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Facebook to be fined by UK Regulators over Cambridge Analytica

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Facebook to be fined by UK Regulators over Cambridge Analytica

According to media reports, social media giant Facebook could be fined more than $600,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in the UK for its “lack of transparency and security issues” related to third party data harvesting. Facebook is valued at more than $584 billion.

The statements come as part of the ICO’s investigation into data privacy violations, which began in March 2017. The focus on Facebook heightened a year later amid a wave of news reports about Cambridge Analytica’s misdeeds.

As part of the probe, the ICO’s team of 40 investigators seized the servers of Cambridge Analytica and have undertaken a transatlantic search to determine how data was used both in the Brexit referendum campaign and the United States presidential election. The initial report includes a slew of regulatory actions the ICO plans to take against a variety of key players, from Facebook and Cambridge Analytica to major data brokers, political campaigns, and the academic institutions that develop data targeting methodology.

“New technologies that use data analytics to micro-target people give campaign groups the ability to connect with individual voters. But this cannot be at the expense of transparency, fairness and compliance with the law,” Elizabeth Denham, Information Commissioner wrote in a statement.

The report states that ICO believes Facebook may have violated the UK’s Data Protection Act, which gives UK residents control over their data and requires companies to receive explicit consent from users before collecting that data. Facebook now has until later this month to respond to the ICO’s notice of intent to fine the company, after which point the ICO will decide whether to go forward with the fine. 

Facebook’s Chief Privacy Officer, Erin Egan acknowledged that Facebook “should have done more to investigate claims about Cambridge Analytica and take action in 2015. We have been working closely with the ICO in their investigation of Cambridge Analytica, just as we have with authorities in the US and other countries. We’re reviewing the report and will respond to the ICO soon.”

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