Facebook faces potential $529B fine, By Australia over Cambridge Analytica

An Australian watch dog is suing Facebook over the Cambridge Analytica data breach in 2018. An Australian privacy act set out a provision for penalties up to 1.7 million to be levied per infraction. It is believed that there were 311, 074 local Facebook users who’s data was in the cache of 86 million profiles lifted by Cambridge Analytica.

The Office of Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) has logged proceeding against Facebook in federal court for the companies repeated privacy interference. Facebook allegedly disclosed personal information to an application called, this is your digital life. This application used user data for purposes other than what the data was collected for. In doing so Facebook breaches an Australian privacy act from 1988. The creator of the app “GSR” was hired by Cambridge Analytica to obtain and process Facebook users’ data for politically targeted ads.

User data was syphoned off from March 2014 to May 2015 by GSR. Under contract with Cambridge Analytica they were working on United States political campaigns of Ted Cruz and later President Trump. Facebook failed to take responsible steps to protect its individuals’ personal information from unauthorized disclosure. Along with the fines, Australian and international regulators want to restrict information available to app developers. Which would imply new protocols for social media. This case is currently before the Federal Court.


British Government To Hit Facebook With A Light Slap On The Wrist Over Cambridge Analytica Scandal.




The British Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has successfully gotten Facebook to agree to pay a five hundred thousand pound fine over their Cambridge Analytica scandal. Cambridge Analytica is a now defunct political consulting firm based out of Britain. The firm used calculated and unethical methods of data collection in order to provide highly valuable information to their customers. Cambridge Analytica was actively involved in politics in dozens of countries internationally. 

The ICO initially announced to the public that it would be attempting to fine facebook in July of 2018, only to officially serve the fine 3 months later. This is a common tactic done in order to catch companies off guard and not let them come up with a public statement that they can immediately release. Facebook appealed this fine, stating that they had not received any information that the ICO had on the matter, and in turn, were not being tried fairly. It’s important to note that Facebook has agreed to pay the fine only if they are to receive documents related to the case. Another stipulation of the settlement is that Facebook is not admitting liability.  

Facebook profited almost 56 billion dollars in 2018. That’s just over 43 billion pounds. Because of laws in the European Union, the British government could only fine Facebook a max of 500,000 pounds. This minor fine is nothing to them, though they still chose to appeal it. It seems likely that the money had little to do with Facebook’s appeal and that they were more interested in their image as well as valuable information they could get on Cambridge Analytica. It is also possible that admitting liability could provide grounds for further prosecution in other countries such as the US. Facebook is under international scrutiny and one can understand how they would take anything they can get their hands on in order to ensure security. This information could also give them insight into CA’s methods that might help them with future advertising tactics. While it’s important that Facebook is not being let off the leash, as this could incentivize them to prioritize security in the future, we must understand that this monetarily was nothing but a drop in the bucket.