Facebook hit with first fine in Cambridge Analytica data breach scandal

Compensation sought for Australians caught up in Facebook privacy breach

Facebook staring at Australian class action - Security

The U.K.'s Information Commissioner's Office, an independent data watchdog, intends to slap Facebook with a 500,000-pound fine, or about $660,000, for two breaches of the country's Data Protection Act.

Apart from Facebook, the probe is also covering more companies and there are plans to send warning letters to 11 political parties.

"The scandal took place before new European Union data protection laws that allow much larger fines came into force", the broadcaster says. "We have been working closely with the ICO in their investigation".

"Given that the ICO is saying that Facebook broke the law, it is essential that we now know which other apps that ran on their platform may have scraped data in a similar way", he said. The General Data Protection Regulation, more commonly called the GDPR, allowed for a maximum fine of 20 million euros or 4 percent of a company's annual global revenue from the year before, whichever is higher. This is the maximum fine the Information Commissioner's Office can impose, BBC reported on Wednesday.

Facebook will have the opportunity to respond to the commissioner before a final decision is made, something the company said it would do soon.

Facebook has been under scrutiny since allegations surfaced that London-based political consultancy Cambridge Analytica used data from tens of millions of Facebook accounts to help United States President Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign.

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The Facebook probe is part of a wider investigation into the use of data in political campaigns, which the ICO launched a year ago, the interim results of which are out today.

The ICO also announced it proposes to bring criminal action against SCL Elections, the parent company of Cambridge Analytica (CA), for allegedly failing to comply with an enforcement notice and allow access to the data it held.

"We are at a crossroads", said information commissioner Elizabeth Denham in a statement. It is now estimated that a third-party app used by Cambridge Analytica to collect data from Facebook affected a total of 87m users around the world.

She added: "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".

The ICO said it expects to have wrapped up these investigations by the end of October. Among the issues they are still probing is an assertion by Cambridge Analytica that it had deleted the data, after the social media giant requested it in 2015.

"We are fully cooperating with the investigation now under way by the Australian Privacy Commissioner and will review any additional evidence that is made available when the UK Office of the Information Commissioner releases their report", the spokeswoman said.

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