Saturday

24th Feb 2018

Germany to ban employers from snooping on Facebook

  • Germany wants to ban employers from tracking their job applicants on Facebook (Photo: Franco Bouly)

The German government has tabled a draft bill that would ban employers from profiling job applicants on social networks such as Facebook and prevent clandestine video surveillance at work.

Under the envisaged law, employers would still be able to run Internet searches on the names on the persons they want to hire, as long as the information is publicly accessible or present on professional websites, such as LinkedIn.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

But becoming friends with the prospective employee or even hacking their Facebook account in order to get personal information will be illegal and punishable with a fine of up to €300,000.

The measure may be difficult to enforce, however, as the employee would have to prove that personal information landed in his hiring file.

Presented by interior minister Thomas de Maiziere, the draft bill also includes a ban on secret video surveillance at work, after a series of scandals with big companies spying on their employees.

Discount-supermarket chain Lidl, car manufacturer Daimler, as well as the state-owned railway operator Deutsche Bahn have been criticised in the media for having installed secret cameras at the cash-desks, in the fitting rooms and in toilets, and for having snooped on employee's emails and private accounts.

Installing video cameras will still be allowed, but not in restrooms and fitting rooms and only as long as the employees are informed.

The bill still has to be debated and approved by the country's parliament after summer. It is expected that some of its provisions will be watered down, as powerful employers' associations have already signalled their opposition.

The retailers' association HDE said some of the regulations go much too far, and outlawing clandestine video surveillance would be wrong. "Here we hope for changes in the government draft," HDE said in a press release.

Germany's data protection watchdog, Peter Schaar, applauded the government's effort, calling it long overdue.

It is "a substantial improvement on the status quo in dealing with employee's data," he said. Germany's privacy rules are among the strictest in Europe, as a consequence of the secret surveillance imposed by the government during the Nazi regime.

After an outrage in Germany sparked by its street imagery programme, Google introduced an online tool just for Germans where they can request in advance that their properties do not appear on Street View.

A criminal investigation has also been launched into Google's collection of unencrypted Wi-Fi data as part of Street View, which the company said was a mistake and has stopped.

EU posted workers face hurdles

Negotiations among the EU institutions will start soon, but could be difficult on several issues - like the inclusion of the transport sector or the duration of a posting.

EU overcomes divisions on posted workers

After a 12-hour discussion, EU employment ministers struck a compromise to reform the rules on workers posted in another country. The principle of equal pay for equal work has been adopted but the transport sector will get special treatment.

Investigation

How Romania became an EU workers' rights 'guinea pig'

"We are paid as if we were a country of unqualified workers". Union leaders and labour rights experts reveal, in figures, the catastrophic consequences of the laws that have turned Romania into the country of the working poor.

Focus

EU court bars tests for gay asylum seekers

Authorities in EU countries can no longer impose controversial psychological tests to determine whether an aslyum seeker is telling the truth about their homosexuality.

News in Brief

  1. EU calls for immediate ceasefire in Syria
  2. UK's post-Brexit vision is 'pure illusion', Tusk says
  3. EU leaders express solidarity with Cyprus in Turkey drill row
  4. EU to double funding for Sahel forces
  5. EU parliament president: 'The immigration problem is Africa'
  6. May to unveil EU departure strategy next week
  7. Pregnant workers may be dismissed, EU court rules
  8. Romanian minister demands anti-corruption prosecutor fired

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ILGA EuropeAnkara Ban on LGBTI Events Continues as Turkish Courts Reject NGO Appeals
  2. Aid & Trade LondonJoin Thousands of Stakeholders of the Global Aid Industry at Aid & Trade London
  3. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.European Free Alliance Joins MHRMI to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  4. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism Year to Promote Business and Mutual Ties
  5. European Jewish CongressAt “An End to Antisemitism!” Conference, Dr. Kantor Calls for Ambitious Solutions
  6. UNESDAA Year Ago UNESDA Members Pledged to Reduce Added Sugars in Soft Drinks by 10%
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsUzbekistan: Investigate Torture of Journalist
  8. CESICESI@Noon on ‘Digitalisation & Future of Work: Social Protection For All?’ - March 7
  9. UNICEFExecutive Director's Committment to Tackling Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region 2018: Facts, Figures and Rankings of the 74 Regions
  11. Mission of China to the EUDigital Economy Shaping China's Future, Over 30% of GDP
  12. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.Suing the Governments of Macedonia and Greece for Changing Macedonia's Name

Latest News

  1. EU agrees budget to focus on defence, security and migration
  2. EU leaders nix transnational lists, cool on 'Spitzenkandidat'
  3. Regions chief: calls for smaller EU budget are 'impossible'
  4. Election fever picks up This WEEK
  5. EU-Morocco fishing deal casts doubt on EU future foreign policy
  6. EU leaders put 'Spitzenkandidat' on summit menu
  7. European far-right political party risks collapse
  8. The key budget issues on EU leaders' table