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Brazil slaps $1.6 million penalty on Facebook in Cambridge Analytica scandal

Brazil’s government has imposed a $1.6 million (6.6 million Brazilian real) penalty on Facebook Inc. and its local unit for Cambride Analytica scandal, reports Bloomberg reported. The fine is for unlawful data sharing of users in Brazil, the Justice Ministry said, stating that it’s evident that data of about 443,000 users were made available to the makers of ‘thisisyourdigitallfie’ “for reasons that are at least questionable”. The fine is considerably higher than the $664,000 fine (£500,000) imposed by the UK in July 2018.

Facebook further failed to inform users about the consequences of their privacy settings, the ministry said, according to the Bloomberg report. The company should have been “much more careful” in automatically sharing data of friends and friends of friends with apps, according to the ministry’s statement. “The model of consent adopted had important implications to the people that had their data exposed.” A Facebook spokesperson had said that there is no evidence that data from users in Brazil were transferred to Cambridge Analytica, reports Bloomberg. The company can appeal the decision, and said it is reviewing its legal options.

Since March 2018, when the Cambridge Analytica scandal surfaced, Facebook has been fined penalties by multiple regulators:

  • $664,000 fine (£500,000) imposed by the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office, slapped in July 2018
  • $5 billion penalty slapped by the US Federal Trades Commission (FTC) in July 2019 for violating a decree governing privacy breaches, stemming from the Cambridge Analytics scandal
  • $1.1 million fine by Italy’s data protection regulator for violations of local privacy law, attached to the Cambridge Analytica scandal. This fine was imposed in June 2019.
  • $100 million fine by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, imposed in July 2019, for making misleading statements regarding risk of misuse of Facebook user data, stemming from Cambridge Analytica scandal

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