Facebook taken legal action against by Australian personal privacy guard dog over Cambridge Analytica scandal

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Angela Lang/CNET

An Australian personal privacy guard dog is taking legal action against Facebook after the social media network supposedly handed down information from 311,074 Australian users to an app at the center of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The case, which was submitted in Australia’s federal court on Monday, is another indication that Facebook’s personal privacy issues are far from over. 

The Australian Information Commissioner stated Facebook broke Australia’s personal privacy law since user information was shown a test app called “This is Your Digital Life” from May 2014 to March 2015 and utilized in manner ins which users weren’t preparing for such as political profiling. Information collected from that app was apparently shown Cambridge Analytica, a UK political consulting company that worked for Donald Trump’s United States governmental project in 2016.

“We consider the design of the Facebook platform meant that users were unable to exercise reasonable choice and control about how their personal information was disclosed,” Australian Information and Privacy Commissioner Angelene Falk stated in a declaration. “Facebook’s default settings facilitated the disclosure of personal information, including sensitive information, at the expense of privacy.”

That individual details consists of individuals’s public profile information, birth dates, present cities, e-mails, buddies lists and page likes. Some users even gave the app access to their Facebook messages, according to court files.

Since the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook has actually made modifications to limit designer access to user information consisting of cutting off gain access to if an app hasn’t been utilized in 3 months. A Facebook spokesperson stated in a declaration that the business has actually been engaging with the Australian personal privacy guard dog over the last 2 years as part of the company’s examination.

“We’ve made major changes to our platforms, in consultation with international regulators, to restrict the information available to app developers, implement new governance protocols and build industry-leading controls to help people protect and manage their data. We’re unable to comment further as this is now before the Federal Court,” the spokesperson stated. 

The Cambridge Analytica scandal impacted as much as 87 million Facebook users. Worldwide, about 305,000 Facebook users set up the “This is Your Digital Life” app. About 53 Australians downloaded the test app, however information was likewise collected from the Facebook buddies of these users. An approximated 311,074 Australian users had actually information shown the app despite the fact that the majority of them never ever downloaded it.

If the case succeeds, Facebook might be struck with yet another large fine. Each action that broke the Australian personal privacy law might lead to a fine of as much as $1.7 million. In the United States, Facebook was struck with a record $5 billion fine by the Federal Trade Commission. The social media network likewise consented to pay a 500,000 pound ($644,000) fine from the UK’s information defense guard dog.


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