BRUSSELS, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- California-based social media giant Facebook is facing fines of $269,000 a day for its refusal to cease storing data on non-Facebook account holders.
A Belgian court Monday ruled in favor of a local watchdog group which filed suit in June claiming Facebook did not comply with Belgian privacy laws.
This means the fines will begin 48 hours after the Monday ruling.
Specifically, the court took issue with cookie technology used by Facebook which allows the company to store info users who visit Facebook pages, regardless of whether they have a Facebook account or not. The company picks up and stores this info for up to two years.
Belgian commission president Willem Debeuckelaere called the practice "disrespectful."
In response, the company insisted the privacy laws only apply to Facebook in Ireland, where its European headquarters is located.
Additionally, Facebook CSO Alex Stamo said in October that use of the cookie technology allows visits by Belgian users to the site to be treated as legitimate attempts to access the site. Forbidding the use of the cookie would require the company to "deploy a range of other verification methods for people to prove that they are the legitimate owners of their account."
The court did not find this argument to be valid, labeling it "not credible" and failing to see how the technology is necessary for Facebook's security.
Additionally, USA Today says industry officials representing the European Union and its 28 member nations are evaluating whether Facebook breached Union law after a personal data and photos police change last year.