Facebook to be fined $871,000 after letting Cambridge Analytica mine users’ data

Evarado Alatorre
Julio 11, 2018

In an accompanying report, Elizabeth Denham, the United Kingdom information commissioner, expressed unease with the "significant shortfall in transparency" from tech companies, political parties and others that harness sensitive bits of information online.

Denham also called for the government to introduce a statutory code of practice for the use of personal data in political campaigns, adding that "this can not be at the expense of transparency, fairness and compliance with the law".

As such, the "investigation into data analytics in political campaigns" has resulted in a number of other regulatory actions and recommendations.

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

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. Facebook will have an opportunity to respond to the findings, after which the office will render a final judgment.

Facebook is facing by the UK's privacy watchdog for allowing Cambridge Analytica to improperly access key personal data on millions of its users. Facebook also received a minor fine of $164,000 from French regulators for failing to meet the country's data protection rules.

The scandal took place before new European Union data protection laws that allow much larger fines came into force. "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", Denham said.

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The total is now estimated at 87 million, the ICO said.

"Facebook state that they only knew about this data breach when it was first reported in the press in December 2015".

The ICO launched an investigation in March into Cambridge Analytica, the UK-based political data analysis firm at the heart of a scandal that's stirred up two national governments and the world's largest social network.

Mr Collins said his own committee will publish its interim report about disinformation and data use in political campaigns later this month.

It has also said that, while it pitched for work with campaign group Leave.EU ahead of the Brexit referendum in Britain in 2016, it did not end up doing any work on the campaign.

Facebook's Egan referred to the numerous investigations involving the company. 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.

The British fine comes as Facebook faces a potential hefty compensation bill in Australia, where litigation funder IMF Bentham said it had lodged a complaint with regulators over the Cambridge Analytica breech - thought to affect some €300,000 users in Australia.

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