Facebook faces fine in Belgium for repeatedly breaking privacy laws

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Belgium courts rule again that Facebook illegally tracks non-users by deploying technology such as cookies and social plug-ins.

Facing fines of up to €100 million, the company broke privacy laws and were sued by a Belgium privacy watchdog in 2015. After failing to provide a substantial response, Belgium courts took them to court. However, Facebook continues to skirt the issue.

The issue is that Facebook uses internet surveillance to build virtual portfolios of internet users, even when they are not Facebook users. The portfolios go towards advertising data.

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Bad Big Brother

A Tech Crunch article reports the statements of one of the key players in holding Facebook accountable.

“Facebook collects information about us all when we surf the Internet,” explains the Belgian privacy watchdog, referring to findings from its earlier investigation of Facebook’s use of tracking technologies. “To this end, Facebook uses various technologies, such as the famous ‘cookies’ or the ‘social plug-ins’ (for example, the ‘Like’ or ‘Share’ buttons) or the ‘pixels’ that are invisible to the naked eye. It uses them on its website but also and especially on the websites of third parties. Thus, the survey reveals that even if you have never entered the Facebook domain, Facebook is still able to follow your browsing behavior without you knowing it, let alone, without you wanting it, thanks to these invisible pixels that Facebook has placed on more than 10,000 other sites.”

The company’s data collection processes are contentious in other countries. As well, other mega-media corporations carryout invasive surveillance.

An investigation on tracking by Quartz Media revealed that Google has been collecting data from Android devices since 2017. Often times, data collection occurs without the person’s consent; or at the very least, their knowledge.

In 2015, Google officially became Alphabet. After the mega tech company was bought, the organization was restructured into subsidiaries called units. The unit behind Android at Alphabet, accesses data about individuals’ locations and their movements even when they have turned off their location on their smartphones.

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