United Kingdom watchdog ICO fines Facebook £500,000 over Cambridge Analytica

Compensation sought for Australians caught up in Facebook privacy breach

Compensation sought for Australians caught up in Facebook privacy breach

The proposed fine is the largest issued by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) and the maximum allowed under the 1998 Data Protection Act, which applied at the time of the breaches.

The social media giant has been under pressure from governments in Europe and the US since the Cambridge Analytica scandal, revealing that the consulting company gained access to the personal data of 87 million Facebook users from an academic researcher.

The amount is the maximum allowed under the Data Protection Act 1998, but is pocket change for a company valued past year at around $590bn (£445bn).

Facebook is facing its first financial penalty for allowing the data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica to forage through the personal data of millions of unknowing Facebook users.

Elizabeth Denham, the Information Commissioner, wrote in her accompanying report that Facebook should have done more to explain to its users why they were targeted for specific political advertisements or messaging.

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 United States presidential election. The tech giant is accused of not properly protecting user data and not sharing how people's data was harvested by others. "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". A group of industry executives met with France's President Emmanuel Macron to discuss how to use technology to improve people's lives. "But this can not be at the expense of transparency, fairness and compliance with the law". However, the incident was only made public this year thanks to a whistleblower, and the ICO believes Cambridge Analytica not only failed to delete the information as requested, but indeed shared it with others.


Consider the £500,000 fine more like the beginning of companies like Facebook's woes, not lawmakers' final solutions.

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.

If you calculate Facebook's estimated revenue for a period of just 7 minutes, it'll turn out to be around $665,000.

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

Facebook spent more money lobbying the USA federal government in the first quarter of this year than it ever has before: $3.3 million.

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.

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