Using a laptop

Facebook is planning to appeal to a Belgian ruling made on Monday this week, which stipulated that the popular social media network could no longer collect digital information about Belgian people who aren’t Facebook users.

A court in Brussels ruled that Facebook does not have individuals’ consent to gather information about them.

Up until Monday, Facebook had collected data about people’s online activities, not only of Facebook users, but of those who don’t even have Facebook accounts, using cookies.

Facebook could face daily fines of up to $270,000 under Belgian law if it doesn’t comply with the ruling.

Although the company is taking its case to the Belgian Court of Appeal, Facebook has agreed to stop collecting online data about non-Facebook users in Belgium by the end of this week.

Watchdog group – the Belgian Privacy Commission – brought the case against Facebook, following a number of similar cases where Facebook has had to battle European online privacy.

The cookies that Facebook has been using, record any interests or preferences about a user based on their online activity which then allows the company to target the user with personalised and targeted advertising.

The ruling comes just less than a month after the European Court of Justice ruled an established data pact between the US and Europe, invalid. What this means is that US companies such as Amazon can’t track or store information about the online activity of European users, limiting their advertising potential.

These cases are the latest in a long line of cases brought against US firms regarding European data and privacy. Encouragingly for US companies, and indeed advertisers, American and European Union officials are currently trying to negotiate a new data transfer pact.