Facebook is spying on people around the world ‘just like America’s NSA’ says data protection watchdog during court hearing in Belgium where the company is accused of violating privacy laws
The Belgian Privacy Commission has brought a lawsuit against the social network, after accusing it of ‘trampling all over European privacy laws’.
Frederic Debussere, a lawyer representing the privacy commission, made the comparison with the NSA during opening statements.
The Guardian reports that Mr Debussere, referring to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revalations, told a Belgian court at a hearing in Brussels on Monday: ‘When it became known that the NSA was spying on people all around the world, everybody was upset.
‘This actor [Facebook] is doing the very same thing, albeit in a different way.’
The data protection authority, which accuses Facebook of tracking non-users and those who have logged out of their accounts for advertising purposes, is threatening Facebook with a fine of 250,000 euros each day.
In May, the commission accused the social network of tracking people online without consent while dodging questions from national regulators.
At the time, it said in a statement that Facebook has refused to recognise Belgian and other EU national jurisdictions – as the company insists it is subject only to Irish law, which is where its European headquarters are based.
Ireland is in Europe – therefore European Law takes precedence.
Germany fights Facebook over real names policy
The Hamburg data protection authority said on Tuesday that the site could not force users to give official ID such as a passport or identity card, nor could it unilaterally change their chosen names to their “real” names on the sit
The Hamburg data protection authority said on Tuesday that the site could not force users to give official ID such as a passport or identity card, nor could it unilaterally change their chosen names to their “real” names on the site.
He added that the requirement to use a real name violates the rights, enshrined in German law, to use a pseudonym, while requests for digital copies of an official photo ID also contradict the passport and ID card law. In addition, he said that “the unauthorised modification of the pseudonym … blatantly violated the right to informational self-determination and constitutes a deliberate infringement of the Data Protection Act”.