Info-tech

FTC sues Cambridge Analytica for ‘deceiving’ millions of Facebook users

PTI Washington | Updated on July 25, 2019 Published on July 25, 2019

The US trade commission has filed a lawsuit against Cambridge Analytica, accusing the UK-based data company of adopting “deceptive tactics” to obtain personal information of Facebook users, a day after it imposed a whopping $5 billion fine on the social media giant for privacy violations.

Cambridge Analytica (CA) is accused of acquiring data from up to 87 million Facebook profiles for use in political campaigns around the world.

The $5 billion penalty against Facebook is the largest-ever imposed on any company for violating consumers’ privacy. In addition to paying the penalty, it has also agreed to submit itself to new restrictions and a modified corporate structure that will hold the company accountable for the decisions it makes about its users’ privacy. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Wednesday alleged that Cambridge Analytica, its former CEO Alexander Nix and app developer Aleksandr Kogan deceived consumers by falsely claiming they did not collect any personally identifiable information from Facebook users who were asked to answer survey questions and share some of their profile data.

“They employed deceptive tactics to harvest personal information from tens of millions of Facebook users for voter profiling and targeting,” it said in a press release issued on Wednesday.

The FTC also announced settlement with Nix and Kogan, saying the duo has agreed to administrative orders restricting how they conduct any business in the future and requiring them to delete or destroy any personal information they collected. The Cambridge Analytica, however, has filed for bankruptcy and has not settled the FTC’s allegations.

Kogan is the developer of a Facebook application called the GSRApp — also referred to as the thisisyourdigitallife app.

The GSRApp asked its users to answer personality and other questions, and collected information such as the likes of public Facebook pages by the app’s users and by the friends in their social network.

The FTC alleges, Kogan, together with Cambridge Analytica and Nix, developed, used, and analysed data obtained from the GSRApp to generate personality scores for the app users and their Facebook friends.

The Privacy Shield establishes a process to allow companies to transfer consumer data from EU countries to the US in compliance with the EU law.

Published on July 25, 2019
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