Facebook respond to facing £500k fine over Cambridge Analytica scandal

13 July, 2018, 10:00 | Author: Carlos George
  • Compensation sought for Australians caught up in Facebook privacy breach

In March 2018, Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie exposed how the company had been using Facebook personality quizzes to create datasets of unprecedented scale, which were then weaponized to sway voter opinion in favor of the highest bidder.

The UK Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) on Tuesday announced a preliminary fine on Facebook worth £500,000 ($664,000) having found the social media giant guilty of not being transparent on the data acquisition procedure and its failure to protect the information of its users.

The EU in May launched strict new data-protection laws allowing regulators to fine companies up to 20 million euros ($24 million) or four percent of annual global turnover.

The Information Commissioner's Office also plans to audit the activities of 11 political parties and of the main credit reference companies operating in the United Kingdom, amid concerns that data brokers were allowing the personal data of United Kingdom and other European Union citizens to be processed for political purposes.

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

It would take Facebook just 18 minutes to pay off the £500,000 fine proposed as a punishment by the UK's data watchdog for the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.

It has also issued an Enforcement Notice for SCL Elections Ltd (the parent company of Cambridge Analytica) to compel it to deal properly with a subject access request from Professor David Carroll; and will pursue a criminal prosecution for SCL Elections Ltd for failing to properly deal with the ICO's Enforcement Notice.

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"As we have said before, we should have done more to investigate claims about Cambridge Analytica and take action in 2015", said Egan in a statement emailed to Mashable. Facebook said it was reviewing the report and would respond soon.

Fair Vote runs on public donations and its self-stated aim is to to tackle the issues of data misuse, voter manipulation and lack of transparency in elections. And it said it had also written to the UK's 11 main political parties compelling them to have their data protection practices audited.

The Facebook probe is part of a wider investigation into the use of data in political campaigns, which the ICO launched a year ago, the interim results of which are out today.

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

An award of $1000 per person would cost Facebook more than $300 million if all affected Australians were involved in the class action. The FBI and the Securities and Exchange Commission are also looking into Facebook's connections with Cambridge Analytica.

"If other developers broke the law we have a right to know, and the users whose data may have been compromised in this way should be informed".

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