THE LEVANT NEWS — A court in Belgium has issued Facebook with an ultimatum to stop tracking the online activities of non-users of the social media site or face a £180,000 fine for each day it does not comply.
Belgium’s data protection regulator took the company to court in June, accusing it of trampling on EU privacy law by tracking people who did not have a Facebook account without their consent.
In question is the ‘datr’ cookie which Facebook places on people’s browsers when they visit a Facebook.com site or click a Facebook ‘Like’ button on other websites, even when they aren’t logged in.
It allows the site to track the online activities of that browser.
Facebook insists the cookie only identifies browsers, not people and helps it to distinguish legitimate visits from those by attackers.
‘We’ve used the ‘datr’ cookie for more than five years to keep Facebook secure for 1.5 billion people around the world,’ a spokesperson said.
The company has also argued that since it has its European headquarters in Ireland it should be regulated solely by the Irish Data Protection Commissioner.
That argument was rejected by the Belgian privacy regulator.
Mr Tommelein said the fact that the Brussels court had ruled meant it had jurisdiction over the company.