‘Systematic failure’ which has led to the exposing of more than 300,000 Australians by breach of data by Cambridge Analytica made Australia’s watchdog to file a case against Facebook. The Office of Australian Information Commissioner announced legal action against Facebook on March 09, 2020 for alleged “systematic failures” which has exposed more than 3,00,000 Australians to data breach at the hands of Cambridge Analytica.The Office of Australian Information Commissioner stated that “initiated legal proceedings against the tech giant. Facebook committed serious and/or repeated interferences with privacy
”. The allegation made by the Information Commission mentions the details of Australian users which were disclosed without permission to an app called “This Is Your Digital Life
”, which was then sold to Political Consulting firm Cambridge Analytica. Presently, the political firm is defunct but it did gather headlines for the massive scandal involving Facebook in hijacking data in 2018. The investigation against the said firm was commenced by the investigative authorities about two years back, the announcement was made that they will be pursuing Facebook in the Courts which is the first action resulting from the probe.
The Commissioner of Australian Information and Privacy, Angelene Falk, said that “Facebook’s default settings facilitated the disclosure of personal information, including sensitive information, at the expense of privacy, We claim these actions left the personal data of around 311,127 Australian Facebook users exposed to be sold and used for purposes including political profiling, well outside users’ expectations.”
During the internal investigation committed by Facebook, they found that there were 87 million users in the United States and elsewhere in the world had been compromised by this firm and claimed that the practice has violated the social network’s terms of service.
The statement released by Facebook says “actively engaged with the Australian investigation but refused to comment further on the specifics of the matter as it was before the court. It had made major changes to its 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”.
In a settlement for the infringement of privacy and release of details of users, Facebook paid a record 5 billion USD to US regulator and 650,000 USD in the United Kingdom. Though it is not clear about the penalty which Facebook will have to pay for settlement if the Australia action succeeds contravention to the regulation of Australia’s privacy attracts a maximum penalty of 1.7 million (Australian Dollars) or 1.1 million in USD. Author: Asif Iqbal