Facebook faces record fine over Cambridge Analytica scandal

The British findings highlight that the fallout from Facebook's Cambridge Analytica scandal is only beginning.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is still investigating Facebook, and is yet to penalize the company.

OAIC is conducting its own investigation into whether Facebook breached the Privacy Act, which obligates organisations to ensure customers are notified about the collection and handling of their personal information.

"It shows the scale of the problem and that we are doing the right thing with our new data protection rules", she said.

Facebook has said it will be reviewing the report and responding to the ICO soon.

Facebook spent more money lobbying the United States federal government in the first quarter of this year than it ever has before: $3.3 million. That probe is still ongoing, but the watchdog released a progress report on Wednesday, plus a separate report containing recommendations about the issue of personal information and political influence.

"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", Damian Collins, chair of the parliamentary inquiry, said.

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"Facebook users will be rightly concerned that the company left their data far too vulnerable to being collected without their consent by developers working on behalf of companies like Cambridge Analytica".

"The alleged breaches surround the circumstances in which a third party, Cambridge Analytica, gained unauthorised access to users' profiles and information", the company said. The British agency said Facebook may have had a "missed opportunity" in 2014 to have thwarted Kogan's activities on the site.

Cambridge Analytica shut down its business in May.

The London-based firm worked for Donald Trump's campaign team in the 2016 USA presidential election and used the data to build a software program to predict and try to influence votes. In 2017, Facebook generated $40 billion in ad sales. 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 have been working closely with the ICO in their investigation of Cambridge Analytica, just as we have with authorities in the USA and other countries".

"Engagement with the electorate is vital to the democratic process; it is therefore understandable that political campaigns are exploring the potential of advanced data analysis tools to help win votes".

It's not the first time, however, that Europe has penalized Facebook.

A leading litigation firm in the country filed a complaint with Australia's Information Commissioner, the country's privacy regulator, that could result in heavy fines for Facebook.

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