Facebook faces United Kingdom fine over Cambridge Analytica scandal

Pauline Gross
July 11, 2018

For Facebook's part in the ongoing Cambridge Analytica scandal, the UK's Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has today stated its intent to fine the social network £500,000, finding the company to be in breach of the country's Data Protection Act.

This is now estimated at 87 million, according to the Information Commissioner's Office.

"We have been working closely with the ICO in their investigation of Cambridge Analytica, just as we have with authorities in the United States and other countries".

In a roughly 40-page report, British regulators faulted Facebook for allowing Cambridge University researcher Aleksandr Kogan to build an app that collected data about Facebook users as well as their friends on behalf of Cambridge Analytica.

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The penalty and resulting fine only comprise a small portion of the ICO's report, which initially was undertaken to investigate the misuse of data during the UK's European Union referendum (AKA, Brexit).

"The complaint seeks financial recompense for the unauthorised access to, and use of, their personal data".

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.

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

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Facebook faces a £500,000 ($665,000) fine from the UK's data protection watchdog, the ICO, for failing to protect netizens' info nor tell them how their data would be harvested by apps.

"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", she 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".

The final decision regarding the fine will be made after Facebook issues a response to the notice.

"We have been working closely with the Information Commissioner's Office in their investigation of Cambridge Analytica, just as we have with authorities in the USA and other countries", he added.

Without detailing how the information may have been used, it said the company had "failed to be transparent about how people's data was harvested by others".

The ICO said it expects to have wrapped up these investigations by the end of October.

The British agency said it is still weighing potential penalties against Kogan as well as Alexander Nix, the former chief executive of Cambridge Analytica.

In the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook notified users who were affected by the data misuse with alerts at the tops of their news feeds.

Other reports by GizPress

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