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By 12 July 2018 | Categories: news

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Facebook has been slapped with its first fine for its role in allowing Cambridge Analytica to access users’ data. While the scandal caused waves, the fine – a paltry (by Facebook’s standards) £500,000 ($663 000) - certainly won’t put a dent in the company’s profits, with estimates being that it will earn back the fine in seven minutes.

However, what it does do is show that there are consequences to failing to secure users’ data, especially from odious databrokers like Cambridge Analytica, which had deep ties to the Republican political party and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in the US.

According to Facebook, 87 million users’ personal data was compromised and used to try steer voters towards a political candidate. With that in mind, the question becomes: why is the penalty for Facebook so low? Apparently, it is the maximum that the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) can impose for breaching data privacy laws in Britain.

Perhaps having a greater impact on Facebook, and more effectively compelling them to tighten their security and protections of users data, is the reputational damage that is done. Facebook is not the only one for whom Cambridge Analytica has opened a can of worms. According to the BBC, the Information Commissioner’s Office is looking into how data, gathered from transactions and usage of social media sites, is being sold to advertisers, with a particular focus on two of the bigger data brokers, Axciom and Experian.    

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