The Brussels Court of First Instance has issued a warning to Facebook, demanding the platform cease all tracking of Belgian citizens and delete their data, or face a €100 million fine.
Europe against metadata
The decision follows the German court’s declaration that Facebook data collection policies are deemed illegal for the purposes of advertising, spurring Belgium to issue an ultimatum.
The Belgian Privacy Commission is spearheading the new legislation to combat collected web browsing information.
According to press judge Anouk Devenyns, the move is meant to curtail tracking data such as cookies, social plug-ins, likes, and shared posts.
Thickening the plot
Devenyns has also stated that Facebook’s strategy in conjunction with third-party websites “shows that even if you have never visited the Facebook domain, [they] can still follow your surfing.”
The collection of metadata also incorporates “invisible pixels” hidden within more than 10,000 sites to keep a tab on users and their surfing behaviour, which leaves the Belgian court feeling uneasy.
Secretary of State for Combating Social Fraud, Privacy and the North Seas, Philippe De Backer, sees the ruling as a victory for privacy and could effect the online climate of Europe as a whole.
Stay tuned to see of the ruling has ripple effects further abroad.
What are your thoughts on the collection of data? Is Belgium correct to be concerned? Give us your thoughts in the comments below.