Facebook faces maximum fine in British Cambridge Analytica inquiry

Facebook faces maximum fine in British Cambridge Analytica inquiry

The proposed fine is the largest issued by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) and the maximum allowed under the 1998 Data Protection Act, which applied at the time of the breaches.

SCANDAL FALLOUT, The fines are starting to come for Facebook in several countries. The fine is mere petty cash as Facebook reportedly earned almost $6 billion profit in the first quarter this year. Facebook also received a minor fine of $164,000 from French regulators for failing to meet the country's data protection rules. Facebook initially said the scandal affected about 310,000 Australians in total. The ICO also hit Cambridge Analytica's defunct parent company, SCL Elections, with a criminal prosecution.

Without detailing how the information may have been used, it said the company had "failed to be transparent about how people's data was harvested by others". These include sending out 11 warning letters to political parties in the United Kingdom, "compelling them to agree to audits of their data protection practices". Back in December previous year, the ICO revealed that right-wing party UKIP was being less than cooperative in this regard.

"We must change this fast as no-one should win elections using illegally obtained data", she said, adding: "We will now assess what can we do at the European Union level to make political advertising more transparent and our elections more secure".

This is now estimated at 87 million, according to the Information Commissioner's Office. "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", said the information commissioner, Elizabeth Denham.

Cambridge Analytica, which was hired by Donald Trump in 2016, has denied its work on the USA president's successful election campaign made use of data. "But this can not be at the expense of transparency, fairness and compliance with the law".

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"The complaint seeks financial recompense for the unauthorised access to, and use of, their personal data".

It also said it would send warning letters to 11 political parties to compel them to audit their data protection practices.

"Everyone from social media firms, political parties and data brokers seem to be taking advantage of new technologies and micro-targeting techniques with very limited transparency and responsibility towards voters", she said.

Signs for the company Cambridge Analytica in the lobby of the London, UK, building in which it is based, March 21, 2018.

The full investigation is due to complete in October this year, and the reports on the interim findings, as well as an analysis on trends in data use in political campaigns from think tank Demos, are due to be published at 0600 on Wednesday morning.

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