Belgium wins lawsuit against Facebook for not respecting privacy : The Privacy Commission in our country says that Facebook illegally monitors our surfing behavior. And so last year a lawsuit was filed against  Facebook Inc., Facebook Ireland Ltd and Facebook Belgium bvba . Today came the Brussels Court of First Instance with an opinion: Facebook does not respect the Belgian privacy law. The judge thus followed the full reasoning of the Privacy Commission.

The court in Brussels has condemned Facebook for not complying with the privacy law. If the Internet giant does not immediately stop following the illegal behavior of internet users from our country and does not destroy illegally obtained personal data, it must pay a penalty of 250,000 euros per day. Facebook appeals.

He says that Facebook collects personal data on a massive scale, but does not meet the legal requirements. The company also does not inform which private data it collects from its surfers and for which they actually use it. Or how long that information is stored exactly.

The judge has therefore decided that Facebook should stop tracking and registering the internet use of people who surf from us for as long as it does not bring its policy in accordance with the Belgian privacy law. The social media network must also destroy all unlawfully obtained personal data as quickly as possible.

If Facebook does not, it must pay a penalty of 250,000 euros per day of delay, with a maximum of 100 million euros. Facebook also has to publish the complete verdict – 84 pages long – on its website. The ordered measures will also appear in the paper newspapers in our country.

Belgium wins lawsuit against Facebook for not respecting privacy

Disappointed

Facebook says to be disappointed in the verdict and announces that it will appeal. “In recent years we have worked hard to help people understand how we use cookies to show relevant content and to secure Facebook. For example, we have put together teams that focus on the protection of privacy – from engineers to designers. And we have developed tools that give every surfer choices and control. “

The cookies and pixels that Facebook uses are, according to the company, standard in the sector. “They enable hundreds of thousands of companies to expand their business and reach customers across the EU. We expect every company that uses our technologies to give clear notice to end users. We also give people the right to opt out of using aggregated data on Facebook sites and apps for advertising. “

“We are preparing for the new General Data Protection Regulation (AVG or GDPR) with our main regulator, the Irish Commissioner for Data Protection. We will comply with this new law, just as we have complied with existing data protection legislation in Europe, “it still sounds.

Like, share and cookies

In order to collect personal data, Facebook uses three technologies: social plug-ins (the well-known like and share buttons), cookies (text files that are placed on the internet user’s computer and remain there) and the so-called Facebook Pixel. That is an invisible point that virtually looks at websites other than the social network, even among non-members. According to the Privacy Commission, the company mainly does this for commercial purposes.

“Milestone for privacy in our country”

Secretary of State for Privacy Philippe De Backer (Open Vld) is delighted with the conviction of Facebook. De Backer calls the ruling an “important milestone for privacy in our country and Europe”. He regrets that Facebook is appealing.

“The Privacy Commission rightly wrote to the court that Facebook is following internet users without their permission. “The court has now rightly ruled that this is absolutely impossible. As an internet user you need to know who you are following. Secretly follow someone without his / her permission can not, because that is a direct violation of someone’s privacy. “

De Backer regrets that Facebook is appealing and hopes that such lawsuits will soon become a thing of the past. “Thanks to the new European privacy regulations that take effect on 25 May 2018, companies such as Facebook are obliged to inform their users about what they do. Transparency becomes crucial. In addition, we have also reformed the Privacy Commission, so that violations against people’s privacy can be fined faster and more severely. “