Washington DC sues Facebook over Cambridge Analytica scandal, vowing to make Zuckerberg’s company ‘live up to its promise to protect users’ and make privacy settings easier to control
- The attorney general in Washington DC filed a lawsuit against Facebook for allowing Cambridge Analytica to improperly access data from users
- It’s estimated the data-mining firm received details from approximately 87 million users in the time before the 2016 presidential election
- The information of more than 340,000 District of Columbia residents was exposed but only 860 downloaded the quiz, Karl Racine said
- He said Facebook made it difficult for users to control privacy settings and didn’t let them know they were at risk for two years
- Racine said they are ‘making Facebook live up to its promise to protect users’
- In 2013, third-party app ‘thisisyourdigitallife’ collected personal information of users’ friends and the information was sold to a political consulting firm
- Facebook said in a statement it is ‘reviewing the complaint and look forward to continuing discussions’
The attorney general in Washington DC filed a lawsuit against Facebook on Wednesday for allowing data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica to improperly access data from as many as 87 million users before the 2016 presidential election.
Karl Racine, the attorney general for the District of Columbia, filed the lawsuit Wednesday and it alleges Facebook misled users about the security of their data and failed to properly monitor third-party apps.
The US capital is suing the website founded by Mark Zuckerberg after Cambridge University’s Aleksandr Kogan and his company, Global Science Research (GSR), launched an app called ‘thisisyourdigitallife’ and sold personal information of users to a political consulting firm.
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Washington DC filed a lawsuit against Facebook for allowing Cambridge Analytica to improperly access data from users. It’s estimated the data-mining firm received details from approximately 87 million users of Mark Zuckerberg’s social media website
Racine said Zuckerberg’s site led users down a dangerous path by giving the company access to their personal information without authorization.
The attorney general posted on Twitter: ‘Today I sued Facebook for failing to protect the privacy of millions of its users and deceiving them about who had access to their data and how it was used.
‘Facebook’s lax oversight and misleading privacy policies allowed, among other things, a third-party app to collect the personal info of users without their permission and sell it to Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm.’
The app was promoted as a personality quiz, which claimed to generate a personality profile.
But DC’s filing specifically mentioned the 340,000 District of Columbia residents exposed.
Racine claimed in the suit that only 860 downloaded the quiz yet many more were put at risk with the sharing of their private information.
Karl Racine said more than 340,000 District of Columbia residents was exposed but only 860 downloaded the quiz
The attorney general in Washington DC said Facebook made it difficult for users to control privacy settings and didn’t let them know they were at risk for two years
Racine tweeted the Wednesday lawsuit is about ‘making Facebook live up to its promise to protect users’
His filing said Facebook told users that it would protect their personal information, but allowed the app developer to collect and sell the data of users who had not downloaded or used the app.
Their investigation found that Facebook violated the District’s Consumer Protection Procedures Act (CPPA), which ‘prohibits unfair and deceptive trade practices’.
The lawsuit claimed that Facebook made it difficult for users to control data sharing settings and didn’t make it clear third-party apps have the ability to override some settings.
Racine’s filing claimed that the platform didn’t let users know there data had been breached for two years and failed to ensure improperly obtain data was later deleted.
‘Today’s lawsuit is about making Facebook live up to its promise to protect its users’ privacy,’ he tweeted. ‘We are seeking an injunction to ensure Facebook puts safeguards in place to monitor users’ data and to make it easier for users to control their privacy settings.’
The lawsuit alleges that Facebook was aware in 2014 that the third-party app developer wanted to download the information about users’ friends but ‘failed to monitor or audit the app’.
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Facebook said in a statement it is ‘reviewing the complaint and look forward to continuing discussions’
‘We’re seeking to hold Facebook accountable for jeopardizing and exposing the personal information of tens of millions of its users,’ Mr Racine said. ‘We hope this lawsuit will ensure Facebook takes better care with its data.’
The Office of the Attorney General is ‘seeking monetary and injunctive relief, including relief for harmed consumers, damages, and penalties to the District’.
Facebook has already produced ‘reams of documents’ in response to the attorney general’s investigation, officials said.
After the suit was filed Wednesday, Facebook said in a statement: ‘We’re reviewing the complaint and look forward to continuing our discussions with attorneys general in DC and elsewhere.’
Facebook has come under scrutiny in the past regarding the same scandal.
After the revelations about Cambridge Analytica, congressional hearings were held and Facebook changed what sort of data it lets outside developers access.
Zuckerberg told Congress in April that Facebook users now ‘have complete control’ over everything they share on the site.
It was revealed this week that Facebook’s privacy controls had broken down yet again.
In that case, a software flaw affected nearly seven million users, leading to their photos being exposed to a much wider audience than they had intended.
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