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OAIC Takes Facebook To Federal Court Over Cambridge Analytica Breach

The Australian Information Commissioner has lodged proceedings against Facebook, alleging that the social media giant breached Australia’s Privacy Act during the period from March 2014 to May 2015.

The Cambridge Analytica scandal, which broke in 2018, revealed that the data of an estimated 87 million Facebook users may have been shared with third parties and used for political advertising campaigns. Although the ‘This is Your Digital Life’ app was only downloaded by 270,000 people, Facebook allowed the app to gather information on their Facebook friends too.

The Commissioner has alleged that the personal information of Australian Facebook users was disclosed for a different purpose than what was advertised.

“All entities operating in Australia must be transparent and accountable in the way they handle personal information, in accordance with their obligations under Australian privacy law,” Australian Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner Angelene Falk said. “Facebook’s default settings facilitated the disclosure of personal information, including sensitive information, at the expense of privacy.”

The Federal Court can impose a civil penalty of up to $1.7million for each serious and/or repeated interference with privacy.

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