back to article Facebook to Belgian data cops: Block all the cookies across the web, then!

Facebook has confirmed that it will temporarily comply with an order from a Belgian court to stop tracking people who don't have accounts on the free content ad network. However, it has attempted to frame Belgium's privacy watchdog's successful complaint as flawed by claiming that blocking its data cookie will expose netizens …

  1. mathew42
    Devil

    IE couldn't be separated from windows

    > "We maintain our position that the datr cookie plays an essential role in ensuring the security of the Facebook Service, and we are confident that the evidence will demonstrate this conclusively," she said.

    Reminds me of Microsoft's claims that IE could not be separated from Windows.

    1. g e

      Boo hoo, Schmuckerberg

      Exactly.

      If your cookie provides security for real users of your infrastructure (even when consumed by non-users, somehow) then you built it wrong you clown.

      Obviously, though, it was neither worth 250k/day nor setting the lawyers loose. Just worth a whingey-whiny bit of mealy-mouthed statement. Nothing, in other words.

      These megacorps are just like spoilt little children.

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: Boo hoo, Schmuckerberg

        These megacorps are just like spoilt little children.

        In this case, definitely yes because a quick look at Zuck... the company follows in the shadow of the leader.

      2. veti Silver badge

        Re: Boo hoo, Schmuckerberg

        Built it wrong? No, they built it exactly the way they meant to build it.

        You don't imagine that architecture was the result of honest human error, do you?

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Mushroom

      "ensuring the security of the Facebook Service"

      I note the wording of that phrase : the security that is ensured by the cookie is the security of the service, not the security of the users. That is not something that I will put in doubt.

      However, I am quite certain that there are only two things that are ensuring my security : NoScript and the fact that I have Facebook redirected to 128.0.0.1 in my hosts file.

      1. Sanctimonious Prick
        WTF?

        Re: "ensuring the security of the Facebook Service"

        128.0.0.1? Have you manually configured that as your loopback address?

  2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    so...

    The absence of a tracking cookie is a security threat?

    Do FB think that we were born yesterday?

    1. Titus Aduxass

      Re: so...

      "Do FB think that we were born yesterday?"

      No.

      Facebook knows exactly how old you are. And your friends and your children...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: so...

        @Titus

        No they don't - I Lied! :-)

        Date of Birth - so that they can pretend to take the moral high ground about children accessing the platform.

        Anon - as I wouldn't want to admit publicly that I have an account.

        1. Danny 14 Silver badge

          Re: so...

          but all the other sites that sold your data to facebook has been corroborated with your friends celebrating your birthday, anniversaries, holidays (with pictures so they identify you).

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: so...

          Found you....

          https://www.facebook.com/edwardsnowdenprism/

  3. msknight

    "We're disappointed we were unable to reach an agreement and now people will be required to log in or register for an account to see publicly available content on Facebook."

    ... in other words... they wouldn't let us track you without your consent, so we're going to force you to GIVE us your consent to see anything on the platform.

    1. cortland

      No force involved

      But nothing says they have to be subtle!

    2. Infernoz Bronze badge
      FAIL

      Crocodile tears and self-harm me thinks...

      It is one of several 'social' corporations who "drive by" track people outside of its sites too, via images etc., so it needs to be fracked up moar.

      This bogus login requirement will further reduce the relevance of both face-palm and it's members.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      the cookie monster strikes

      But this is effectively what happened when the law around cookies was changed - all that happened was we just have an extra mouse click on every site. Although we got more transparency it didn't provide an effective way of opting out so most sites we end up accepting the cookies to access the sites :(

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: the cookie monster strikes

        "so most sites we end up accepting the cookies to access the sites"

        And even worse, some sites use a BIG message you have to click on but it won't go away unless you allow javascripting for them too.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Exactly

      Which is why Facebork, Twatter, Slowgram, spewTube etc are all blocked at my router both incoming and outgoing.

      There are No (to my knowledge) any pictures on any Social Media of my good self.

      A plague on all of them. My they all die a horrible death.

      {a relative of mine killed herself because of Social Media Trolls. None of them would do anything to stop them. She was accused of very serious crimes by the <redacted>. Hence my post is AC}

    5. The Travelling Dangleberries
      Facepalm

      Duh!

      "We're disappointed we were unable to reach an agreement and now people will be required to log in or register for an account to see publicly available content on Facebook."

      So how can it be called "publicly available content" if it isn't publicly available anymore?

  4. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Surely those who don't use Facebook don't face a security threat? Therefore who gives a fcuk about the others? It's FB's problem of not ensuring all it's customers don't use 2 way autherntication to log in, or do like the banks use, those little number generator devices. They've certainly got the money to hand those out.

  5. cortland

    Eh

    Be careful what you ask for; you may get it. Now Belgians will have to be subscribers to access Facebook(tm) content.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Eh

      Good...

    2. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      Re: Eh

      As noted; that's not what anyone asked for. It is Facebook who have decided 'if we aren't allowed to track readers, we will block content until the reader registers and login'.

      That's fine; I won't be reading any public content hosted by Facebook then. Facebook users who want to put content in the public domain will have to do so without Facebook hosting. I doubt it's going to hurt surfers more more than it harms Facebook.

      1. Dazed and Confused

        Re: Eh

        hasn't someone written a tool that constantly stuffs random data into the cookie to keep FB confused?

      2. Sebby

        Re: Eh

        Quite so. I already block all Facebook domains at DNS-level, effectively separating me from Facebook and the mountains of crud on it. So far, all I see is an improvement in page load time across the net, as well as my overall spiritual wellbeing, and the only news I've missed is that letter FB's chief wrote to his sprog, which El Reg quoted enough of to reassure me that I really didn't want to see the rest of it anyway.

        So it's all good. FB can go to hell and take their tracking and we-don't-give-a-toss-about-privacy attitude with them. They are indistinguishable from an ad network--perhaps because they are an ad network--and I treat them with the same intense loathing.

    3. petur

      Re: Eh

      I already read some comments from politicians that doing so is also breaking the law, so another lawsuit is on the way...

      FB has made plenty of money from the users, now it's pay back time

    4. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Eh

      > Now Belgians will have to be subscribers to access Facebook(tm) content

      And this is a problem how? The facebookless will live on, content to not see the fervid outdribblings, the facebooked will carry on living out their multitudinous lives in the full glare of irrelevance.

      Everyone happy. Apart from the Facebook data drones. Win, win.

  6. theOtherJT

    s/security/profitability

    "We maintain our position that the datr cookie plays an essential role in ensuring the security profitability of the Facebook Service, and we are confident that the evidence will demonstrate this conclusively,"

    There you go Facebook, fixed that one for you. I'll waive my usual consulting fee.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: s/security/profitability

      Is it even profitable?....

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This:

    We maintain our position that the datr cookie plays an essential role in ensuring the security of the Facebook Service, and we are confident that the evidence will demonstrate this conclusively,"

    We maintain our position that the datr cookie plays an essential role in ensuring the shopping, browsing and general internet habits of both registered Facebook users and casual browsers without an account are plundered and then stored, for ever, with no chance of redress, on our database, and we are confident that the evidence will demonstrate this conclusively,"

    TFTFY.

  8. Martin Summers Silver badge

    Complete and utter bullshit. Like claiming the web would stop working if Facebook didn't exist. That would be amazing if it did shut down, people would start building personal homepages again. Actually then again perhaps some things are best left to the 90's...

    1. The First Dave

      Aaaahh Facebook, can't live with it ...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Block all the cookies

    Umm.. why not? Sure, it'd break 99% of the web, but since the browser companies are pushing HTTPS so hard, how about takin' the old cookies out behind the shed? Either you're for privacy, or you're against it.

    Cookies are crap anyway. They are sent in every request header including AJAX, and there are sites with 5k cookies * 200 requests = 1M upload bandwidth wasted. WTF.

    1. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Re: Block all the cookies

      I already do (except session cookies) and almost the only thing that breaks is when the occasional braindead site gets into a permanent redirection loop. There are far more sites that break because of AdBlock and its like - and that's their problem, not mine!

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: Block all the cookies

        It wouldn't kill the web. Try surfing individual sites in privacy mode, the internet doesn't suddenly die. If I'm using cashback sites I spawn each search in a fresh privacy mode so I always get the cashback, impossible to do so if you surf normally.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Block all the cookies

          Private/Incognito mode doesn't disable all cookies, it just deletes them after you close your private tabs.

          If you completely disable cookies... well actually, a lot of sites still work. Let's do this. All we need is an "AC" icon in the address bar that users can toggle off for sites they actually want to log into or "be remembered" by. It would be manageable.

  10. Buzzword

    Belgian police

    Because it's not as if the Belgian authorities have anything else to do, right?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Belgian police

      As a Belgian, I hope that our "authorities" don't get involved in this. They might fuck it up.

      Pretty amazing that the BPC can go through with this, since all we see and hear nowadays in Belgium is about tracking people and rolling out the red carpet for big corps.

    2. Martin Summers Silver badge

      Re: Belgian police

      And it's not as if the world has come to a stop in other respects is it? Or are you sat there doing nothing else but waiting to hear about the next attack on the news?

  11. VinceH

    "We had hoped to address the BPC [Belgian Privacy Commission]'s concerns in a way that allowed us to continue using a security cookie that protected Belgian people from more than 33,000 takeover attempts in the past month."

    If reality was a town, Facebook must have punched the wrong postcode into their satnav.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What a load of absolute tripe and bollocks from Facebook... oh okay no change there!

  13. hapticz

    hint

    add "facebook*.*" to your HOSTS file NOW!

    & look for other proxy names they use also, this fukkerberg shmuck is a sly devil!

    1. captain veg

      Re: hint

      Um, you know that the hosts file syntax doesn't allow wildcards? Your router's configuration is probably a better place to start.

      -A.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Powerful cookies

    a security cookie that protected Belgian people from more than 33,000 takeover attempts in the past month

    So this cookie has thwarted 33,000 coup attempts in one month? Wow!

    Though why anyone would be so keen to take over Belgium I don't know.

    1. Kevin Johnston Silver badge

      Re: Powerful cookies

      Umm...for the chocolate?

      1. Vinyl-Junkie
        Pint

        Re: Powerful cookies

        "Umm...for the chocolate?"

        And the beer!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Powerful cookies

      They have alcoves in Belgium, you use this word alcoves? Alcoves, yes. It's kind of like nooks and crannies.

      1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: Powerful cookies

        Whereas Facebook is all crooks and nannies

  15. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    It's my ball and I'm going home now!

    It almost as if the Facebook board meeting almost decided to just block the whole of Belgium from accessing Facebook completely out of spite. Then someone mentioned the loss of advertising revenue so they decided to cut their losses and just block all Belgian non-members.

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