Four Nations Join Belgium to Demand Facebook Rein in Cookies
Privacy authorities in four European countries join Belgium to demand that Facebook stop setting cookies for non-members, despite Facebook's claim that this is a security measure.A Belgium court ruled in November that Facebook must stop setting cookies for visitors who do not have an account on the social network. Now, four more European countries have made the same demand. On Dec. 3, Facebook complied with the Belgian court order and warned that non-members would not receive a specific cookie—known as the "datr" cookie—and would be blocked from access to content on the site. In addition, the social network’s ability to stop more than 400,000 account takeover attempts each day would be affected, Alex Stamos, chief security officer for Facebook, said in a blog post. "In the absence of the datr cookie, we will have to treat any visit to Facebook from an unrecognized browser in Belgium as potentially malicious," he said. "As a result, people in Belgium will see some changes to the way Facebook works." Belgium, however, is no longer alone. On Dec. 4, privacy authorities in four other European countries, France, Germany, Netherlands and Spain, joined the Belgian Privacy Commission in requesting that Facebook stop tracking any citizens who were not members of the social network. It's unclear whether other nations may be readying their own requests to prevent the company from tracking citizens who are not members of the social-media service.
"Most of this tracking is invisible to the regular user, and the more they find out about what is going on, the more that it clashes with their expectations of privacy," said Danny O’Brien, international director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a pro-digital rights group.