Facebook faces £500,000 fine from the UK’s data watchdog

Facebook faces £500,000 fine from the UK's data watchdog

Facebook faces £500,000 fine from the UK’s data watchdog

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has confirmed their intentions fo fine Facebook £500,000 over two breaches of the UK’s 1998 Data Protection Act. This fine is the maximum fine that the office can issue for civil cases at the time their investigation started, though the UK’s new 2018 Data protection act will up this maximum fine to £17 million (€20 million) or 4% of a company’s global turnover for future cases. 

Back in May 2017, the ICO started to look into the misuse of personal data by political campaigns, especially during the UK’s recent referendum on EU membership. Facebook and Cambridge Analytica are a focus for this investigation, especially after the revelation that an app was able to harvest the data of over 50 million Facebook users across the world, a number that is now thought to be around 87 million. 

Facebook has been sent a “notice of intent” by the ICO, after which a final decision will be made regarding their potential £500,000 fine. An “Enforcement Notice” will also be handed to SCL Elections, Cambridge Analytica’s parent company, to compel them to “deal properly” with investigators. A criminal prosecution of SCL Elections and Cambridge Analytica is also underway. 

Warning letters have also been issued to the UK’s 11 main political parties, which will compel them to agree to audits of their data protection practices. Aggregate IQ, a company which worked with the EU referendum’s Vote Leave campaign, has also been ordered to stop processing data that belongs to UK citizens. 

Facebook faces £500,000 fine from the UK's data watchdog 
 
The Information Commissioner’s Office has called for the government to create a code of practice that will limit the use of personal data by political campaigns before the next general election. 

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