New Terms of Use: Schaar Criticizes Backpacker Network Couchsurfing


For the members of the portal, which mainly use backpackers to broker free sleeping places, new terms of use will apply from Friday. These allow the 4.8 million member network, private user data and photos to pass on to third parties and use almost unlimited.

"Users are forced by the new terms of use to renounce any control over their data, " explained Schaar. This is unacceptable and inadmissible under German and European data protection law. This is not used in the Couchsurfing case because the company is based in the USA. However, a draft by the European Commission provides that strict principles of data protection law will also apply to non-EU states in the future. The German authorities could currently do nothing more than inform the responsible regulatory agency in the US about the case, said a spokeswoman Schaars.

Many users reacted with annoyance and announced that they would delete their accounts and switch to other providers. "It's a shame, " a couch surfer tweeted. The new conditions are no longer transparent, said a user on dpa demand, especially since the operators in the future no longer need to inform users about any further changes in data protection. The operators of the site were initially not reachable for an opinion.

After the US, Germany counts most of the couchsurfing users active in more than 90, 000 cities. Because the almost anonymous mutual home-based care requires a lot of trust, members often create detailed profiles that include name, address, phone number, age, occupation, and photos. (Dpa / tc)