Facebook “tramples” on European privacy law by tracking people without consent, Belgium’s privacy watchdog has said.The country’s Privacy Protection Commission accused Facebook of dodging questions from European regulators.
Internet users were also urged to install privacy software to stop Facebook tracking them, regardless of whether they had accounts with it.
The social network said it complied with data protection law and questioned the Belgian watchdog’s authority.
The commission attacked Facebook after trying to find out more about its practices.
“Facebook tramples on European and Belgian privacy laws,” it said after publishing a report analysing changes that the company made to its privacy policies in January.
In a statement, it said that Facebook has refused to recognise Belgian and other EU national jurisdictions, insisting it was subject only to the law in Ireland, the site of its European headquarters.
“Facebook has shown itself particularly miserly in giving precise answers,” the watchdog said, adding that the results of its study were “disconcerting”.
The body, which was working with its German, Dutch, French and Spanish counterparts, said that Facebook would not explain in detail how it used data it collected.
A Facebook spokeswoman questioned the Belgians’ authority but said it would review the study’s recommendations with the Irish data protection commissioner.
“We work hard to make sure people have control over what they share and with whom.
“Facebook is already regulated in Europe and complies with European data protection law, so the applicability of the [commission’s] efforts is unclear,” she said.
This is the second damning report this year on Facebook’s use of data from the Belgian Privacy Commission. In February, it said it placed “too much burden” on users to navigate its complex settings.