Facebook faces over $650G fine in Britain over data misuse scandal

12 July, 2018, 03:29 | Author: Myra Gill
  • Daniel Leal-olivas  AFP  Getty Images

The UK's Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) slapped Facebook with a fine for that amount this week, although for a company like Facebook this is just a pittance.

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.

Apart from Facebook, the probe is also covering more companies and there are plans to send warning letters to 11 political parties. The commissioner's office identified one of the companies, Emma's Diary, as being used by the British Labour Party, BBC said.

Facebook could face a hefty compensation bill in Australia after a leading litigation funder lodged a complaint with the country's privacy regulator over users' personal data shared with a British political consultancy.

The ICO is also investigating 29 other social media companies, political campaigns, parties and other commercial actors over their roles in the European Union referendum.

Without detailing how the information may have been used, it said the company had "failed to be transparent about how people's data was harvested by others".

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

Charity Privacy International said that regulators were getting tougher on Facebook.


Finally, in a hugely optimistic bid, Denham has called for an "ethical pause" to allow lawmakers, regulators, political parties, online platforms and the public "to reflect on their responsibilities in the era of big data before there is a greater expansion in the use of new technologies".

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.

"Fines and prosecutions punish the bad actors, but my real goal is to effect change and restore trust and confidence in our democratic system", she said.

A Russian Internet company with links to the Kremlin was among the firms Facebook gave an extension allowing them to collect data on unsuspecting users - even after the practice was supposedly stopped, CNN reported Tuesday.

Collins said Wednesday that the social media giant "should now make the results of their internal investigations known to the ICO, our committee and other relevant investigatory authorities".

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

Facebook now has the chance to respond to the commissioner's notice of intent, after which a final decision will be made.

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