German High court suspends Facebook’s restrictions, ‘a major blow‘ to its regulator

On Monday, Germany’s Higher Regional Court of Duesseldorf passed a ruling suspending Facebook’s restrictions imposed over its data collection activities. The High court’s order was seen as a major blow to the country’s regulator Federal Cartel Office. 

The Higher Regional Court in Duesseldorf said in its ruling earlier on Monday: “The suspension of the order means that Facebook does not have to implement the decision of the Federal Cartel Office for the time being.”

But the German Cartel office is all set to appeal against the decision in the country’s highest court, in order to prevent the social network giant from gathering the user data by the virtue of market dominance, without users’ consent.

“We are convinced that with the available antitrust laws we can take regulatory action,” Andreas Mundt, the head of the cartel office, said in a statement. “To clarify these questions we will file an appeal to the Federal Court of Justice.”

It is a long legal road ahead of FCO before it wins its data surveillance battle. In February, Facebook appealed against the restrictions imposed on its data collection activities by the cartel office. Facebook got successful in temporary getting the restrictions removed but with cartel’s recent announcement of appealing against High court’s decision and taking the case to the Federal court, nothing can be said.

Mundt, when asked about Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court’s decision, said: “Data and data handling are decisive factors for competition in the digital economy. The Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf has today responded differently than the Bundeskartellamt to key legal issues.

These legal issues are highly significant for the future state of competition in the digital economy. We are convinced that we can act in this area based on the existing antitrust law. For this reason, we are going to appeal on points of law to the Federal Court of Justice to clarify these issues.” It is indeed a landmark case which would define or even modify the country’s data regulations, governing the future of the country.

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