Facebook Faces $124M in Fines for Belgian Data Collection

(CN) — A Brussels court warned Facebook to expect up to $124 million in fines if it does not comply with an order to stop collecting data about Belgians, a newspaper there reported Friday.

De Standaard said the ruling follows a lawsuit by Belgium’s Privacy Commission, which accused Facebook of secretly tracking the internet activity of people, regardless of whether they had Facebook accounts.

The Court of Brussels reportedly agreed with the commission that Facebook does not respect Belgian privacy law.

“Like the Privacy Commission, the court comes to the conclusion that Facebook does not adequately inform us about the fact that it collects information about us, about the nature of the information it collects about us, about what it does with that information and about how long it store information,” the court ruled, according to a translation. “In addition, Facebook does not obtain valid permission from us to collect and process all that information.”

The order directs Facebook to stop tracking and registering internet usage by Belgians online, and to destroy any data it gathered illegally. The Privacy Commission will fine Facebook $311,500 every day, up to $124 million, for every day it does not comply.

Facebook told De Staandard that it will appeal. “The cookies and pixels we use are standard in the sector,” Facebook said in a statement. “We also give people the right to opt out of using aggregated data on Facebook sites and apps for advertising.”


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