Belgium's Privacy Commission is taking Facebook to court over the social network's privacy practices, after issuing several warnings.
Last month, the country's Privacy Commission accused Facebook of breaking its privacy practices and issued a set of recommendations regarding how the social networking company should adjust its behavior.
More specifically, the privacy watchdog published several recommendations last month, targeting Facebook, its practices and its users. Two universities analyzed how Facebook tracks users, and the Privacy Commission outlined a number of instances in which Facebook should change its ways.
The commission asked Facebook to stop using cookies and social plugins to collect and use the data of Facebook users, unless it had specific, unambiguous consent from users through an opt-in. At the same time, the watchdog also asked Facebook to stop "systematically placing long-life and unique identifier cookies with non-users of Facebook." Belgium's Privacy Commission further asked the social networking company to obtain clear, unambiguous consent from its users through an opt-in for any additional collection or usage of data it obtained through cookies, "particularly for advertising purposes."
The dispute between the Privacy Commission and Facebook is now escalating, as the watchdog announced on Monday that it is taking Facebook to court over its tracking system and its treatment of those who aren't even using its social network.
This new move echoes wider backlashes from privacy regulators in Europe, as Belgium's Privacy Commission is not the only one investigating the new privacy policies Facebook implemented this year for using data from its services such as WhatsApp and Instagram, with advertising purposes in mind.
"It's not because we want to start a lawsuit over this, but we cannot continue to negotiate through other means," Willem Debeuckelaere, president of Belgium's Privacy Commission, told Belgian publication DeMorgen.
"We want a judge to impose our recommendations. These recommendations are chiefly aimed at protecting Internet users who are not Facebook members," he said.
The way Facebook tracks Internet users on external websites by using "Like" and "Share" buttons is at the core of this lawsuit, as the Privacy Commission argues that Facebook is collecting data it could use for targeted advertising.
The court hearing is reportedly set to take place on Thursday, June 18, in Brussels.