Security & Fraud

Italy Fines Facebook $1.1M For Mishandling Data

Italy Fines Facebook $1.1M For Mishandling Data

An Italian data protection regulator hit Facebook with a fine of  €1 million ($1.1M) for violating local privacy laws in relation to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, according to a report.

The scandal concerned the misuse of the personal data of 87 million Facebook users, whose info was collected by the political data company Cambridge Analytica through Dr. Aleksandr Kogan’s “thisisyourdigitallife” quiz app.

The fine is relatively small, because the offense happened before Europe’s stringent data protection initiative, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which can fine companies as much as 4 percent of their annual global turnover.

“We have said before that we wish we had done more to investigate claims about Cambridge Analytica in 2015. However, evidence indicates that no Italian user data was shared with Cambridge Analytica. Dr Kogan only shared data with Cambridge Analytica in relation to U.S. users,” Facebook said in a statement. “We made major changes to our platform back then and have also significantly restricted the information which app developers can access. We’re focused on protecting people’s privacy and have invested in people, technology and partnerships, including hiring more than 20,000 people focused on safety and security over the last year. We will review the Garante’s decision and will continue to engage constructively with their concerns.”

The U.K.’s Data Protection Act (DPA) also hit Facebook with a fine regarding the scandal, to the tune of £500K. Facebook is appealing that decision, saying that no U.K. user data was given to Cambridge Analytica.

The regulator in Italy said that 57 users downloaded the quiz app, and 214,077 Italians’ info was processed without permission. The app was also able to access data of users’ friends.

The regulator previously approached Facebook about the issue, and the company said it would pay €52,000 to settle it. The Italian DPA eventually decided that it wasn’t enough.

“The sum takes into account, in addition to the size of the database, also the economic conditions of Facebook and the number of global and Italian users of the company,” the DPA said in a press release.

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