Britain to fine Facebook over data breach

11 July, 2018, 14:17 | Author: Wade Massey
  • Daniel Leal-olivas  AFP  Getty Images

"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.

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".

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

The watchdog also plans to bring criminal charges against Cambridge Analytica's defunct parent company SCL Elections.

Facebook, along with consultancy Cambridge Analytica, has been the focus of the investigation since February when evidence emerged that an app was used to harvest the data of 50 million Facebook users across the world.

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.

Facebook, which gets to "make representations" to the ICO before the regulator finalizes the fine, had not responded to a request for comment at the time of writing.

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"It shows the scale of the problem and that we are doing the right thing with our new data protection rules", she said.

Last month, Facebook's director of privacy policy, Steve Satterfield, told a European parliament hearing that the company believed no users in the European Union were affected in the Cambridge Analytica breach. "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.

But the ICO said because of the timing of the incidents involved in its inquiry, the penalties were limited to those available under previous legislation. "People can not have control over their own data if they don't know or understand how it is being used".

Facebook has said it will be reviewing the report and responding to the ICO soon.

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".

"This can not by left to a secret internal investigation at Facebook". We have been working closely with the ICO in their investigation'.

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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