Facebook pays £500,000 fine in the UK over Cambridge Analytica issues

The Information Commissioner’s Office has announced that Facebook has agreed to pay a fine of £500,000 after the regulator accused it of violating the Data Protection Act 1998 with regards to the Cambridge Analytica scandal. As part of the agreement, Facebook paid the fine but has made no admission of liability in relation to the matter and both parties agreed to pay their own legal bills.

The ICO initially fined Facebook on October 24, 2018, but Facebook appealed on November 21. The General Regulatory Chamber which dealt with the appeal the told the ICO to disclose materials related to the decision-making process which the ICO in turn appealed. As part of the agreement, both parties have withdrawn their appeals and Facebook has been provided with the ICO materials to further its own investigations into the issues around Cambridge Analytica.

The Deputy Commissioner at the ICO, James Dipple-Johnstone, said:

“The ICO welcomes the agreement reached with Facebook for the withdrawal of their appeal against our Monetary Penalty Notice and agreement to pay the fine. We are pleased to hear that Facebook has taken, and will continue to take, significant steps to comply with the fundamental principles of data protection. With this strong commitment to protecting people’s personal information and privacy, we expect that Facebook will be able to move forward and learn from the events of this case.”

Meanwhile, Facebook’s Director and Associate General Counsel, Harry Kinmonth, said:

“We are pleased to have reached a settlement with the ICO. As we have said before, we wish we had done more to investigate claims about Cambridge Analytica in 2015. The ICO has stated that it has not discovered evidence that the data of Facebook users in the EU was transferred to Cambridge Analytica by Dr Kogan. However, we look forward to continuing to cooperate with the ICO’s wider and ongoing investigation into the use of data analytics for political purposes.”

The ICO said that this agreement best serves the interest of all UK data subjects that are Facebook users and that both entities are committed to continuing to work to ensure compliance with applicable data protection laws.

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