From Apple’s Privacy Policy

Bloomberg reports that the Berlin Regional Court in Germany has told Apple to change its policies for managing customer’s data on its website after ruling that Apple’s terms for data use go against German laws. According to a statement posted by a German consumer group Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband (VSBV), the courts have ruled that Apple cannot request “global consent” for use of a customer’s data” without informing the user of where and how the data will be used. It will also no longer be able to use German users’ data to “promote location-based services and products” or deliver the data to third-parties for advertising purposes: 

The best 4K & 5K displays for Mac

Apple had already signed a binding declaration that it wouldn’t use seven of the 15 clauses VZBV had objected to before the German suit was filed, the consumer group said. The remaining eight provisions were invalidated by today’s ruling, VZBV said. German law allows recognized consumer groups to sue companies over illegal terms and conditions.

Apple asked customers in the terms for “global consent” to use their data, while German law requires that clients know in detail what data is used for what purpose, VZBV said. Apple also may not ask for permission to use names, addresses and phone numbers of users’ contacts.

Back in February the FTC issued new recommendations for Apple and other owners of mobile platforms to improve mobile privacy disclosures, while EU privacy watchdogs did the same the following month. There’s no word if the German courts decision could force Apple to change its data sharing policies related to mobile platforms as well.

Head of the VSBV Gerd Billen said in the statement that the German court’s ruling “shows the high importance of data protection for consumers in a digital world.”

Apple declined to comment on the ruling but is expected to file an appeal.

About the Author