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

Elias Hubbard
July 11, 2018

Facebook has been hit with a maximum possible fine for allowing political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica to harvest the information of millions of people without their consent.

The UK's information commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, said she would fine the social network as her office investigates how the data of tens of millions of users was improperly accessed. The fine "sends a clear signal that I consider this a significant issue, especially when you look at the scale and the impact of this kind of data breach".

Facebook has said that a Cambridge University lecturer named Aleksandr Kogan collected the data legitimately through a personality quiz app but then violated Facebook's terms by sharing the information with Cambridge Analytica, a firm later hired by the Trump presidential campaign during the 2016 USA election.

Facebook will get a chance to respond to the proposed penalties before the ICO releases a final decision.

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

"This can not by left to a secret internal investigation at Facebook".

The probe "concluded that Facebook contravened the law by failing to safeguard people's information".

The ICO is also investigating 29 other social media companies, political campaigns, parties and other commercial actors over their roles in the European Union referendum. "We're reviewing the report and will respond to the ICO soon". But not all the data may have been deleted, according to some reports. 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. 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.

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

Facebook will be put under more scrutiny by United Kingdom regulators involving “evidence that copies of the data/parts of it also seem to have been share with other parties and on other systems beyond” despite Cambridge Analyticas declaration that it had wiped all the data that it was asked to.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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