Belgian Watchdog Taken Facebook in Account on Violating Public Privacy

News - (on June 17, 2015 02:34 AM)


Belgian Privacy Watchdog Took Facebook to Court

Belgian privacy commissioner has taken Facebook to court accusing it violates public privacy by tracking people across the web

According to Privacy Protection Commission (CPP), Facebook has been tracking people across the web under the pretext of understanding user behavior to provide most relevant news feed. The commission, which is working with German, Dutch, French and Spanish counterparts, says Facebook is also tracking the browsing habits of non-users, which as equal to “trampling on European privacy laws.”

However, Facebook says it is totally surprising for it “after the [CPP] had already agreed to meet with us on 19 June to discuss their recommendations”

“They took the theatrical action of bringing Facebook Belgium to court on the day beforehand.”

However, Facebook seems quite confident as it thinks “there is no merit to the [CPP]'s 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 not the first time Facebook has be challenged by sort of accuses. The same Belgian Watchdog criticized Facebook on same issue in this year May as well, and both parties were about to discuss the matter on 19th of June this year.

Why country's Privacy Protection Commission didn’t allow Facebook to resolve the issue on 19th of June? Because, according to a DPA spokeswoman, Facebook did not provide "satisfactory answers" to the questions it raised last month.


“The tracking of non-users it’s so urgent that we could not wait for this so that’s why we said to Facebook ‘okay you don’t want to answer our questions about why you track non-users then we will have to take legal steps’,” she added. “They gave replies to us but not on our questions about why do you track non-Facebook users. How do you do this, why and what do you do with the collected data?”

Facebook’s claim seems strong, as according to Facebook, Belgian commission's jurisdiction is "unclear" because the United States’ firm is regulated in Europe by the Irish Data Protection Commissioner, not Belgian Watchdog.

Commission also accuse Facebook that it “places cookies whenever someone visits a webpage belonging to the domain, even if the visitor is not a Facebook user.” Facebook defended its positions saying “Cookies have been an industry standard for more than 15 years” and it is not unlawful to use cookies for ad targeting purposes, as it is being used widespread.

“Cookies have been an industry standard for more than 15 years. If people want to opt out of seeing advertising based on the websites they visit and apps they use, they opt out through the EDAA, whose principles and opt out we and more than 100 other companies comply with. Facebook takes this commitment one step further: when you use the EDAA opt out, we opt you out on all devices you use and you won’t see ads based on the websites and apps you use,” Facebook noted.

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