Wednesday 18 July 2018

Facebook faces fine from UK data privacy watchdog

The tech giant is accused of not properly protecting user data and not sharing how people’s data was harvested by others. Stock picture
The tech giant is accused of not properly protecting user data and not sharing how people’s data was harvested by others. Stock picture
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Facebook could be fined a symbolic £500,000 (€565,000) by the UK's privacy regulator after the social network giant failed to prevent key user data falling into the hands of a political consultancy that helped get Donald Trump elected as US President.

The UK Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) is threatening the company with the maximum penalty allowed, it said yesterday, when issuing its first findings in a probe that looked at some 30 organisations, including social media platforms such as Facebook.

The tech giant is accused of not properly protecting user data and not sharing how people's data was harvested by others.

In its report, the ICO also said several overseas regulators and agencies had requested updates to help move their own investigations forward.

"Given this, and the high public interest issues raised by this work, this report has been put together to consistently inform all parties as to our progress at this time," the ICO said.

Facebook will get a chance to respond to the proposed penalties before the ICO releases a final decision.

Its shares were higher in early trading yesterday.

"As we have said before, we should have done more to investigate claims about Cambridge Analytica and take action in 2015," said Erin Egan, Facebook's chief privacy officer.

Stocks slumped, the dollar gained and commodities slid in early US trading yesterday as markets reeled from fresh salvoes in the escalating trade war between the US and China.

The S&P 500 Index ended the longest rally in a month after the Trump administration said it will slap tariffs on an additional $200bn of Chinese products.

The Asian nation vowed to retaliate, helping to drive down shares in Europe and Asia. Metals bore the brunt of the reaction in commodities: copper, nickel and zinc all tumbled.

"With tariff news moving once again to the front burner, market reaction abroad underscores global market uncertainty as to the impacts of tariffs on economics and corporate profitability," Ernie Cecilia, chief investment officer at Bryn Mawr Trust Co, said.

"It also highlights clearly that short-term market movements, at the index level, are driven more so by headlines." (Bloomberg)

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