Displaying items by tag: data privacy

Italian regulator threatens Facebook with €5m fine

Written on Monday, 27 January 2020 11:01

Italy’s Competition Authority (ICA) has taken legal action against Facebook, threatening to fine the social media giant for failing to comply with their terms regarding data practices involving user data which were previously set in November 2018.

The ICA issued a statement which read that if a company failed to comply with their terms, it would potentially result in a €5 million fine.

Facebook was fined €5 million back in November 3018 after the ICA found that the social media giant did not inform its users adequately about their personal data collection procedure and how it was being used for commercial purposes. More specifically, they were penalized on the grounds of “the remunerative aims underlying the supply of the service , while at the same time emphasizing that it is provided free of charge.”

The ICA also asked Facebook to put an end to this and publish an amending statement which was to be shown on the homepage of the website as well as the app and the person profiles of all Italian users.

However the regulatory agency found that, upon registering on the social network, users “are still not adequately and immediately informed about the collection and use of their personal data for commercial purposes” and that “Facebook did not publish the amending statement”.

When it comes to regulator probes, Facebook has been under the spotlight over the past few years.

A spokesperson rom Facebook stated, “We are reviewing the authority decision… We made changes last year, including to our terms of service, to further clarify how Facebook makes money. These changes were part of our ongoing commitment to give people more transparency and control over their information.”

Published in Finance

Facebook faces historic $5bn fine over privacy violations

Written on Thursday, 25 July 2019 06:11

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has decided to fine Facebook $5 billion over privacy violations from the Cambridge Analytica scandal as well as a $100 million penalty by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for releasing misleading information about user data.

Notwithstanding the highest ever fine imposed on the tech giant, the FTC said that Facebook will also have to submit new sweeping restrictions and a newly modified corporate structure which aims to hold the company accountable for their decision regarding the privacy of its users.

The FTC issued a new 20-year settlement in an effort to avoid another potential situation where Facebook deceives its users about their privacy. The settlement order will reform the way the company makes its decisions about privacy through encouraging greater transparency and holding the tech behemoth responsible through several levels and channels of compliance.

Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, stated, “The next focus for our company is to build privacy protections as strong as the best services we provide. I’m committed to doing this well and delivering the best private social platform for our community.”

The $5 billion fine accounts for around 9% of the tech company’s 2018 revenue.

In fact, the decisions came amidst Facebook’s announcement of its second quarter earnings. The company’s stock experienced a 2% decrease during this quarter in the pre-market trading.

After the fines were made official, Zuckerberg said, “Just as we have an audit committee of our board to oversee our financial controls, we’ll set up a new privacy committee of our board that will oversee our privacy program. We’ve also asked one of our most experienced product leaders to take on the role of Chief Privacy Officer for Products.”

Published in Government

More than a dozen tech giants in the United States, including Verizon, Facebook, Snap, Twitter and Alphabet’s Google, have filed a 44-page brief with the Supreme Court calling for tighter restrictions on government officials having access to private and sensitive cellphone data of individuals.

The move highlights an ongoing dispute in the US over whether authorities should have to obtain a warrant before accessing data that could reveal an individual’s location via their cellphone. More and more data is being collected through digital devices, the brief said; therefore greater protection is needed for individuals under the law.

The brief stated: “That users rely on technology companies to process their data for limited purposes does not mean that they expect their intimate data to be monitored by the government without a warrant.”

Timothy Carter, a man convicted of robbing Radio Shack and T-Mobile stories in Ohio and Michigan in 2013, appeared before the justices last June to hear his appeal that data was used to convict him without a warrant. Using “cell site location information” obtained from Carter’s wireless carrier, federal prosecutors were able to prove his location near several of the robbery sites.

Carpenter claims that the prosecutors didn’t obtain a warrant to access information about his whereabouts, which he said amounts to an unreasonable search and seizure under the US Constitution’s Fourth Amendment. But Carpenter’s convictions were upheld by a federal appeals court last year, who determined that no warrant was needed to access the data.

The debate over how much surveillance law enforcement and intelligence agencies should have over individuals is heating up in the US, amidst concern among lawmakers that authorities are ignoring warrant requirements to obtain private information.

Carpenter’s representative, Nathan Freed Wessler with the American Civil Liberties Union, said the brief by tech giants represents a “robust defense of their customers’ privacy rights in the digital age.” Carpenter’s case will be brought before the court some time after its new term begins in October, Reuters said.

Mr. Wessler highlighted the importance of Verizon’s role in the brief, given that, as the largest carrier in the United States, it receives thousands of requests for cellphone location records from authorities every year and just about always complies.

Civil liberties lawyers argue that in order to pursue an arrest, authorities need “probable cause” and therefore a warrant, to avoid searches that are unconstitutional.

People should be able to use technologies without running the risk of having their personal data taken without permission, the tech giants explain in their brief to the Supreme Court.

Published in Government

Citizens of the United Kingdom will soon be able to force social media platforms to delete information about them, including content published during their childhood, due to government proposals that will bring data laws into line with new European regulations, Reuters reported.

Digital Minister Matt Hancock said Britons will be given more control over their data by having “the right to be forgotten” online and ask for their personal data to be erased. The new measures will force companies to seek permission to obtain personal data rather than rely on pre-selected tick boxes, which are often ignored, Hancock said.

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), to become enforceable from May 2018, tightens and extends the scope of data protection law in Europe, and the UK’s new rules will fall in line with this.

Despite the UK planning to leave the European Union, it will have to comply with GDPR, according to lawyers and tech experts, to avoid disruption to the data traffic that is essential to international business. The new rules would give the UK one of the most robust, yet dynamic, set of data laws globally, Hancock claims.

"It will give people more control over their data, require more consent for its use and prepare Britain for Brexit," he said, adding that the data protection regulator, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), will be given scope to issue higher fines (up to 17 million pounds), in cases of serious data braches.

Published in Government