Feb 7, 2019

Germany tells Facebook to curb data gathering

Andreas Mundt, the president of Germany's Federal Cartel Office, speaks during a press conference on Facebook. Photo: Rolf Vennenbernd/AFP/Getty Images

Germany's competition regulator moved Thursday to ban Facebook from collecting certain types of consumer data without users' consent within the country, saying its data gathering was an "abuse" of its market power.

Why it matters: The decision isn't final but nonetheless represents the first major antitrust action against the social giant. It shows how questions about Facebook's dominance are tied to concerns about its users' privacy.

Details: The regulator said that Facebook couldn't associate data from accounts on WhatsApp or Instagram, which it owns, with accounts on its main platform unless a user agrees to it.

  • Users also have to agree to have data collected on them from third-party websites, the regulator said.
  • "With regard to Facebook's future data processing policy, we are carrying out what can be seen as an internal divestiture of Facebook's data," said Andreas Mundt, president of Germany's Federal Cartel Office, in a statement.

The other side: Facebook said it will appeal the decision, arguing that the German regulator "underestimates the fierce competition we face in Germany, misinterprets our compliance with GDPR and undermines the mechanisms European law provides for ensuring consistent data protection standards across the EU."

Go deeper: What Facebook knows about you

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White House projects 100,000 to 240,000 U.S. coronavirus deaths

President Trump said at a press briefing on Tuesday that the next two weeks in the U.S. will be "very painful" and that he wants "every American to be prepared for the days that lie ahead," before giving way to Deborah Birx to explain the models informing the White House's new guidance on the coronavirus.

Why it matters: It's a somber new tone from the president that comes after his medical advisers showed him data projecting that the virus could kill 100,000–240,000 Americans — even with strict social distancing guidelines in place.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 21 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 6 p.m. ET: 850,583 — Total deaths: 41,654 — Total recoveries: 176,714.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in confirmed cases. Total confirmed cases as of 6 p.m. ET: 184,183 — Total deaths: 3,721 — Total recoveries: 6,043.
  3. Business updates: Should you pay your rent or mortgage during the coronavirus pandemic? Find out if you are protected under the CARES Act.
  4. Public health updates: More than 400 long-term care facilities across the U.S. report patients with coronavirus — Older adults and people with underlying health conditions are more at risk, new data shows.
  5. Federal government latest: The White House and other institutions are observing several models to better understand and prepare cities for when the coronavirus is expected to peak in the U.S.
  6. U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt: Captain of nuclear aircraft carrier docked in Guam pleaded with the U.S. Navy for more resources after more than 100 members of his crew tested positive.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Paying rent in a pandemic

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

For many people who've lost jobs or income because of the coronavirus pandemic, tomorrow presents a stressful decision: Do you pay your rent or mortgage?

Why it matters: The new CARES Act that was signed by President Trump on Friday protects homeowners and renters who are suffering from the response to the coronavirus pandemic — but it's not “a one-size-fits-all policy rulebook,” a congressional aide tells Axios.

Go deeperArrow2 hours ago - Health