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Facebook BROKE LAW in personal data controversy, says watchdog

11 July 2018

The penalty could be just the first in what might become several fines for Mark Zuckerberg as the Information Commissioner's.

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.

The ICO added that it plans to issue Facebook with the maximum available fine for breaches of the Data Protection Act - an equivalent of US$660,000 or €566,000.

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

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Facebook said the company illicitly gained access to personal information of up to 87 million users via an academic intermediary, although the firm said the number was much smaller than that.

Facebook will have the opportunity to respond to the commissioner before a final decision is made, something the company said it would do soon. Had the breach occurred after May this year, Facebook may have faced a far greater fine under the new data protection law, a maximum of 4pc of global turnover or €20m (£18m), whichever was highest. The ICO wants parties to undergo compulsory audits of their use of personal data, including the purchase of marketing lists and lifestyle information to help target voters. It's also about half of what the Spanish data protection authorities past year extracted from to the firm for privacy failings. We have been working closely with the ICO in their investigation'.

The penalty and resulting fine only comprise a small portion of the ICO's report, which initially was undertaken to investigate the misuse of data during the UK's European Union referendum (AKA, Brexit).

In a roughly 40-page report, British regulators faulted Facebook for allowing Cambridge University researcher Aleksandr Kogan to build an app that collected data about Facebook users as well as their friends on behalf of Cambridge Analytica. "But this can not be at the expense of transparency, fairness and compliance with the law", she said in a statement.

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ICO, which does not normally publish its findings, said it would give the public another update on its investigation in October.

The British fine comes as Facebook faces a potential hefty compensation bill in Australia, where litigation funder IMF Bentham said it had lodged a complaint with regulators over the Cambridge Analytica breech - thought to affect some €300,000 users in Australia.

Media Committee chairman Damian Collins commented: "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".

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Facebook BROKE LAW in personal data controversy, says watchdog