Thursday, 20 September, 2018

Facebook faces maximum fine in British Cambridge Analytica inquiry

Patty Aguilar | 12 July, 2018, 03:26

After news from the United Kingdom that the country's information watchdog is going for the maximum possible financial fine (which turns out to be just £500K), Australia appears to be the next in line.

Denham claims Facebook broke the law by not being able to protect people's information and hadn't been open about how data was harvested from their platform. "But this can not be at the expense of transparency, fairness and compliance with the law", wrote Denham in a statement.

"We are fully cooperating with the investigation now under way by the Australian Privacy Commissioner and will review any additional evidence that is made available when the UK Office of the Information Commissioner releases their report", the spokeswoman said. The commissioner's office identified one of the companies, Emma's Diary, as being used by the British Labour Party, BBC said.

Fair Vote's director, Kyle Taylor, told Business Insider that he was anxious that Facebook wouldn't face a sufficiently large penalty. Facebook banned the company earlier this year, saying it had improperly received as many as 87 million user profiles leaked from its service.

It could be the first in a series of penalties for Facebook, political parties, data companies and academics as a result of the scandal.

The ICO isn't just looking at Facebook and Cambridge Analytica-indeed, it folded this affair into a pre-existing investigation into the use of data analytics in political campaigns.

In March 2017, the ICO began looking into whether personal data had been misused by campaigns on both sides of the UK's 2016 European Union referendum.

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"It shows the scale of the problem and that we are doing the right thing with our new data protection rules", she said. However, the incident was only made public this year thanks to a whistleblower, and the ICO believes Cambridge Analytica not only failed to delete the information as requested, but indeed shared it with others.

Mail.Ru told CNN it had not been contacted by Facebook about its investigation into the misuse of user data.

In a roughly 40-page report, British regulators faulted Facebook for allowing Cambridge University researcher Aleksandr Kogan to build an app that collected data about Facebook users as well as their friends on behalf of Cambridge Analytica.

"Engagement with the electorate is vital to the democratic process; it is therefore understandable that political campaigns are exploring the potential of advanced data analysis tools to help win votes".

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

Facebook will get a chance to respond to the proposed penalties before the ICO releases a final decision.

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a statement to CNN that Facebook's relationship with Mail.Ru deserved further scrutiny.

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