LONDON, U.K. – The data protection watchdog in the U.K. has slapped Facebook with a huge fine worth 500,000 pounds for its role in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Britain’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has announced that it is slapping the world’s largest social network company with the huge fine since the company had let a “serious breach” of the law take place.
According to the ICO, Facebook had given app developers access to people’s data “without clear consent,” and the fine issued on the company is the maximum allowed under the old data protection rules before GDPR took effect in May this year.
In its statement announcing the fine, ICO said, “Between 2007 and 2014, Facebook processed the personal information of users unfairly by allowing application developers access to their information without sufficiently clear and informed consent, and allowing access even if users had not downloaded the app, but were simply ‘friends’ with people who had.”
The watchdog added, “Facebook also failed to keep the personal information secure because it failed to make suitable checks on apps and developers using its platform.”
Meanwhile, Facebook said that it was reviewing the ICO’s decision and issued a statement saying, “While we respectfully disagree with some of their findings, we have said before that we should have done more to investigate claims about Cambridge Analytica and taken action in 2015.”
ICO reportedly informed the U.S.-based company in July about its intention to issue the maximum fine in the case.
According to the ICO, “Even after the misuse of the data was discovered in December 2015, Facebook did not do enough to ensure those who continued to hold it had taken adequate and timely remedial action, including deletion.”
ICO said that it found over a million people in the U.K. had their data harvested by the personality quiz.
Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said in the statement, “A company of its size and expertise should have known better and it should have done better.”
Now, the Information Commissioner will present evidence on how data analytics was used for political purposes before the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Select Committee on November 6.
The Cambridge Analytica scandal first came to light after researcher Dr Aleksandr Kogan and his company GSR used a personality quiz to harvest the Facebook data of up to 87 million people.
It was revealed that some of the data was shared with Cambridge Analytica and that the company used it to target political advertising in the U.S.