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Australian Federal Government to investigate Facebook

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Australian Federal Government to investigate Facebook

According to media reports, the social media giant, Facebook, will be investigated by the Australian Federal Government’s privacy regulator after it revealed that over 300,000 Australians may have had their personal details accessed in the Cambridge Analytica scandal

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg admitted that his company did not take appropriate measures to protect users’ data and promised they would further tighten partners’ access to information.

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner will look at whether Facebook has breached the 1988 Privacy Act. And if Facebook has broken the law, it could face fines of up to $2.1 million.

Statement from the acting Australian Information Commissioner and acting Privacy Commissioner Angelene Falk states:

“Today I have opened a formal investigation into Facebook, following confirmation from Facebook that the information of over 300,000 Australian users may have been acquired and used without authorisation.
The investigation will consider whether Facebook has breached the Privacy Act 1988(Privacy Act). Given the global nature of this matter, the OAIC will confer with regulatory authorities internationally.
All organisations that are covered by the Privacy Act have obligations in relation to the personal information that they hold. This includes taking reasonable steps to ensure that personal information is held securely, and ensuring that customers are adequately notified about the collection and handling of their personal information.
This is a timely reminder to all organisations of the value of good privacy practice to Australians. Organisations should regularly and proactively assess their information-handling practices to ensure that they are both compliant with privacy laws and in keeping with community expectations.
If anyone has concerns about how their personal information has been collected or managed they can, in the first instance, contact Facebook directly and if not satisfied with their response they can contact the OAIC.”

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