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EU Expresses Concern Over Facebook Losing Data

Under GDPR, companies can be fined up to four percent of annual global turnover if they fail to abide by the rules.

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This photo shows the logo for Facebook on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite, in New York's Times Square. VOA
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The EU’s top data privacy enforcer expressed worry Tuesday that Facebook had lost control of data security after a vast privacy breach that she said affected five million Europeans.

“It is a question for the management, if they have things under control,” EU Justice and Consumer Affairs Commissioner Vera Jourova told AFP in Luxembourg.

“The magnitude of the company … makes it very difficult to manage, but they have to do that because they are harvesting the data and they are making incredible money on using our privacy as the commodity,” she added.

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This Feb. 19, 2014, photo shows a Facebook app icon on a smartphone in New York. VOA

Jourova spoke just days after Facebook admitted that up to 50 million user accounts around the world had been breached by hackers, in yet another scandal for the beleaguered social platform.

“I will know more … in hours or days but according to our knowledge, five million Europeans have been affected out of those 50, which is an incredible number,” she said.

Jourova said Facebook’s quick revelation of the case demonstrated that new European rules on data protection implemented earlier this year are working.

New EU rules – the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – have been billed as the biggest shake-up of privacy regulations since the birth of the web and give European regulators vast new enforcement powers.

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Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg testifies before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on foreign influence operations and their use of social media on Capitol Hill. VOA

The case for GDPR was boosted by another recent scandal over the harvesting of Facebook users’ data by Cambridge Analytica, a US-British political research firm, for the 2016 US presidential election.

Jourova said the worst cases involve a company finding a major breach then failing to warn authorities or their users, which she said doesn’t appear to be the case in the latest Facebook drama.

Also Read: The European Union Warns Facebook Over Consumer’s Data Usage

Under GDPR, companies can be fined up to four percent of annual global turnover if they fail to abide by the rules, including notification of the data breach within 72 hours.

Facebook met this requirement, Jourova pointed out, which “is one of the factors which might result in lower sanctions, but this is only theoretical”. (VOA)

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Irish Watchdog Opens Inquiry into Latest Privacy Breach of Facebook

The private information of Facebook users was alleged to be used to influence the US 2016 general elections in favour of President Donald Trump's campaign

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Irish watchdog opens inquiry into latest Facebook privacy breach. Pixabay

Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) has announced a fresh investigation into Facebook, a day after the social networking giant admitted another security breach where nearly 6.8 million users risked their private photos being exposed to third-party apps.

Facebook, which is already facing a probe from the Irish watchdog for a previous privacy leak in September that affected 50 million people, may end up with fine of 4 per cent of its annual turnover – the highest fine under the new European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), The Independent reported on Saturday.

In Facebook’s case, the fine could amount to nearly 1.5 billion euros.

“The Irish DPC has received a number of breach notifications from Facebook since the introduction of the GDPR on May 25, 2018,” a spokesperson for the watchdog was quoted as saying.

The fresh move came after Facebook on Friday said more than 1,500 apps built by 876 developers may have also been affected by the bug that exposed users’ unshared photos during a 12-day-period from September 13 to 25.

Facebook, in a statement, said it has fixed the breach and will roll out next week “tools for app developers that will allow them to determine which people using their app might be impacted by this bug”.

“Currently, we believe this may have affected up to 6.8 million users and up to 1,500 apps built by 876 developers. The only apps affected by this bug were ones that Facebook approved to access the photos API and that individuals had authorised to access their photos.

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This photo shows a Facebook app icon on a smartphone in New York. VOA

“We’re sorry this happened,” said Facebook, adding that it will also notify the people potentially impacted by this bug via an alert.

The disclosure is another example of Facebook’s failure to properly protect users’ privacy that may drew more criticism of its privacy policy.

Earlier this month, Italian regulators fined Facebook 10 million euros for selling users’ data without informing them.

The competition watchdog handed Facebook two fines totalling 10 million euros, “also for discouraging users from trying to limit how the company shares their data”.

The Irish watchdog, which is Facebook’s lead privacy regulator in Europe, in October opened a formal investigation into a data breach which affected 50 million users.

Also Read- Prime Minister Narendra Modi Extends Condolences to France Terror Attack Victims

“The investigation will examine Facebook’s compliance with its obligation under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to implement appropriate technical and organisational measures to ensure the security and safeguarding of the personal data it processes,” said the DPC.

The world’s largest social media network has been grilled over the past year for its mishandling of user data, including its involvement in a privacy scandal in March when Cambridge Analytica, a British political consultancy firm, was accused of illegally accessing the data of more than 87 million Facebook users without their consent.

The private information of Facebook users was alleged to be used to influence the US 2016 general elections in favour of President Donald Trump’s campaign. (IANS)