Friday, 21 September, 2018


Facebook hit with penalty and fined £500,000 over Cambridge data row

Facebook hit with penalty and fined £500,000 over Cambridge data row Facebook hit with penalty and fined £500,000 over Cambridge data row
Bennie Garza | 11 July, 2018, 15:06

On Tuesday, U.K. watchdogs announced a $664,000 preliminary fine - the maximum amount allowed - after finding Facebook lacked strong privacy protections and overlooked critical warning signs that might have prevented Cambridge Analytica from trying to manipulate public opinion on behalf of clients around the world, including those who sought to withdraw Britain from the European Union in 2016. Had the breach occurred after May this year, Facebook may have faced a far greater fine under the new data protection law, a maximum of 4pc of global turnover or €20m (£18m), whichever was highest.

Media Committee chairman Damian Collins commented: "Given that the ICO is saying that Facebook broke the law, it is essential that we now know which other apps that ran on their platform may have scraped data in a similar way".

In a statement issued in advance, information commissioner Elizabeth Denham warned that voters' faith in the political system was being eroded. She said she would consider its response before reaching a final decision. "But this can not be at the expense of transparency, fairness and compliance with the law". It's also about half of what the Spanish data protection authorities a year ago extracted from to the firm for privacy failings.

Despite the proposed fine being a record for the watchdog, campaigners said it was "unacceptable", as under new data laws the penalty could have totalled more than £450 million.

"Trust and confidence in the integrity of our democratic processes risk being disrupted because the average voter has little idea of what is going on behind the scenes", she said.

"We have been working closely with the ICO in their investigation of Cambridge Analytica, just as we have with authorities in the USA and other countries", Facebook's chief privacy officer Erin Egan added in a statement reported by the Post.

British politicians are now calling on Facebook to be more transparent about its internal investigation into data misuse.

The London-based firm worked for Donald Trump's campaign team in the 2016 USA presidential election and used the data to build a software program to predict and try to influence votes.

OAIC is conducting its own investigation into whether Facebook breached the Privacy Act, which obligates organisations to ensure customers are notified about the collection and handling of their personal information.

The ICO said it expects to have wrapped up these investigations by the end of October.

Facebook could face a hefty compensation bill in Australia after a leading litigation funder lodged a complaint with the country's privacy regulator over users' personal data shared with a British political consultancy. "We have been working closely with the ICO in their investigation of Cambridge Analytica, just as we have with authorities in the USA and other countries".

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