Facebook’s troubles over Cambridge Analytica data breach continue

EPA-EFE/SHAWN THEW

CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on 'Facebook: Transparency and Use of Consumer Data' on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, USA, 11 April 2018.

Facebook’s troubles over Cambridge Analytica data breach continue


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The UK Information Commissioner’s Office has declared their intent to fine Facebook £500,000 for its role in the Cambridge Analytica data leak scandal that accessed personal information from up to 87 million people.

By scraping Facebook data via a third-party plugin created by Cambridge, profiles of users were constructed and manipulated, according to ex-employee and whistle-blower Christopher Wylie.

 

 

Though the fine may seem minuscule compared to revenues (the company generated that amount roughly every five to seven minutes in 1Q 2018), it represents a legal maximum, according to a 1998 data protection law. Had the malfeasance occurred in the GDPR era, the company would have faced charges up to £17m or four percent of global revenue—£1.4bn in Facebook’s case.

UK information commissioner Elizabeth Denham supplemented that monetary fines shouldn’t be the sole focus.

“This is not all about fines though … any company is worried about its reputation because people want to feel that their data is safe,” she said.

 

 

Although Cambridge Analytica and its parent company SCL Group have since closed, reports show that Analytica’s former CEO Alexander Nix and a number of employees founded a new company called Emerdata Limited at the same address in August 2017.

Its parent company Firecrest Technologies Limited also resides at the identical location, according to official filings.

In March, Nix was terminated as Director of Emerdata, but allegedly retains directorship of other companies registered in the building.

Commentary suggests a sort of precedent has been set, with other investigations already underway in the US and Europe. Further charges against Facebook are expected to soon follow.

Facebook shares closed Wednesday near an all-time high at $202. Developing.

 

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