Belgium court rules against Facebook in privacy case

Belgium court rules against Facebook in privacy case

The Belgian Court of First Instance ruled against Facebook [corporate website] Friday, stating that the company is in violation of Belgium’s privacy laws by placing tracking codes, commonly referred to as “cookies,” on third-party websites.

The court found in favor of the Commission for the Protection of Privacy (CPP) [official website], Belgium’s privacy watchdog, which issued a statement [press release, in French] outlining the decision and the requirements that have been imposed on Facebook:

[1] Facebook stops tracking and recording the browsing behavior of people surfing from Belgium as long as it does not bring its practices in line with Belgian privacy legislation.
[2] Facebook must also destroy all illegally obtained personal data.
[3] Facebook has to publish the entire 84-page judgment on its website and publish the last three pages of this judgment with the measures imposed in Dutch-language and French-language Belgian paper newspapers.

Facebook’s failure to comply with the court’s order will result in a fine of 250,000 Euros (USD 310,000) a day and could reach up to 100 million Euros (USD 125 million).

This ruling marks the latest battle between the social media giant and the CPP. Late in 2015 the court had held [JURIST report] that Facebook was in violation of Belgium law by tracking people in the country through the Facebook site who had not signed up for the social networking platform but merely clicked on a page. The decision was subsequently overturned [JURIST report] the following year on appeal. Facebook stated that it will appeal this decision as well.