Belgium takes Facebook to court over privacy and tracking
Facebook are in privacy trouble again, with the Belgian privacy commission taking the social network to court for alleged “trampling” over Belgian and European privacy laws. This legal action will be heard in an EU court on Thursday, after a report published by the Belgian privacy watchdog alleged that Facebook are breaching European privacy law, including the one about the tracking of non-users and logged out users.
The president of the Belgian privacy commission, Willem Debeuckelaere, says that Facebook are treating users' private lives with no respect, and it needs to be stopped.
"It’s not because we want start a lawsuit over this, but we can not continue to negotiate through other means,” Debeuckelaere told Belgian news DeMorgen. "We want a judge to impose our recommendations. These recommendations are chiefly aimed at protecting internet users who are not Facebook members."
According to the report, Facebook has been tracking users on a long-term basis who visit any of its pages, even if they don't have a Facebook account. Of course, there's a number of privacy cases being thrown at Facebook in Europe, which saw the European commission telling people that, if they want to protect their privacy, they should shut their Facebook accounts.
Naturally, the social network isn't having it.
A Facebook spokesperson said: "We were surprised and disappointed that, after the [Belgium privacy commission] had already agreed to meet with us on the 19 June to discuss their recommendations, they took the theatrical action of bringing Facebook Belgium to court on the day beforehand."
"Although we are confident that there is no merit to the case, we remain happy to work with them in an effort to resolve their concerns, through a dialogue with us at Facebook Ireland and with our regulator, the Irish data protection commissioner."
This is a reference to the decision made by a Dutch court recently, which ruled that Facebook’s operations there were not responsible for data protection issues - that responsibility lies with Facebook in Ireland.