Belgian court rules Facebook violates privacy and should stop tracking users

Posted 16 February 2018 23:20 CET by Jan Willem Aldershoff

A Belgian court today ruled that Facebook should stop tracking Belgian internet users. The social network is no longer allowed to track anyone that uses the internet from Belgium. A Belgian privacy organisation sued Facebook violating the privacy of Belgian internet users.

The lawsuit was especially about the methods Facebook uses to track users on websites. The social network tracks both users with, and users without, a Facebook account. The court in Brussels therefore ruled that Facebook violates Belgian privacy laws.

Also the fact that Facebook doesn’t inform users that it collects data about them and doesn’t inform them what kind of data is collected violates the Belgian privacy laws. The judge also ruled that Facebook violates the law because it’s unclear for which purpose the data is collected and for how long the data is stored.

Besides that, Facebook also has never received explicit permission to collect and process the data. Besides the ruling that Facebook has to immediately stop tracking Belgian internet users, it also has to delete all unlawfully collected data. In case the social network ignores the verdict, it will receive a penalty of €250,000 ($311,000) per day with a maximum of €100 million.

Facebook has stated it will appeal the ruling. According to the social network, the used cookies and tracking pixels are normal in the sector and users have the possibility to disable usage of the collected data for Facebook sites and apps.

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