Belgium Takes Facebook to Court Over Privacy Breach, France Gives Ultimatum to Google


Belgium’s Privacy Protection Commission (CPP) accused Facebook of tracking the browsing habits of users and non-users, particularly through the use of plug-ins and cookies. Belgium made claims that Facebook is tracking people on the web and asked the court to ban Facebook from monitoring the online movements of non-users immediately.

The Belgian entity has taken Facebook to court over the claim that Facebook are outrageously breaching the European Union’s Privacy laws and it is working alongside German, Dutch, French and Spanish authorities on this.

Facebook is based in Ireland and is regulated in Europe by the Irish Data Protection Commissioner. Following the claims made by CPP, Facebook stated that the organisation is more than willing to cooperate with CPP through dialogue with Facebook Ireland and the Irish Data Protection Commission.

Furthermore, the social media giant said that they want to address the CPP’s concerns despite there being no merit to the Belgian case. In the past, Facebook had already stated that the position of Belgium’s commission with regards to these matters was unclear.

Facebook further defended its actions by pointing out that the use of cookies has been a standard within the industry for more than 15 years and this is also mentioned in the report that Belgium’s CCP issued last month.

The two entities were meant to discuss the CPP’s concerns with regards to this potential breach of privacy on the 19th June, however, as revealed by a spokeswoman on behalf of the Belgian commission, the case was taken to court after Facebook failed to provide satisfactory answers to questions posed last month.

On a similar note, France’s data protection authority, CNIL, will be filing a report against Google should the latter fail to comply with CNIL’s request to have the data of certain individuals delisted from its database. This relates to a ruling issued last year by the European Court of Justice about the ‘right to be forgotten’ whereby European citizens could submit an application to Google to have irrelevant, outdated or harmful data linked to them delisted from search engine indexes.

CNIL has given Google a 15-day time-frame within which to comply with its request before taking further action. It appears that certain European member states are taking the issue of data protection and privacy extremely seriously and requesting very specific action to be taken by the industry’s moguls of our age.