Wednesday, 11 July 2018 05:59

Australian privacy complaint may mean fine for Facebook

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A complaint made to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner over Facebook's provision of Australian users' details to now defunct analytics firm Cambridge Analytica could mean a big payout if it succeeds.

IMF Bentham, a company that funds litigation, and legal firm Johnson Winter & Slattery have made the complaint on behalf of the 311,027 Australians who were caught up in the scandal, The Australian reported.

The analytics firm is claimed to have used the data to build software that predicted political preferences and also enabled targeted advertising.

IMF Bentham's investment manager Nathan Landis said that most awards for such offences ranged from $1000 to $10,000, which could mean an outlay of between $300 million and $3 billion for Facebook.

Landis said the privacy commissioner would have to determine how serious the breach was. Else, the possibility of a class action was not ruled out.

Cambridge Analytica was shut down in May after Facebook came clean about the extent of the data that was provided to the firm.

A Facebook spokesman was quoted as saying: "We are fully co-operating with the investigation currently under way by the Australian Privacy Commissioner and will review any additional evidence that is made available when the UK Office of the Information Commissioner releases their report.”


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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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