Facebook To Fight Belgian Ban On Tracking Users (And Even Non-Users)

Last year, a Belgian court ruled that Facebook would have to stop tracking Belgian internet users and delete the data it’s already gathered on them, or face fines of about $280,000 a day. “Belgium’s data-protection regulators have targeted the company since at least 2015 when a court ordered it to stop storing non-users’ personal data,” Mercury News reported at the time. Facebook is now fighting the Belgian court’s decision, and will go “face to face with the Belgian data protection authority in a Brussels appeals court for a two-day hearing starting on Wednesday,” reports Bloomberg. From the report: Armed with new powers since the introduction of stronger European Union data protection rules, Belgium’s privacy watchdog argues Facebook “still violates the fundamental rights of millions of residents of Belgium.” The Brussels Court of First Instance in February 2018 ruled that Facebook doesn’t provide people with enough information about how and why it collects data on their web use, or what it does with the information. “Facebook then uses that information to profile your surfing behavior and uses that profile to show you targeted advertising, such as advertising about products and services from commercial companies, messages from political parties, etc,” the Belgian regulator said in an emailed statement on Wednesday.

Belgium’s data protection authority last year won the court’s backing for its attack against Facebook’s use of cookies, social plug-ins — the “like” or “share” buttons — and tracking technologies that are invisible to the naked eye to collect data on people’s behavior during their visits to other sites. Facebook understands “that people want more information and control over the data Facebook receives from other websites and apps that use our services,” the company said in a statement. “That’s why we are developing Clear History, that will let you to see the websites and apps that send us information when you use them, disconnect this information from your account, and turn off our ability to store it associated with your account going forward,” it said. “We have also made a number of changes to help people understand how our tools work and explain the choices they have, including through our privacy updates.”