Update on Cambridge Analytica scandal: Italian DPA fined Facebook in the summer of 2019


On June 28, 2019, the Garante per la protezione dei dati personali, the Italian Data Protection Authority issued a EUR 1 million fine against Facebook following the scandal of Cambridge Analytica. See here for more info.

According to the Italian DPA, 57 Italian users downloaded the incriminated application through the Facebook login function. This allowed the app to acquire the data of 214.077 Italian users who had not downloaded the app, had not been informed, nor had given their consent to the sharing of their data.

To calculate the fine the Italian DPA took into account the size of the database as well as of Facebook’s revenues and the number of its users both worldwide and in Italy.

As mentioned here, the scandal of Cambridge Analytica caused several consequences for Facebook in Europe. Below you may find an update on those consequences.

In the United Kingdom, the Information Commissioner (ICO) issued a report about their investigation and findings in the use of personal data and analytics by political campaigns, parties, social media companies and other commercial actors. According to the report, the ICO wrote formal recommendations to 11 political parties about the steps they should take to improve their transparency and ethics.

In addition, ICO issued a fine of £500,000 to Facebook for failing to sufficiently protect the privacy of its users and for not being transparent about how data could be collected. This was the maximum penalty which could be issued under the Data Protection Act 1998. Facebook appealed this fine. See here.

Four BEUC members Test-Achats/Test-Ankoop (Belgium), OCU (Spain), Altroconsumo (Italy) and DECO (Portugal), known as Euroconsumers, launched a collective action against Facebook. See here. Euroconsumers plan to represent all Facebook users (and not just the Cambridge Analytica victims) in their 4 countries. They estimate the damage of users to at least €200 per person.

About 205,000 Facebook users have joined the four class actions – more than 41,000 in Belgium and 42,000 in Spain, over 93,000 in Italy and almost 40,000 in Portugal. In the websites of Test-Achats (Belgium), OCU (Spain), Altroconsumo (Italy) and Deco Proteste (Portugal) you can see the numbers at their respective pages.

The order against Facebook, Ordinanza ingiunzione nei confronti di Facebook Ireland Ltd e Facebook Italy s.r.l. – 14 giugno 2019 [9121486] is available at  https://www.garanteprivacy.it… 

For more information on how privacy may impact your business, contact Francesca Giannoni-Crystal. Thanks to Federica Romanelli