Tuesday, 17 July, 2018

Fine imposed on Facebook over user privacy - United Kingdom lawmaker

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during the annual F8 summit at the San Jose Mc Enery Convention Center in San Jose California Image Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg was questioned by US politicians over the case
Steven Clarke | 11 July, 2018, 14:16

SCANDAL FALLOUT, The fines are starting to come for Facebook in several countries.

United Kingdom investigators also questioned whether Facebook failed to maintain adequate safeguards to ensure other third-party app developers had not misused social data.

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.

However, Sky News notes that the £500,000 fine will be "pocket change" for a company valued past year at around $590bn (£445bn).

Facebook will be hit with a record £500,000 fine over the Cambridge Analytica data harvesting scandal.

The probe "concluded that Facebook contravened the law by failing to safeguard people's information. It also found that the company failed to be transparent about how people's data was harvested by others".

Because of the timing of the breaches, the ICO said it was unable to impose penalties that have since been introduced by the European General Data Protection, which would cap fines at 4.0 per cent of Facebook's global turnover.

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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. "But this can not be at the expense of transparency, fairness and compliance with the law". "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", Denham said.

The ICO also announced it proposes to bring criminal action against SCL Elections, the parent company of Cambridge Analytica (CA), for allegedly failing to comply with an enforcement notice and allow access to the data it held.

Facebook has a chance to respond to the ICO before a final decision is made on the fine. 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 office finds that Facebook lacked the privacy protections necessary to catch Cambridge Analytica before it was too late.

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

"If other developers broke the law we have a right to know, and the users whose data may have been compromised in this way should be informed".

A Russian Internet company with links to the Kremlin was among the firms Facebook gave an extension allowing them to collect data on unsuspecting users - even after the practice was supposedly stopped, CNN reported Tuesday. The number of Facebook users affected by this kind of data scraping may be far greater than has now been acknowledged. "Facebook should now make the results of their internal investigations known to the ICO, our committee and other relevant investigatory authorities".

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