Facebook handed maximum data breach fine for role in Cambridge Analytica scandal

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during the annual F8 summit at the San Jose Mc Enery Convention Center in San Jose California

This is now estimated at 87 million, according to the Information Commissioner's Office.

The UK's information commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, said she would fine the social network as her office investigates how the data of tens of millions of users was improperly accessed.

Today's update "includes the ICO's intention to fine Facebook a maximum £500,000".Had the Cambridge Analytica scandal happened after the advent of the General Data Protection Regulation, the ICO could have hit the tech firm with a penalty up to £17m, or four per cent of global turnover.

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Denham also called for the government to introduce a statutory code of practice for the use of personal data in political campaigns, adding that "this can not be at the expense of transparency, fairness and compliance with the law". "Fines and prosecutions punish the bad actors, but my real goal is to effect change and restore trust and confidence in our democratic system".

Facebook can respond to the commissioner before a final decision is made, and said it was reviewing the report and would respond soon. The region's competition chief said the social media company had provided misleading information about its privacy promises during its 2014 acquisition of the messenger app WhatsApp.

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Facebook's chief privacy officer Erin Egan said in response to the ICO's report: "As we have said before, we should have done more to investigate claims about Cambridge Analytica and taken action in 2015".

As such it has served Facebook with a notice of intent to fine the biz, and if the sum is coughed up by the web giant as expected, it will be the biggest fine issued by the ICO.

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.

Last month, Facebook's director of privacy policy, Steve Satterfield, told a European parliament hearing that the company believed no users in the European Union were affected in the Cambridge Analytica breach.

The U.K.'s probe adopted a wide lens, focusing not only on Facebook but the ecosystem of players - totaling 172 organizations and 285 individuals - involved in the collection and sale of data about web users for political purposes.

Collins said Wednesday that the social media giant "should now make the results of their internal investigations known to the ICO, our committee and other relevant investigatory authorities".

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