Facebook in the Dock, Faces Privacy Lawsuit by Belgian DPA

Facebook in the Dock, Faces Privacy Lawsuit by Belgian DPA

In a move that is sure to unsettle Facebook, is the Belgian Data Protection Authority’s civil suit against its tracking of non-users via social plugins. The social networking giant landed in the dock after the watchdog accused it of a host of privacy violations.

The civil suit came after the DPA’s last month’s recommendation to Facebook regarding the same. In an earlier action, the watchdog had condemned Facebook for the lack of transparency around its data collection practices, wherein they alleged that it flouted the European Law. These violations included not securing valid consent from users for processing their data, using the data to build online profiles and conditional opt-outs from viral marketing.

The DPA’s suit comes also in the wake of Facebook’s refusal to recognize the jurisdiction of the Belgian DPA to act on such matters. Facebook had maintained that since it has its European headquarters in Ireland, therefore, it is only the authority of the Irish DPA to rule on data protection issues pertaining to its business.

What is worth noting among the charges brought up by the DPA, is Facebook’s policy of pulling together information both users and non-Facebook users, via cookies and social plug-ins. Facebook through its ‘like’ feature, figures almost on every conceivable website and app. It tracks the non-user activity via one of its cookies called ‘datr’, which contains a unique identifier and for the users of Facebook, it uses a range of additional cookies that uniquely identify the user.

However, Facebook was disappointed with the DPA’s move and maintained that, it was still due to meet with the watchdog on Friday for further discussions.

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