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News hardware & software 10 March 2020, 13:36

author: Bart Swiatek

Australia Sues Facebook; Up to 529 Billion Australian Dollars at Stake

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OIAC), the Australian authority responsible for privacy, has sued Facebook for negligence related to the Cambridge Analytica affair. The lawsuit concerns the disclosure of private information of over 300,000 users, which may result in a fine of nearly 530 billion Australian dollars.

Australia has decided to bring out the big guns against Facebook.

IN A NUTSHELL:

  1. Australia is suing Facebook in connection with the Cambride Analytica affair;
  2. The case concerns 311,074 breaches of user privacy, each of which is punishable by up to 1.7 million Australian dollars (AUD 529 billion in total);
  3. The scandal is related to the illegal use of private data to manipulate the electoral process.

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OIAC), the body responsible for overseeing privacy issues of Australian citizens, has decided to sue Facebook for the high-profile Cambridge Analytica scandal. The company is accused of negligence against 311,074 users whose data were found in a leak disclosed in March 2018. Each case involves a fine of 1.7 million Australian dollars. The total amount of AUD 529 billion is therefore at stake.

“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," reads the document published by OIAC.

Please note that the user data has been transferred to GSR, the company responsible for This is Your Digital Life application, and to other parties. Subsequently, the information was illegally used, among other things, in political campaigns (during the last presidential election in the United States and the Brexit referendum in the United Kingdom).

"We’ve actively engaged with the OAIC over the past two years as part of their investigation. We’ve made major changes to our 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. We’re unable to comment further as this is now before the Federal Court," wrote Facebook in a message sent to TechCrunch.

  1. Facebook - official website
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