Facebook Loses Lawsuit Against Belgium, Fined €250,000 A Day Until it Complies with EU Privacy Laws

By | 17th February 2018

Facebook has long been under scrutiny over its privacy policies. The company was fined €1.2 million last year by a court in Spain for privacy violations, for example. Now, a Brussels judge has found it guilty of violating European Union privacy laws.

The decision issued this week, which stems from a 2015 lawsuit alleging that the social network illegally monitored users’ internet activity, says that the company ran afoul of EU privacy laws by failing to state which user data it saves, how long it stores the data, and how it uses it.

As a consequence, Facebook has been ordered to pay up to €250,000 a day (up to a maximum of €100 million) until it complies with Belgium’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and delete the illegally collected user data. In addition, it is required to publish the complete court verdict on its website.

It’s one of the largest fines imposed on Facebook since the social network was ordered to pay €110 million for misleading European regulators during the company’s acquisition of WhatsApp.

“We’ll comply with this new law, just as we’ve complied with existing data protection law in Europe,” Richard Allan, a spokesperson for Facebook, told HLN.

Belgium’s privacy watchdog and a plaintiff in the lawsuit, the Belgian Privacy Commission, applauded the ruling, stating, “Facebook has just launched a large campaign where they stress the importance of privacy. We hope they will now make this a reality,”

Facebook announced that it will appeal the court’s decision. “In recent years, we have worked hard to help people understand how we use cookies to display relevant content and protect Facebook,” Mr. Allen said. “We have formed teams that focus on protecting privacy, engineers developers and we have developed tools that give users choice and control options.”

It’s unclear if the company’s request for appeal will be granted.


Source: HLN (in Dutch)