Thursday, 20 September, 2018

Facebook Is Getting Its First Big Fine Over the Cambridge Analytica Scandal

Patty Aguilar | 11 July, 2018, 14:16

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) began investigating the social media giant earlier this year, when evidence emerged that an app had been used to harvest the data of tens of millions of Facebook users worldwide.

The amount is the maximum that the agency, the Information Commissioner's Office, can levy for violation of Britain's data-privacy laws.

Lawyers have lodged a mass complaint to Australian privacy authorities on behalf of Facebook users caught up in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

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.

Don't miss out on the latest news and information. 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.

"We must change this fast as no-one should win elections using illegally obtained data", she said, adding: "We will now assess what can we do at the European Union level to make political advertising more transparent and our elections more secure".

Facebook faces a £500,000 ($665,000) fine from the UK's data protection watchdog, the ICO, for failing to protect netizens' info nor tell them how their data would be harvested by apps. "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. "But this can not be at the expense of transparency, fairness and compliance with the law", she said in a statement. She added: '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.

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Facebook has said it will be reviewing the report and responding to the ICO soon.

However, the Information Commissioner's report said other regulatory action would include a criminal prosecution against Cambridge Analytica's parent firm, SCL Elections, for failing to deal with the regulator's enforcement notice.

Her office is leading the European investigations into how such an amount of data - most belonging to U.S. and United Kingdom residents, she says - could have ended up in the hands of a consulting firm that worked on Donald Trump's USA presidential campaign.

Facebook has a chance to respond to the ICO before a final decision is made on the fine.

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

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 number of Facebook users affected by this kind of data scraping may be far greater than has now been acknowledged".

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