Belgian court orders Facebook to stop tracking internet surfers

Belgian court orders Facebook to stop tracking internet surfers

The court ruled that the social network has broken Belgium's privacy laws by tracking people on third-party websites without their explicit knowledge.

The court has also ordered Facebook to delete all data it had collected illegally on citizens of Belgium, including those who didn't use the social network.

A Belgian court on Friday ordered Facebook to stop tracking Belgian citizens' online activity on third-party websites - or face up to €100 million ($125 million) in fines.

"Facebook illuminates us inadequately about social event data about us, the sort of information it gathers, what it does with that information and to what extent it stores it", the court said in an announcement.

For a situation brought by Belgium's protection guard dog, the court additionally decided that Facebook needed to erase all information it had assembled unlawfully on Belgian subjects, including individuals who were not Facebook clients. The CPP commissioned a report which found that the social network is tracking of all visitors without explicit consent using cookies, and it breached European Union law.

Facebook, which will be fined 250,000 euros a day or up to 100 million euros if it does not comply with the court's judgement, said in a statement it would appeal the ruling.

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The ruling was the latest development in a long-simmering legal spat started by Belgian's privacy watchdog, which says the social network flouts its data protection rules with its tracking code created to micro-target customers with advertisements.

The latest ruling against Facebook's treatment of personal data comes after a German court found that its opted-in privacy terms and conditions were insufficiently clear.

It won its case, but Facebook had the verdict overturned in 2016.

Facebook said it was "disappointed" by the verdict.

"We'll comply with this new law, just as we've complied with existing data protection law in Europe", said Richard Allan, Facebook's vice president of public policy for Europe, Middle East Africa.

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