Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Facebook to be fined £500,000 over data breaches

Facebook to be fined £500,000 over data breaches

For Facebook's part in the ongoing Cambridge Analytica scandal, the UK's Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has today stated its intent to fine the social network £500,000, finding the company to be in breach of the country's Data Protection Act.

Facebook faces several other investigations, including others in Europe, a probe by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and, reportedly, several others at federal agencies such as the FBI and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The report also initiates the prosecution of SCL Elections Ltd, which is Cambridge Analytica's parent company, "for failing to properly deal with the ICO's Enforcement Notice".

The ICO is also probing another pro-Brexit campaign group, Vote Leave, for sending personal data on United Kingdom citizens to a Cambridge Analytica-like (and possible Cambridge Analytica-affiliated) company called AggregateIQ, which Facebook has kicked off its platform.

It is the largest possible penalty that can be handed out by Britain's information watchdog, which found the social media giant had broken the law by failing to safeguard millions of users' data.

"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.

Facebook is able to respond to the commissioner before the fine is applied.

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

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In the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook notified users who were affected by the data misuse with alerts at the tops of their news feeds.

"Facebook users will be rightly concerned that the company left their data far too vulnerable to being collected without their consent by developers working on behalf of companies like Cambridge Analytica".

The decision was welcomed by former Cambridge Analytica employee and whistleblower Christopher Wylie.

In Facebook's case this would amount to around US$1.6 billion (€1.4 billion).

Cambridge Analytica, the London-based consultancy that was using the social media information to offer targeted political advertising, shut down in May. She added: "As we have said before, we should have done more to investigate claims about Cambridge Analytica and take action in 2015".

That's why greater and genuine transparency about the use of data analytics is vital'. Facebook also received a minor fine of $164,000 from French regulators for failing to meet the country's data protection rules.

"Facebook should now make the results of their internal investigations known to the ICO, our committee and other relevant investigatory authorities". Tony Romm and Elizabeth Dwoskin wrote this story.

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