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Facebook's Cambridge Analytica data breach leads to Canada privacy violation finding



Canadian regulators on Thursday found that Facebook committed "serious" breaches of local laws about its abuse of users' personal information, announcing they would take the company to court to force it to change its privacy practices.

new legal threat from Canada comes after federal authorities and regulators in British Columbia determined that Facebook had place "superficial" protections for users' data and failed to keep close watch over third-party apps that accessed that information.

Regulators started their investigation last year in response to Facebook's entanglement with Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy that improperly accessed the personal information of 87 million of the social seat e's users. They said the incident would not have happened in the first place if Facebook had their earlier warnings – dating to 2009 – and improved its privacy practices.

Canadian authorities said they sought in response to "implement measures to ensure the company respects" It is accountability and other privacy obligations in the future. ” As a result, Canada's top data protection watchdog said it would seek an order in court to force Facebook to comply. Under current law, they said they lacked the ability to bring in a response to Facebook's violations. "Facebook's refusal to act responsibly is deeply troubled given the vast amount of sensitive personal information users have entrusted to this company," Daniel Therrien , the privacy commissioner of Canada, said in a statement. "Their privacy framework was empty, and their vague terms were so meaningful that they were not meaningful for privacy protection." Facebook did not respond to a request for comment.

The findings from Canada and British Columbia illustrate Facebook's knowledge On Wednesday, the social media giant said it would set aside $ 3 trillion in anticipation that it could have to pay as much as $ 5 trillion to settle a privacy investigation in the United States. the Post, accompanied by a series of additional penalties targeting both Facebook and its chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg.

Earlier Thursday, Irish regulators said they had opened a new probe of Facebook – this time focused on reports that it mishandled passwords for hundreds of millions of users on Facebook and its photo-sharing app Instagram. The passwords have been stored in plain text, exposed to company employees, though Facebook has said there s been no evidence of abuse. The investigation is the last such inquiry opened by Irish regulators, who have chief oversight of Facebook under tough new privacy rules implemented in Europe last year.

In Canada, regulators on Thursday said the "risk is high" their citizens' data might be reported to third-party apps and used in ways they never intended as a result of Facebook's refusal to implement any changes to its practices.

The country's investigation started in March 2018, following initial reports that Cambridge Analytics – through a quiz app created by an outside researcher – harnessed social data on users and their interests in order to better target political messages at them. The app amassed data not only about those who downloaded it but about their friends, a form of collection Facebook had allowed on the site for years.

The disclosure had been presented once, at the time a user registered for Facebook, "in relation to disclosures that could occur years later," in ways many may not have understood. And a user's affected friends never had been aware of how their data had been used as a result.

Canadian authorities estimated that 622,000 local users had been affected by Cambridge Analytica's efforts, though Facebook argued that there is no known evidence ”Of that. To that end, Facebook rejected Canada's conclusions, argued Canada had no authority to order in its policies, and opted against implementing any of the government's recommendations, including new efforts to inform users about the use of their data and the apps that may Have accessed their information. Instead, companies like Facebook "can say to a regulator," Thank you very much for your business on matters of law but we actually disagree, and we will continue as we were, "said Therrien, the country's privacy commissioner, on a call with reporters. He called on Parliament to change the law. “It is completely unacceptable.”


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