Facebook to be fined £500,000 over data breaches

Facebook faces a record fine of £500,000 from Britain's data watchdog for failing to protect users whose data was obtained by Cambridge Analytica.

The penalty could be just the first in what might become several fines for Mark Zuckerberg as the Information Commissioner's. "But this can not be at the expense of transparency, fairness and compliance with the law", ICO's information commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, said in a statement.

The London-based firm worked for Donald Trump's campaign team in the 2016 United States presidential election and used the data to build a software program to predict and try to influence votes.

Facebook will have the opportunity to respond to the commissioner before a final decision is made, something the company said it would do soon.

Facebook's chief privacy officer Erin Egan said in response to the ICO's report: "As we have said before, we should have done more to investigate claims about Cambridge Analytica and taken action in 2015".

However, the Information Commissioner'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.

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.


The probe "concluded that Facebook contravened the law by failing to safeguard people's information". The U.K.'s investigation found "evidence that copies of the data/parts of it also seem to have been shared with other parties and on other systems beyond", which "potentially brings into question the accuracy" of Cambridge Analytica's assertion that it wiped the data from its stores.

"The number of Facebook users affected by this kind of data scraping may be far greater than has now been acknowledged".

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".

Since its entanglement with Cambridge Analytica became public, Facebook has pledged to review all third-party apps on the platform while introducing new transparency measures, including an online repository of all political ads that run on the site.

That's despite earlier estimates that 2.7 million users in the European Union had their data improperly shared.

It also said it would send warning letters to 11 political parties to compel them to audit their data protection practices.

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