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Facebook wins Belgian legal case over its policy of tracking non-members

By midian182
Jun 30, 2016
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  1. Facebook is enjoying a European legal victory after an earlier ruling by a Belgian court that said it must stop tracking the online activities of non-members was overturned.

    Belgium’s data protection watchdog had taken Facebook to court in June 2015, accusing the company of indiscriminately tracking internet users when they visited a page on the site or clicked the ‘Like’ button on other websites, even if they weren’t a member of the social network.

    In November, the court ruled that the company would face fines of up to $269,000 a day if it didn’t cease this practice. Facebook said to would comply and stop placing its “datr” tracking cookie on the browsers of non-members.

    The company took the case to the Brussels Appeals Court, where it was dismissed on the grounds that the country’s regulator has no jurisdiction over Facebook Inc, which has its European headquarters in Ireland. “Belgian courts don’t have international jurisdiction over Facebook Ireland, where the data concerning Europe is processed,” said the court.

    Facebook is, of course, happy with the outcome. "We are pleased with the court's decision and look forward to bringing all our services back online for people in Belgium," a spokeswoman said.

    The ruling doesn’t spell the end of Facebook’s legal battles in the country. Belgium’s data protection regulator said it is considering an appeal of its own, and would also turn its attention to a separate case that focuses on Facebook’s use of cookies for both users and non-users.

    "Today's decision simply and purely means that the Belgian citizen cannot obtain the protection of his private life through the courts and tribunals when it concerns foreign actors," the Commission said in a statement.

    Facebook’s lawyers said last year’s ruling meant it had to block non-Facebook users in Belguim from viewing the site’s public pages, as this was the “only feasible” way to comply without compromising security.

    Permalink to story.

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 30, 2016
  2. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 1,324   +711

    And TOTALLY by coincidence, today FB started prompting me to log in every time I try to read something on it.
     
    alabama man likes this.
  3. Hexic

    Hexic TS Addict Posts: 283   +132

    That's a smart practice by FB in Belgium - disabling non-members of FB from accessing the site. Makes sense, and sticks it to the regulators in their own way.

    It would be particularly funny if Google started doing that; "Oops kids, looks like it's Bing and Yahoo from here on out."
     
  4. alabama man

    alabama man TS Maniac Posts: 216   +129

    Yeah I don't use facebook and would love not to be able to go there even by accident. Hope they ban non-members here too.
     
    Hexic likes this.

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