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Belgium tells Facebook to reign in user tracking

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Belgium's Privacy Commission thinks that "Facebook tramples on European and Belgian privacy laws," and said it would take legal action if its latest recommendations aren't obeyed. A new report follows previous accusations from the nation that Facebook illegally tracks users with numerous cookies, even if they don't have an account. It said that because the social network is one of the few sites that can link internet activities to real identities, it merits deeper scrutiny than the average third party tracker. As such, the commission has demanded that Facebook seek explicit consent from users before tracking them in order to comply with EU laws.

European law requires consent for cookies or tracking when a user first visits a site, except under certain conditions. The Belgian commission wants Facebook to track users only when they're logged in, with any cookies expiring upon logout. It also demanded that it modify its "like" and other plugins so that visits to third-party websites don't result in user data being sent to Zuckerberg and Co.

A new European law is expected to pass this year that could allow for fines of up to 5 percent of a company's revenue.

For its part, Facebook feels it confirms to the letter of Euro privacy laws and previously offered to discuss the matter with Belgian regulators. However, the commission retorted that "Facebook has shown itself particularly miserly in giving precise answers," and found responses it did give "disconcerting." There's no word on exactly how the nation plans to punish Facebook if they can't work things out, but the social network is also under fire in The Netherlands and from the EU's own regulators. Facebook has reason to be concerned, as the EU has been strict with Google over the "right to be forgotten." On top of that, a new European law is expected to pass this year that could allow for fines of up to 5 percent of a company's revenue.

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