Facebook is fined £500,000 by information watchdog by ICO

Remigio Civitarese
Luglio 12, 2018

Britain's data regulator said on Wednesday (Jul 11) it will fine Facebook half a million pounds for failing to protect user data, as part of its investigation into whether personal information was misused ahead of the Brexit referendum.

The watchdog is investigating whether data obtained from Facebook was misused by both the Leave and Remain campaigns during the European Union referendum, and in the 2016 USA presidential election. Her office is leading the European investigations into how such an amount of data-most belonging to US and United Kingdom residents, she says-could have ended up in the hands of Cambridge Analytica, a consulting firm that worked on Donald Trump's presidential campaign.

The ICO's report said other regulatory action would include a criminal prosecution against Cambridge Analytica's parent firm, SCL Elections, for failing to deal with the regulator's enforcement notice. In 2017, Facebook generated $40 billion in ad sales.

The Commons' Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee said Ms Denham's inquiry has found that Facebook "contravened the law by failing to safeguard people's information".

The information was gathered through an app that paid users to take a personality test but that also harvested details about their Facebook friends.

"My initial thinking was because the breach happened before GDPR there was no way that there would be a significant enough punishment for Facebook", Taylor said.

The British fine to hit Facebook comes as the social media company is also confronted with a hefty compensation bill in Australia where litigation funder IMF Bentham said it had lodged a complaint with regulators over the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

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

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. But not all the data may have been deleted, according to some reports.

That's why greater and genuine transparency about the use of data analytics is vital'.

Facebook's revenue past year totalled $40.7bn (£30.7bn), so half a million pounds. The region's competition chief said the social media company had provided misleading information about its privacy promises during its 2014 acquisition of the messenger app WhatsApp. It's also about half of what the Spanish data protection authorities past year extracted from to the firm for privacy failings. Tony Romm and Elizabeth Dwoskin wrote this story.

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