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Facebook Agrees to Pay 500,000 Pound Fine as Part of Settlement with UK’s Data Protection Watchdog

But finally, Facebook has agreed to pay the 500,000 pound fine but has made no admission of liability in relation to the fine

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Facebook, Fine, UK
The social networking giant had initially appealed the penalty. The ICO then pursued its own counter-appeal. Pixabay

Facebook has agreed to pay 500,000 pound fine as part of a settlement with UK’s data protection watchdog over the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

In 2017, the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) commenced a formal investigation into the misuse of personal data in political campaigns.

The social networking giant had initially appealed the penalty. The ICO then pursued its own counter-appeal.

But finally, Facebook has agreed to pay the 500,000 pound fine but has made no admission of liability in relation to the fine.

Facebook, Fine, UK
In 2017, the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) commenced a formal investigation into the misuse of personal data in political campaigns. Pixabay

“The ICO welcomes the agreement reached with Facebook for the withdrawal of their appeal against our Monetary Penalty Notice and agreement to pay the fine,” said James Dipple-Johnstone, Deputy Commissioner of the ICO.

“The ICO’s main concern was that UK citizen data was exposed to a serious risk of harm. Protection of personal information and personal privacy is of fundamental importance, not only for the rights of individuals, but also as we now know, for the preservation of a strong democracy.”

“We are pleased to hear that Facebook has taken, and will continue to take, significant steps to comply with the fundamental principles of data protection,” Dipple-Johnstone said.

Facebook said it wished it had “done more to investigate claims about Cambridge Analytica in 2015.”

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“We are pleased to have reached a settlement with the ICO,” said Harry Kinmonth, Director and Associate General Counsel, Facebook. (IANS)

Next Story

Social Networking Giant Facebook Blames Apple iOS for Bezos’ Phone Hacking

WhatsApp provides end-to-end encryption by default, which means only the sender and recipient can view the messages

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Social Media, Facebook, Authenticity, Posts
The social media application, Facebook is displayed on Apple's App Store, July 30, 2019. VOA

Facebook has blamed Apple’s operating system for the hacking of Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos’ phone, saying WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption is unhackable.

Investigators believe that Bezos’s iPhone was compromised after he received a 4.4MB video file containing malware via WhatsApp – in the same way when phones of 1,400 select journalists and human rights activists were broken into by Pegasus software from Israel-based NSO Group last year.

In an interview to the BBC last week, Facebook’s Vice President of Global Affairs and Communications, Nick Clegg, said it wasn’t WhatsApp’s fault because end-to-end encryption is unhackable and blamed Apple’s operating system for Bezos’ episode.

“It sounds like something on the, you know, what they call the operate, operated on the phone itself. It can’t have been anything on the, when the message was sent, in transit, because that’s end-to-end encrypted on WhatsApp,” Clegg told the show host.

Clegg compared the hack to opening a malicious email, saying that “it only comes to life when you open it”.

According to a report from FTI Consulting, a firm that has investigated Bezos’ phone, after that the video file was received, Bezos’ phone started sending unusually large amounts of outbound data, including his intimate messages with his girlfriend Lauren Sanchez.

Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and owner of Blue Origin. (Wikimedia commons)

According to Clegg, “something” must have affected the phone’s operating system.

“As sure as you can be that the technology of end-to-end encryption cannot, other than unless you have handset, or you have the message at either end, cannot be hacked into,” he was quoted as saying.

Apple was yet to comment on Facebook’s statement.

The NSO Group has denied it was part of Bezos’ hacking.

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WhatsApp provides end-to-end encryption by default, which means only the sender and recipient can view the messages. But the piece of NSO Group software exploited WhatsApp’s video calling system by installing the spyware via missed calls to snoop on the selected users.

According to leading tech policy and media consultant Prasanto K. Roy, end-to-end encrypted apps (E2EE) do provide security, and messages or calls cannot be intercepted and decrypted en route without enormous computing resources.

“But once anyone can get to your handset, whether a human or a piece of software, the encryption doesn’t matter anymore. Because on your handset, it’s all decrypted,” Roy told IANS recently. (IANS)