Facebook Receives Maximum Fine for Data Law Violations

The British data and information watchdog has slapped Facebook with the maximum $644,000 (£500,000) fine for its violations of data protection laws.

“Facebook failed to sufficiently protect the privacy of its users before, during and after the unlawful processing of this data,” said Elizabeth Dunham, the UK’s information commissioner, in a statement Thursday. “A company of its size and expertise should have known better and it should have done better.”

The investigation by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) found that between 2007 and 2017, Facebook unfairly allowed third-party developers access to the private data of users without informed consent. It further failed to check how developers used its platform, ABC News informs.

“We are currently reviewing the ICO’s decision. While we respectfully disagree with some of their findings … we are grateful that the ICO has acknowledged our full cooperation throughout their investigation, and have also confirmed they have found no evidence to suggest UK Facebook users’ data was in fact shared with Cambridge Analytica,” a spokesman for the social media platform said.

He further added that the company hoped to now be granted access to Cambridge Analytica servers so that it can “audit the data they received.”

Earlier this year, it was revealed in a major scandal involving Cambridge Analytica that one developer, GSR, collected private data from around 87 million Facebook users from all over the world without their knowledge. Some of the personal information was later shared with other organizations including SCL Group which worked on digital political campaigning in the 2016 election.

A Cambridge Analytica whistleblower said at the time that the firm allegedly compiled data from Facebook to target voters. The company denied using the data “as part of the services it provided to the Donald Trump 2016 presidential campaign.”

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