Facebook given ultimatum to change or be fined €250k per day!

On Monday, a Belgian court gave Facebook just 48 hours to stop tracking internet users who don’t have accounts with the social media giant. If they fail to comply, or choose to ignore the court order, Facebook could be saddled with a $269,000 a day fine.

The court order follows an investigation that was launched by Belgium’s privacy watchdog back in June. The results of the investigation claimed that Facebook tracking of users who visited their site was ‘indiscriminate.’

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Facebook has said that it will appeal against the decision.

The decisions centers around the installation of Facebook’s Datr cookie that is installed whenever someone visits a Facebook page, regardless of whether they are a member or not.

The cookie in question, can apparently stay lodged on user devices for up to 2 years, and lets Facebook gather any information it wants about that user’s history in any dealing with a Facebook page.

Facebook insists that the cookie is safe however:

“We’ve used the Datr cookie for more than five years to keep Facebook secure for 1.5 billion people around the world,”

The Belgian court ruled that Facebook was obligated under Belgian law to seek and obtain consent from users to allow the collection of information that is being gathered.

“Today the judge… ordered the social network Facebook to stop tracking and registering Internet usage by people who surf the Internet in Belgium, in the 48 hours which follow this statement,” the court said in a statement.

The court decision is just the latest in a series of legal setbacks Facebook has faced over the years in Europe.

Only last month, the highest court in the European Union ruled that  the “Safe Harbor” deal that allowed the transfer of personal information between the EU and the US was not valid, as there was not sufficient protection for users from the snooping of spy agencies. The case, brought by Max Schrems, led the European Court Of Justice effectively ruling that Safe Harbor was illegal.

Before that, the Belgian Privacy Commission president said that Facebook’s use of individual’s data needed “tackling,” and was “disrespectful.”