Belgian court orders Facebook to stop collecting users’ data

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Brussels, Feb 17 (IANS) A Belgian court has ordered Facebook to stop collecting data on users or face daily penalty of 250,000 euros.

The court found the social media site guilty of breaching Belgium’s privacy laws, www.deredactie.be reported late Friday.

The Belgian Commission for the Protection of Privacy (CPP) had taken Facebook to court.

“The judge agreed with the Privacy Commission’s view that Facebook had flouted our country’s privacy legislation,” the report said.

According to the ruling: “Facebook informs us insufficiently about gathering information about us, the kind of data it collects, what it does with that data and how long it stores it. It also does not gain our consent to collect and store all this information.”

The social media sites follows its users activities by means of so-called “social-plug ins”, “cookies” and “pixels”.

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Facebook has been ordered to stop the practice straight away and delete any data that it obtained by means contrary to Belgian privacy laws.

“We are of course very stratified that the court accepted our argument in full. Facebook is currently running a big campaign stressing the importance of privacy. Let’s hope that they now put their words into practice,” Willem Debeuckelaere, Head of CPP, told VRT News.

Facebook said it will appeal against the verdict.

“We are disappointed with today’s verdict. Over the past few years we have worked hard to help people understand how we use cookies to show relevant content and to make Facebook secure,” the company said in a statement.

The European Commission (EC) has also warned Facebook and Twitter of action including enforcement measures if they fail to reform their terms of services to fully comply with the European Union’s (EU) consumer rules.

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It has found Facebook and Twitter wanting in aligning their terms of services with EU consumer protection rules.

The Commission said that it would propose new legislation in April to modernise the existing consumer law and ensure that they are properly enforced.

–IANS

na/ksk

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