Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

Facebook to be fined $871,000 after letting Cambridge Analytica mine users’ data

Facebook to be fined $871,000 after letting Cambridge Analytica mine users’ data

Mr Collins said his own committee will publish its interim report about disinformation and data use in political campaigns later this month.

Facebook is facing a record £500,000 fine for twice breaching the Data Protection Act.

Facebook could be fined 500,000 pounds ($894,000) by Britain's privacy regulator after the social-network giant failed to prevent key user data falling into the hands of a political consultancy that helped get President Donald Trump elected.

The sum is barely even a slap on the wrist for Facebook, which had revenues of more than $40 billion in 2017, but is the maximum possible under the applicable legislation.

Because of the timing of the breaches, the ICO said it was unable to impose penalties that have since been introduced by the European General Data Protection, which would cap fines at 4.0 per cent of Facebook's global turnover. In an accompanying report, Elizabeth Denham, the United Kingdom information commissioner, expressed unease with the "significant shortfall in transparency" from tech companies, political parties and others that harness sensitive bits of information online. "But this can not be at the expense of transparency, fairness and compliance with the law", she said in a statement. "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".

Cambridge Analytica, which was hired by Donald Trump in 2016, has denied its work on the USA president's successful election campaign made use of data.

A Facebook spokeswoman said the company was cooperating fully with an investigation by Australia's privacy commissioner. The company has said it plans to do so "soon".

"As we have said before, we should have done more to investigate claims about Cambridge Analytica and take action in 2015", Erin Egan, Facebook's chief privacy officer, said in a statement.

"Facebook should now make the results of their internal investigations known to the ICO, our committee and other relevant investigatory authorities".

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".

Politicians are calling for greater transparency from Facebook in light of the ICO fine.

Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham launched a probe after it emerged an internet personality quiz was able to gather the data of up to 87 million Facebook users, by accessing not only the details of people taking the test who gave their consent, but that of their "Facebook friends", who had not agreed.

Mail.Ru told CNN it had not been contacted by Facebook about its investigation into the misuse of user data.

"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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