Facebook faces record fine over Cambridge Analytica scandal

The fine "sends a clear signal that I consider this a significant issue, especially when you look at the scale and the impact of this kind of data breach", said Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham.

Social media giant Facebook was dealt a blow this morning when a prominent United Kingdom watchdog said it planned to impose a maximum fine on the company for two breaches of the Data Protection Act.

Under Australian law, all organizations must take "reasonable steps" to ensure personal information is held securely and IMF Bentham has teamed up with a major law firm to lodge a complaint with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIO).

Facebook is facing by the UK's privacy watchdog for allowing Cambridge Analytica to improperly access key personal data on millions of its users.

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

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

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British authorities also said Tuesday they are bringing a "criminal prosecution" against the parent company for SCL Elections Limited, for failing to respond to its enforcement notices.

"We are fully cooperating with the investigation now under way by the Australian Privacy Commissioner and will review any additional evidence that is made available when the UK Office of the Information Commissioner releases their report", the spokeswoman said.

On Tuesday, U.K. watchdogs announced a $664,000 preliminary fine - the maximum amount allowed - after finding Facebook lacked strong privacy protections and overlooked critical warning signs that might have prevented Cambridge Analytica from trying to manipulate public opinion on behalf of clients around the world, including those who sought to withdraw Britain from the European Union in 2016.

Facebook broke the law by failing to safeguard people's data and not being transparent about how that data could be harvested, said Ms Denham.

"The number of Facebook users affected by this kind of data scraping may be far greater than has now been acknowledged".

Politicians are calling for greater transparency from Facebook in light of the ICO fine. Facebook also received a minor fine of $164,000 from French regulators for failing to meet the country's data protection rules.

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