Facebook Fined Ksh66.8 Million Over Cambridge Analytica Data Harvesting Scandal

  • Facebook has been slapped with a record fine of Ksh66.8 million over the Cambridge Analytica data harvesting scandal. 

    In an announcement made by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO),  revealed that it was preparing a criminal prosecution against Cambridge Analytica's parent company, Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL), a firm accused of campaigning for President Uhuru Kenyatta in the 2017 General Election. 

    Additionally, ICO sent 11 warning letters to political parties in the United Kingdom. 

    The ICO seeks to have the parties to undergo compulsory audits of their use of personal data, including the purchase of marketing lists and lifestyle information to help target voters. 

    [caption caption="Cambridge Analytica Chief Executive Alexander Nix"][/caption]

    The watchdog is currently investigating whether data obtained from Facebook was misused by both the Leave and Remain campaigns during the EU referendum, and in the 2016 US presidential election. 

    Admitting the scandal, Mark Zuckerberg exclaimed that the act was "clearly a breach of trust." 

    Appearing before a US parliamentary committee, Zuckerberg apologised for an oversight which allowed the "personality quiz" to mine the information of users. 

    At the center of the row is University of Cambridge professor Alexander Kogan who, according to Facebook, made a "personality app" that in fact gathered data he then sold to third parties.

    Kogan could access information such as the cities Facebook users set on their profile, the content they had liked, as well as more limited information about friends who had their privacy settings set to allow it.

    The guidelines are that the data should be deleted but Kogan sold the information to Cambridge Analytica and its parent company Strategic Communications Laboratories. 

    In June last year, there was talk that the Jubilee Party had acquired the services of Analytica to assess Kenyatta's chances of winning the election.

    [caption caption="Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg"][/caption]