Monday, 21 October, 2019

Facebook said to face $5 billion fine for privacy violations

The FTC has voted to approve a fine of about US$5 billion for Facebook over privacy violations the Wall Street Journal reported today The FTC has voted to approve a fine of about US$5 billion for Facebook over privacy violations the Wall Street Journal reported today
Jean Garcia | 13 July, 2019, 10:31

It is thought that the settlement will also include other conditions on how Facebook manages its users' privacy, but the details are not known, the Wall Street Journal reported.

"A 3-2 vote along party lines is definitely not ideal for an FTC settlement of this magnitude", Ashkan Soltani, a former chief technologist at the FTC, wrote on Twitter Friday.

The FTC started looking into Facebook last March, after news reports that Facebook had allowed Cambridge Analytica, a social media data firm that worked on President Trump's 2016 campaign, to collect data from millions of users without their knowledge.

The settlement is the largest privacy fine in the FTC's history and also marks the most significant action yet against Facebook over a series of mishaps that have compromised users' data and sent the company reeling from one crisis to another.

For now, the specifics of the settlement remain largely unknown, except for the figure which is believed to be in the region of $5 billion.

The $5 billion fine still needs to be OK'd by the Department of Justice, but DOJ "rarely" rejects FTC settlements, the New York Times reported. While the Cambridge Analytica scandal was bad for Facebook, it still largely operates on the same data-hoarding user model that opened the company up to developer exploitation and misuse in the first place.

In 2011, Facebook assured the FTC that it would not share data with third parties without consent.

Following $32 Million Hack, Cryptocurrency Platform Bitpoint Suspends Operations
The licensed crypto exchange platform has been hacked 32 million United States dollars worth of crypto assets. When Coincheck was hacked in January 2018, more than $530 million worth of cryptocurrencies were stolen.

Facebook declined to comment on the status of those probes. A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment on the Facebook matter.

"It's also clear that we're going to need Congress and the state attorneys general to take the mantle of any future antitrust investigation of Facebook because Trump's FTC appointees are not up to the task", Miller added.

FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra, a Democrat, has said the agency should hold executives responsible for violations of consent decrees if they participated in the violations.

Facebook earlier this year said it had set aside $3 billion to pay for what it said it expected to be a $3 billion to $5 billion penalty.

As the probe dragged on, FTC Chairman Joe Simons came under increasing pressure from lawmakers and privacy advocates to craft a tough settlement that would protect users' privacy.

The announcement of this Facebook fine is the culmination of nearly a year-and-a-half of investigations into the company, which included a heavily-publicized testimony in front of Congress by Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg.

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