Deutsche Bahn, the German train line that pushed back against climate activist Greta Thunberg’s claims that she was traveling on an “overcrowded” train, has been called to Berlin’s data protection office for revealing too much information about her trip.
Earlier this week, Thunberg tweeted that she was “traveling on overcrowded trains through Germany” along with a picture of her sitting on the floor.
Traveling on overcrowded trains through Germany. And I’m finally on my way home! pic.twitter.com/ssfLCPsR8o
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) December 14, 2019
Deutsche Bahn responded to the claims that the train was overcrowded by revealing that Thunberg had a seat in first class. Thunberg later followed up by saying that her train was taken out of traffic so she sat on the floor for part of the journey.
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When reviewing the incident, Germany’s data protection authority suggested (Google Translate link) that Deutsche Bahn may have violated data privacy laws by revealing that Thunberg was traveling first class without her consent. According to the data protection authority’s rules, personal data may only be published with the person’s consent.
A spokesperson for Germany’s data protection commissioner Maja Smoltczyk said: “We take the individual case as an opportunity to talk to the railways about the handling of personal travel data.”
Before Deutsche Bahn sent its tweet, Thunberg had publicly revealed some details of her trip by stating that she was traveling through Germany and on her way home. Deutsche Bahn’s response to Thunberg’s tweet resulted in many people questioning whether the photo was staged and whether the train was really overcrowded.