Thursday, 20 September 2018

Facebook facing UK fine over data protection breaches

LONDON: Britain’s information regulator slapped Facebook with a small but symbolic fine for breaches of data protection law after millions of users’ data was improperly accessed by consultancy Cambridge Analytica.

The 500,000 pound ($663,850) fine is less that 10 minutes worth of revenue for the social media firm worth $590 billion, but is the maximum amount allowed and emphasises how regulators are finding fault in Facebook’s business practices.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has faced questioning by US and EU lawmakers over how Cambridge Analytica improperly got hold of the personal data of 87 million Facebook users from a researcher. The company has promised to introduce reforms to its policies ahead of local elections in Britain next year.

Updating on her investigation into the use of data analytics by political campaigns, Britain’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said it would fine Facebook, though it can respond to the commissioner before a final decision is made.

Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said that Facebook had broken the law by failing to safeguard people’s information and had not been transparent about how data was harvested by others on its platform.

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