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November 10, 2015

Belgium Court Gives Facebook 48 Hours to Halt Tracking

Facebook Vows to Appeal Decision, Despite Facing Non-Compliance Fines

Flickr photo by Maria Elena

Facebook will appeal the decision of a Belgium court after it was banned from tracking Belgians who are not members of its social media site.

The court has given Facebook 48 hours to halt the practice.

The issues stems from a cookie Facebook has used for the past five years. It is installed when a person, member or not, visit’s Facbook’s website.

“We’ve used the Datr cookie for more than five years to keep Facebook secure for 1.5 billion people around the world,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement to the media.

“We will appeal this decision and are working to minimize any disruption to people’s access to Facebook in Belgium.”

The Belgian court found fault with this practice, however, saying Facebook first must obtain consent from Internet users before collecting data.

If the social network does not comply with the court’s ruling, it could be slapped with a fine of up to 250,000 euros per day. Any monies collected would go to the Belgian Privacy Commission, which initiated the case against Facebook.

The Belgian Privacy Commission launched a lawsuit against the social network in June, accusing the firm of refusing to recognize Belgian and EU privacy laws.

The lawsuit was an escalation of the recommendation issued by the Commission in May in which it berated the social media giant, saying the company treats users’ personal data “with contempt.”

Facebook is also in the crosshairs of other country’s privacy regulators, including those in France, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands.

The Dutch Data Protection Authority, which oversees online privacy for the Netherlands, has taken issue with the social network’s policy for handling users’ photos and data. The policy changes in question hand Facebook the right to use its members’ information and images for commercial purposes.


Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.