Tuesday, June 16, 2015

OpenStack 06/16/2015 (p.m.)

  • Tags: surveillance state, Facebook, litigation, Belgium, EU, privacy

    • The Belgian government will be suing Facebook. The Commission for the Protection of Privacy states that Facebook violates Belgian and EU law by tracking systems that target both Facebook users as well as non-Facebook users. Facebook is known for cooperating with the U.S.’ National Security Agency. 
    • The Belgian privacy watchdog’s case against the internet giant Facebook will be heard at a court in Brussels on Thursday. The Commission has repeatedly requested that Facebook should comply with Belgian and EU law.

      Facebook failed to comply, and the Commission has no power to enforce the law; hence the decision to sue Facebook to attain a a court ruling. The President of the Commission for the Protection of Privacy, Willem Debeuckelaere, told the press that:

      “Facebook treats its users’ private lives without respect and that needs tackling. It’s not because we want to start a lawsuit over this, but we cannot continue to negotiate through other means. .. We want a judge to impose our recommendations. These recommendations are chiefly aimed at protecting internet users who are not Facebook members.”

    • The Belgian privacy watchdog alleges that Facebook tracks the web browsing of all visitors, including those who have specifically turned the tracking function off; This gathering of private information allegedly also includes those who do not have a Facebook account.

      Moreover, the Commission claims that Facebook has the capability to surveil computers without consent, even when users are logged out; and Facebook can monitor every PC of users that use websites with Facebook plugins.

      The capability to monitor both Facebook users and non-Facebook users allegedly functions via Cookies that store information about user’s internet activities, including preferential settings of websites and which websites internet users have visited.

      The Commission claims that Facebook installs these Cookies on all computers that visit websites that for example have a Facebook plugin to share internet content. That includes the computers of persons who do not make use of Facebook’s “share” or “like” button.

    • In other words, Facebook has the capacity to monitor your browser settings as well as which websites you have visited if you have read this article or any other article on any website that contains a Facebook “share” button, whether you “like” it or not.

      The Commissions lawsuit against Facebook is or particular importance due to the fact that the corporation is known for its cooperation with the United States’ National Security Agency (NSA). While the lawsuit is of particular interest for Belgian and EU citizens, it also sheds light on Facebook’s monitoring of U.S. citizens.


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