Facebook won the appeal in a trial concerning the company’s right to store data from non-users.
The case was against the data protection agency in Belgium, which requested Facebook to stop tracking users that are not logged into the site. The order involved the website and the “like” and “share” actions which connect users with other places on the internet.
The court ruling decided that the Belgian Commission for the Protection of Privacy has no jurisdiction over Facebook.
The Commission commented that the decision shows only that the citizens cannot obtain enough protection through local tribunals. The authority plans to launch an appeal to the Belgian Court of Cassation, which has already overruled cases that involved foreign companies.
The recent decision came after in 2015; a lower court ordered Facebook to stop the tracking of people who were not logged in or did not have a Facebook account. The decision came with hundreds of thousand dollar fines for each day the company would not comply.
As a consequence of this strict decision, Facebook stopped the non-users tracking and introduced a condition that people who were not logged in were not permitted to access public pages. Another measure was to stop using long-life cookies that were used to store identification information from non-users. Moreover, the existing cookies were deleted by the company.
The social media company’s success in court will not be final, as the Belgian Commission based its appeal on EU privacy laws. Therefore, it is possible that other European nations will start to bring to justice requests similar to Belgium’s recent privacy case.
Germany and the Netherlands are two other countries that had privacy concerns in regards to Facebook’s practices. Both countries had been a part of a European task force that analyzed the company’s compliance with the European law.
Another option to fight Facebook’s practice of storing information is for the individuals to request the company to stop tracking.
The example given is the one of Max Schrems, who brought a case against Facebook’s transmissions of data between EU and US. The legal action ended in the plaintiff’s favor. Encouraged by the results, Schrems initiated a second case on the same subject with the same company.
The final stage for the privacy case would be the Court of Justice of the European Union, and it is believed that due to the importance of the issues the cases will be followed through up to the highest level of authority.
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