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.
"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.