BERLIN – A German data protection official said Wednesday he launched legal proceedings against Facebook, which he accused of illegally accessing and saving personal data of people who don’t use the social networking site.

Johannes Caspar said his Hamburg data protection office had initiated legal steps that could result in Facebook being fined tens of thousands of euros for saving private information of individuals who don’t use the site and haven’t granted it access to their data.

“We consider the saving of data from third parties, in this context, to be against data privacy laws,” Caspar said.

Facebook has until Aug. 11 to respond formally to the legal complaint against it.

The company, based in Palo Alto, Calif., did not respond to requests for comment.

Germans are protected by some of the world’s most strict privacy laws, which lay out in detail how and how much of an individual’s private information may be accessed by whom.

Germany also has launched an investigation into Google Inc. over its Street View mapping program.

In April, Facebook changed its privacy settings to allow users to block access to the contacts listed in their e-mail, but Caspar argues that the previously saved contacts have not been erased and are being used for marketing purposes.