UK privacy Watchdog fines Facebook £500,000 over Cambridge Analytica data breach


Facebook has been fined a £500,000 ($665,000) by the UK’s data protection watchdog, the ICO, for failing to protect users data and take consent on how their data would be harvested by apps. This penalty also relates to Facebook’s role in the Cambridge Analytica data-harvesting scandal where the personal information of around 87 million users was shared with Cambridge Analytica.

The Information Commissioner’s Office on Wednesday ruled that Facebook had twice broken British data protection laws by failing to safeguard users information and not stay transparent about how the information is or can be used. In this regard, ICO has served Facebook the biggest fine. £500,000 is the maximum allowed under the Data Protection Act 1998, which was in force when a breach has occurred.

On the other hand, the fine amount is not very huge for Facebook who reported a net income of $5bn in its latest quarter and the fined £500,000 ($665,000) is about 18 minutes of quarterly profit. However, that’s not it, Facebook’s probe is part of a wider investigation into the use of data in political campaigns which ICO launched last year, and the interim results are out today.

The ICO is also said to be planning audits of the main credit reference companies and Cambridge University Psychometric Centre and ordered Canadian data slurpers Aggregate IQ to stop processing data retained on UK citizens. The full investigation of the same is due to complete in October this year.