Facebook faces yet another legal case over data privacy, and this time from Belgium. The case comes after a dispute in April, where the social networker disputed a report from Belgium’s Commission for the Protection of Privacy concerning its data protection measures.
Facebook (FB) sued again over data privacy
Belgium’s privacy commission has alleged that the social networking firm is not complying with local privacy legislation, as reported by news daily De Morgen. The case will be discussed in Brussels on Thursday, and could be the first of the many privacy challenges across Europe. At the beginning of this year, it was reported that other countries such as France, Spain, the Netherlands and Germany were also planning to launch an investigation.
The privacy commission claims that Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) tracks the activity of users on external websites with the ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ buttons, and the commission also claims that its communication with Facebook has been strained and random. The commission also stated that the world’s largest social networking company failed to provide an adequate response to its objections.
In a statement, a Facebook spokesperson told newspaper De Morgen that that the social networker is confident that the case by the privacy watchdog has “no merit.”
Based on a previous findings
The case is based on findings by the privacy commission in March, where they noted that the social networker records user behavior on non-Facebook websites by default until a user opts-out, and seeks no permission.
Researchers said that according to the Article 29 Working Party, an opt-out mechanism, “is not an adequate mechanism to obtain average users informed consent,” specifically with regard to behavioral advertising. Further, the commission noted that Facebook’s current opt-out approach is not in line with the requirement for legally valid consent. The report also mentioned that Facebook tracks the behavior of people who are not members of the networking site, which is against the EU’s e-privacy directive.
At that time, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) publicly challenged the findings of the report from Belgium Commission, along with publishing a wider-ranging op-ed in the Financial Times, criticizing the overreaching European privacy regulators.
Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) has seen a good bit of negative PR over privacy in Europe. Austrian Facebook user Max Schrems even pressed a case against Facebook in the European Court of Justice.