Facebook slapped with fine over Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal

Facebook slapped with fine over Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal

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 British privacy watchdog, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO, ) said Wednesday that intends to fine Facebook the maximum possible fine for the data protection violation.

The penalty is a pittance for Facebook, which generates that sum roughly every seven minutes, based on its first-quarter revenue of $11.97 billion.

If the data leak would had taken place after the new GDPR rules which came into action on May 25, the fine levied could have been much higher. The ICO said it was providing the interim report to help that inquiry. 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. This is the maximum fine the Information Commissioner's Office can impose, BBC reported on Wednesday.

Cambridge Analytica got the data of tens of millions of Facebook users from an academic who scraped the information with a personality quiz app. Facebook changed the policies that allowed this scraping in 2015, and told Cambridge Analytica to delete the data in the same year.

The penalty from the United Kingdom data watchdog, called the Information Commissioner's Office, could change as the agency discusses the matter further with Facebook.

In March 2017, the ICO began looking into whether personal data had been misused by campaigns on both sides of the UK's 2016 European Union referendum.

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A Facebook spokeswoman said the company was cooperating fully with an investigation by Australia's privacy commissioner.

Facebook's revenue a year ago totalled $40.7bn (£30.7bn), so half a million pounds.

"We are fully cooperating with the investigation now under way by the Australian Privacy Commissioner and will review any additional evidence that is made available when the UK Office of the Information Commissioner releases their report", the spokeswoman said.

She added: "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. That's why greater and genuine transparency about the use of data analytics is vital".

"New technologies that use data analytics to micro-target people give campaign groups the ability to connect with individual voters".

The ICO said its investigation is continuing and the next phase is expected to be concluded by the end of October.

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