Germany: Illegal to Use Like Function on Facebook

Germany recently required its government offices to shut down their fan pages on facebook, and to remove the "like" button from their governmental websites, claiming that the use of the like button violates Germany's strict internet privacy laws. It claims that using the like button immediately allows facebook to gather information, and keep it for a period of years.

The relevant agency stated that it would take legal action against those who refuse to comply. In response, Facebook claims it is compliant with the German, and European Union internet privacy laws.


Missouri Facebook Law: Teachers May Not Contact Students

The law, called the Amy Hestir Student Protection Act, which has become known as "The Facebook Law," in Missouri, states that teachers may not use internet sites, such as facebook to contact students. Teachers are challenging the law for its incredibly vague language. For example, perhaps the most confusing wording is the law's language found in Section 162.069, which states:

"Teachers cannot establish, maintain, or use a work-related website unless it is available to school administrators and the child's legal custodian, physical custodian, or legal guardian. Teachers also cannot have a nonwork-related website that allows exclusive access with a current or former student. Former student is defined as any person who was at one time a student at the school at which the teacher is employed and who is eighteen years of age or less and who has not graduated."

Presumably, this means that teachers cannot have private websites, that they must be available to the publics. As to the second part, news sources have interpreted to mean that  teachers may not contact their students through such functions as instant messages or Facebook posts, which cannot be seen by others, such as parents or school administrators--meaning that the teacher and/or student, would have had to adjust their privacy settings so that these people could not see them.

The point, presumably, is that the result of the law will be public oversight of student-teacher communications. It will be interesting to see how the ACLU and other suits challenging this law turn out.