On literally the last day that Facebook’s rights were about to expire, they have finally acted out by claiming they would appeal against the fine of €500k imposed by UK’s digital watchdogs, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). This fine comes from the concerns of the committee post the Cambridge Analytica data breach as they feared UK citizen data has been leaked. Incidentally, ICO’s own investigation has revealed that no breach has taken place.
The data breach enabled Dr. Aleksandr Kogan’s company – Global Science Research back in 2014 to harvest personal data of 87 million people and pass it on to the British political consulting firm – Cambridge Analytica. CA then used the data to build psychographic profiles of users. Facebook still maintains that the breach affected only US residents and none of the UK residents were affected. Facebook’s lawyer Anna Benckert, said
The ICO’s investigation stemmed from concerns that UK citizens’ data may have been impacted by Cambridge Analytica, yet they now have confirmed that they have found no evidence to suggest that information of Facebook users in the UK was ever shared by Dr. Kogan with Cambridge Analytica, or used by its affiliates in the Brexit referendum.
Facebook did come clean about the data breach. The social media giant had publicly accepted their system’s failure to track Cambridge Analytica’s data misuse. The company has already notified that they now have closed all such loopholes that allowed such easy data access by third parties.
In the current legal battle, Facebook says it is fighting more for internet freedom rather than the fine’s monetary value. The company has made it very clear that it is not the actual money involved in the fine they are fighting against, but the ideals of how and what people should be allowed to share online that are threatened by ICO’s fine.