Facebook Data Scandal is a Game Changer

Facebook Data Scandal is a Game Changer

According to the Information Commissioner, the response to Facebook’s data exploitation scandal, which involves the data of nearly 1.1 million Britons out of a total 87 million users affected, has demonstrated that data protection and privacy are more important to the UK public than ever before.   

Elizabeth Denham, speaking ahead of the announcement of a major public awareness campaign, will seek to improve people’s trust and confidence in how organisations handle their personal information.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) recently revealed that Facebook is among 30 organisations under investigation as part of a probe into the use of personal data and analytics by political campaigns, parties, social media companies and other commercial actors.

Cambridge Analytica, which allegedly used the data for Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential election campaign and AggregateIQ (AIQ) - a Canadian data company that reportedly played a role in the Vote Leave campaign in the UK referendum on leaving the European Union – have also been named by the ICO as being involved in the investigation.

AIQ denies ever being part of CA, its parent company SCL, or accessing the improperly obtained Facebook data.    

In a keynote speech at the ICO’s 11th annual Data Protection Practitioners’ Conference (DPPC) in Manchester on 9th April, Denham will tell more than 800 delegates: “It has been hard to miss the exposé of Cambridge Analytica’s alleged use of personal data in election campaigns, including information gathered from Facebook.

“Our ongoing investigation into the use of personal data analytics for political purposes by campaigns, parties, social media companies and others will be measured, thorough and independent. Only when we reach our conclusions based on the evidence will we decide if enforcement action is warranted.

“The dramatic revelations of the past few weeks can be seen as a game changer in data protection. Suddenly, everyone is paying attention. Our public information campaign, Your Data Matters, will help raise awareness but also, I hope, increase trust in our data-driven world.”    

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