Belgian court ordered Facebook to stop tracking non-members


Who: Facebook
What: Belgian court ordered it to stop tracking non-members within 48 hours
When: 10 November 2015

A court of Belgium on 10 November 2015 asked Facebook to stop tracking the country’s Internet users who are not members of the US-based social networking website. It gave 48 hours to the social networking site to stop tracking people in Belgium.

The ruling was pronounced on a case lodged in June 2015 by the Belgian Privacy Commission, which said Facebook indiscriminately tracks Internet users when they click like or share on the website. It said that the site uses a special cookie called Datr that lodges on internet users’ device to track their activities.

The court said that the company was obliged to obtain consent to collect the information being gathered.

If Facebook fails to comply, it could face a fine of up to 250000 euros (269000 dollars) per day to the Belgian Privacy Commission.

Facebook says it will appeal against the decision and that the order relates to a cookie it has used for five years. The cookie is installed when an internet user visits a Facebook page even if they are not members.

Cookies are simple files that track whether a user has visited a website before and notify the site itself. They can track a number of user activities, such as how long they stayed, what they clicked and any preferences selected.