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"Germany's War on Facebook"

Oh boy, what a poor choice of words for the headline in The Atlantic Wire piece published by Yahoo News:

Germany's War on Facebook
German authorities are now the first to declare the feature illegal. Hamburg's data protection official Johannes Caspar claims that the software violates both German and European Union data protection laws and that Facebook users don't know how to delete the data that Facebook is gathering. "If the data were to get into the wrong hands, then someone with a picture taken on a mobile phone could use biometrics to compare the pictures and make an identification," Caspar told the Hamburger Abendblatt. "The right to anonymity is in danger."

I know, Americans use the phrase "war" for all kinds of projects, like war on drugs, on obesity, on terrorism etc. For Germans, though, the phrase "war" is always linked to utter destruction. The Second World War remains crucial for our understanding of "war" and influences all debates on military interventions abroad.

Endnote: Heiner Geissler, 81, the mediator in a bitter dispute over the reconstruction of the main railway station for the city of Stuttgart, rightly got into big trouble for using the Nazi era phrase "Do You Want Total War?" in his attempt to get the proponents and opponents of the railway project to to stop the dispute and find a compromise.


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