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Apple customer privacy rules knocked back by German court

Apple was dealt a setback on Tuesday when a Berlin court ruled that its data-use rules violated German law.

As noted by German consumer group vzbv, the Berlin Regional Court found that eight clauses within Apple's policy are invalid. "According to the ruling, the regulations unduly disadvantaged consumers because they violated fundamental principles of the German data protection law," vzbv said in a translated statement.

Overall, vzbv objected to 15 of Apple's clauses. According to Bloomberg, Apple had already agreed not to use seven of them in the region.

Among the objectionable content was a provision that provided for "global consent" to a user's data. But German law requires that "the consumer is aware of [how] the data is used [and] for what purpose," which is not outlined by Apple.

The ruling also prohibits Apple from allowing third-party partners from collecting data without permission, like the name, address, email, and phone number of a user's contacts. This applies to Apple affiliates, too.

The court also objected to Apple distributing data for advertising purposes.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Apple is not the only company to tangle with German officials over data privacy. In 2011, Google abandoned the rollout of its Street View product in the country amidst privacy-related complaints - despite the fact that the Berlin State Supreme Court found that Google's Street View was legal.