Australia's privacy watchdog sues Facebook over Cambridge Analytica breach

The commission alleges the personal information of Australian Facebook users was disclosed without their permission to an app called "This Is Your Digital Life", which then sold the data to political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica.

Reuters
The Facebook logo and binary cyber codes are seen in this illustration.
Sydney: Australia's privacy watchdog announced legal action against Facebook on Monday for alleged "systematic failures" exposing more than 300,000 Australians to a data breach by Cambridge Analytica. The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner said it had initiated proceedings against the tech giant and that Facebook committed "serious and/or repeated interferences with privacy".

The commission alleges the personal information of Australian Facebook users was disclosed without their permission to an app called "This Is Your Digital Life", which then sold the data to political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica.

US regulators said the firm "engaged in deceptive practices to harvest personal information from tens of millions of Facebook users for voter profiling and targeting".


Australia's watchdog began its own investigation into Cambridge Analytica two years ago, with Monday's announcement it was pursuing Facebook in the courts the first action resulting from the probe. "Facebook's default settings facilitated the disclosure of personal information, including sensitive information, at the expense of privacy," Australian information and privacy commissioner Angelene Falk said.

"We claim these actions left the personal data of around 311,127 Australian Facebook users exposed to be sold and used for purposes including political profiling, well outside users' expectations."

In a statement, Facebook said it had "actively engaged" with the Australian investigation but refused to comment further on the specifics of the matter as it was before the court.
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