Facebook hit with U.K. fine over user privacy

Evarado Alatorre
Julio 11, 2018

Facebook is expected to receive Britain's maximum possible fine for allowing Cambridge Analytica to improperly access user data, its first penalty related to the leak of millions of users' personal information.

But it would represent the first tangible punishment for the company's privacy scandal, which tarnished its reputation, temporarily pushed down its shares and forced CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify before Congress, but otherwise had few lasting repercussions.

The UK's data protection watchdog, the Information Commissioner's Office, has found the company lacking sufficient privacy protections and failing to catch third party companies like Cambridge Analytica misusing its users' data despite warnings.

IMF Bentham said it had partnered with law firm Johnson Winter & Slattery to lodge the complaint with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner. The fine "sends a clear signal that I consider this a significant issue, especially when you look at the scale and the impact of this kind of data breach".

Just 53 Australians downloaded the "this is your digital life" Facebook quiz app responsible for the Cambridge Analytica data breach.

Cambridge Analytica used data from millions of Facebook accounts to help Donald Trump's 2016 presidential election campaign.

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Facebook can respond to the commissioner before a final decision is made, and said it was reviewing the report and would respond soon.

In a statement, Facebook responded to the findings by acknowledging it "should have done more to investigate claims about Cambridge Analytica and take action in 2015".

The probe "concluded that Facebook contravened the law by failing to safeguard people's information".

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.

"Facebook should now make the results of their internal investigations known to the ICO, our committee and other relevant investigatory authorities". Last year, antitrust regulators in the European Union slapped Facebook with a $122 million fine.

Facebook will be put under more scrutiny by United Kingdom regulators involving “evidence that copies of the data/parts of it also seem to have been share with other parties and on other systems beyond” despite Cambridge Analyticas declaration that it had wiped all the data that it was asked to.

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