Tuesday, 18 September, 2018


Facebook BROKE LAW in personal data controversy, says watchdog

Bennie Garza | 11 July, 2018, 11:13

Facebook is to be hit with the maximum £500,000 ($663,000) fine over data protection breaches related to the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

However, Sky News notes that the £500,000 fine will be "pocket change" for a company valued a year ago at around $590bn (£445bn).

"A significant finding of the ICO investigation is the conclusion that Facebook has not been sufficiently transparent to enable users to understand how and why they might be targeted by a political party or campaign", Denham wrote.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has faced questioning by USA and European Union lawmakers over how Cambridge Analytica improperly got hold of the personal data of 87 million Facebook users from a researcher.

It also said it would send warning letters to 11 political parties to compel them to audit their data protection practices.

Facebook will address the proposed penalty before the watchdog makes a final ruling.

Facebook admitted in April that as many as 87 million people could have had their data shared with Cambridge Analytica, the now-defunct data firm used by the Trump campaign during the 2016 election.

The Facebook probe is part of a wider investigation into the use of data in political campaigns, which the ICO launched a year ago, the interim results of which are out today. "But this can not be at the expense of transparency, fairness and compliance with the law", ICO's information commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, said in a statement.

"New technologies that use data analytics to micro-target people give campaign groups the ability to connect with individual voters".

Facebook's chief privacy officer Erin Egan said in response to the ICO's report: "As we have said before, we should have done more to investigate claims about Cambridge Analytica and taken action in 2015. But this can not be at the expense of transparency, fairness and compliance with the law". "We're reviewing the report and will respond to the ICO soon".

The penalty from the United Kingdom data watchdog, called the Information Commissioner's Office, could change as the agency discusses the matter further with Facebook. The U.K.'s investigation found "evidence that copies of the data/parts of it also seem to have been shared with other parties and on other systems beyond", which "potentially brings into question the accuracy" of Cambridge Analytica's assertion that it wiped the data from its stores.

The ICO said its investigation is continuing and the next phase is expected to be concluded by the end of October.

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