Facebook faces record fine over Cambridge Analytica scandal

Compensation sought for Australians caught up in Facebook privacy breach

Compensation sought for Australians caught up in Facebook privacy breach

Facebook is staring down its first fine for allowing Cambridge Analytica to improperly access data about millions of people, potentially opening the door for governments around the world to slap the social media giant with other tougher penalties and stricter regulation. £500,000 is the maximum allowed under the Data Protection Act 1998, which was in force when the breach occurred.

"A significant finding of the ICO investigation is the conclusion that Facebook has not been sufficiently transparent to enable users to understand how and why they might be targeted by a political party or campaign", Denham wrote, according to the Post.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has faced questioning by US and European Union lawmakers over how Cambridge Analytica improperly got hold of the personal data of 87 million Facebook users from a researcher. It's also about half of what the Spanish data protection authorities a year ago extracted from to the firm for privacy failings.

A Facebook spokeswoman said the company was cooperating fully with an investigation by Australia's privacy commissioner.

The report sets out regulatory action taken against a number of the star players in this year's data scandal, including a criminal prosecution against Cambridge Analytica's parent biz SCL Elections Ltd - which has since folded, in name at least - for failing to properly deal with the ICO's enforcement notice.

Cambridge Analytica used data from millions of Facebook accounts to help Donald Trump's 2016 presidential election campaign.

In a statement issued in advance, information commissioner Elizabeth Denham warned that voters' faith in the political system was being eroded.

She said: "We are at a crossroads".

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". "We have been working closely with the ICO in their investigation of Cambridge Analytica, just as we have with authorities in the U.S. and other countries".

It could be the first in a series of penalties for Facebook, political parties, data companies and academics as a result of the scandal.

"We are fully cooperating with the investigation now under way by the Australian Privacy Commissioner and will review any additional evidence that is made available when the UK Office of the Information Commissioner releases their report", the spokeswoman said.

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