Facebook Cambridge Analytica
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  • Facebook has been fined $665,000 by the ICO over the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal that leaked personal information of 87 million Facebook accounts.
  • The Information Commissioner’s Office in the UK fined the company for its failure to safeguard the personal information of its users as well as a lack of transparency regarding the data breach.
  • The fine was set at £500,000 ($665,000) because that is the maximum penalty allowed by the Data Protection Act 1998.

UK’s data protection watchdog Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has fined Facebook $665,000 for the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal. The ICO condemned the social media company for not being able to safeguard the personal information of 87 million profiles registered in the platform and not showing transparency following the data breach. The fine amounts to 18 minutes of Facebook’s quarterly profit, which is the maximum penalty allowed by the UK Data Protection Act 1998.

The incident has forced authorities to introduce data protection laws such as the GDPR in the European Union. It is likely that other legal authorities will be implementing penalties against Facebook with lawsuits ongoing against the company.

Cambridge Analytica and SCL Elections Ltd also face criminal prosecution by the ICO for not abiding by the data protection laws. The ICO has also sent out letters to political parties to audit data protection practices. The ICO believes that the stolen data in the Cambridge Analytica scandal may have been used to manipulate the Brexit referendum in 2017. Universities in the United Kingdom have been warned to evaluate the risks of working with personal data as well.

ICO commissioner Elizabeth Denham stated, “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 ICO’s investigation began in March 2017, and it is covering data brokers, data analytics firms, and social media platforms. The investigation is scheduled to come to a close in October 2018, which is when the ICO will reveal its analysis of the data used in political campaigns. Facebook revealed that it is changing its data collection policies and will be much stricter going forward when it comes to handing out data to third-parties.

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