Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Britain to fine Facebook over data breach

Britain to fine Facebook over data breach

It could be the first in a series of penalties for Facebook, political parties, data companies and academics as a result of the scandal.

The ICO is also planning audits of the main credit reference companies and Cambridge University Psychometric Centre, and ordered Canadian data slurpers Aggregate IQ to stop processing data retained on United Kingdom citizens.

Facebook is facing by the UK's privacy watchdog for allowing Cambridge Analytica to improperly access key personal data on millions of its users.

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

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.

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

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The London-based firm worked for Donald Trump's campaign team in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and used the data to build a software program to predict and try to influence votes. However, because the abuse took place before the introduction of the EU's new General Data Protection Regulation, which allows fines of up to 4% of global annual revenues, the ICO is only able to fine Facebook £500,000 ($663,610, ) which is the limit under older British data protection law.

"New technologies that use data analytics to micro-target people give campaign groups the ability to connect with individual voters. We're reviewing the report and will respond to the ICO soon". 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.

The UK's data protection watchdog said the social media giant has failed to ensure Cambridge Analytica had deleted users' data.

The scandal took place before new European Union data protection laws that allow much larger fines came into force. "But this can not be at the expense of transparency, fairness and compliance with the law", she said in a statement.

Damian Collins MP, the chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee that has been investigating Cambridge Analytica, said: "Given that the ICO is saying that Facebook broke the law, it is essential that we now know which other apps that ran on their platform may have scraped data in a similar way".

The next phase of the ICO's work is expected to be concluded by the end of October. 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.

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