumer Associations (VZBV) are unenforceable.  In reaching its decision, the court found that German law applies to terms of use and privacy policies to the extent they are directed to German consumers. Under German unfair contract terms legislation, clauses that contradict main elements…
On May 15, 2013, in a case filed against Google by an entrepreneur selling dietary supplements and cosmetics (the “Plaintiff”), the German Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe (Bundesgerichtshof, the “Federal Court”) ruled that Google must remove any defamatory suggestions generated by its autocomplete search function. The Federal Court overturned an earlier ruling by the Cologne Higher Regional Court (Zivilkammer des Landgerichts Köln) favoring Google. The Plaintiff claimed that, when his name is entered into…