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Belgian court orders Facebook to stop tracking non-members or face a $269,000 daily fine

By midian182
Nov 10, 2015
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  1. A court in Belgium has given Facebook 48 hours to stop tracking the online activities of people in the country who don’t have accounts with the social network or face fines of up to 250,000 euros ($269,000) a day.

    Belgium’s data protection watchdog took Facebook to court in June, accusing the company of indiscriminately tracking internet users when they visited a page on the site or clicked on ‘like’ or ‘share,’ even if they weren’t a member of the site.

    The court said that Facebook was required to obtain consent to collect the information being gathered by its 'datr' tracking cookie. "The judge ruled that this is personal data, which Facebook can only use if the internet user expressly gives their consent, as Belgian privacy law dictates," it said in a statement. “If Facebook ignores this order it must pay a fine of €250,000 a day to the Belgian privacy commission.”

    The cookie stays on internet users’ devices for up to two years and can track a number of activities. Experts assisting the Belgian Privacy Commission on Facebook tracking through social plug-ins noted that Facebook could "link the browsing behavior of its users to their real world identities, social network interactions, offline purchases, and highly sensitive data such as medical information, religion, and sexual and political preferences."

    Facebook said it will appeal against the decision and that it has used the datr cookie for the past five years “to keep Facebook secure for 1.5 billion people around the world.” It claims that the cookie only identifies browsers, not people.

    If Facebook is blocked from using the datr cookie, the company said it would have to treat visits to its site from Belgium as untrusted logins. This would mean users from the country having to endure a range of verification methods for Facebook to establish that they are legitimately trying to access their accounts.

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

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  2. lripplinger

    lripplinger TS Addict Posts: 260   +90

    Oh boohoo Facebook. To me, your whining about not being able to use a cookie and track people without their consent just shows how insecure your crap is anyway. I say good for the Belgian court for ruling in favor of the people.
     
  3. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,560   +2,901

    I don't get it. How can Facebook track people that don't have an account? When creating links in photos, even those links have to be made to an actual account. I don't understand how tracking can work without an account to base it from. Without an account there would only be dot and no way to link them (analogy: connect the dots).
     
  4. gollum21

    gollum21 TS Rookie

    Dafuq?

    Someone please explain this:
    "If Facebook is blocked from using the datr cookie, the company said it would have to treat visits to its site from Belgium as untrusted logins. This would mean users from the country having to endure a range of verification methods for Facebook to establish that they are legitimately trying to access their accounts."

    So if I was someone in Belgium and I just got onto Facebook from a new computer that could not possibly have the datr cookie I could not simply put in my username and password to login?? Does Belgium fb require extra login steps for it users????

    Or is facebook just deliberately hiding some simpler terms like "Users will not be able to stayed logged in without requiring a simple username and password to log in"
     
  5. gollum21

    gollum21 TS Rookie

    typo: stay** logged in

    Moderator tip: Go into Forum mode and you can edit your posts.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 14, 2015

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