The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) has fined Facebook five billion dollars for privacy issues regarding Cambridge Analytical. It is the largest fine ever for a privacy issue, but many feel the fine was too low for the 600 billion dollar company. Congress is looking into the possibility of holding individuals responsible for the breach. I’m assuming they mean criminally liable. That would entail time in prison. Many other groups still have lawsuits pending against Facebook, and Great Britain fined Facebook half a billion pounds for the Cambridge scandal. Many say the fine will not be enough to discourage Facebook in the future and is a mere slap on the wrist compared to what Facebook is guilty of.
Cicilline added, “If the FTC won’t protect consumers, Congress surely must.”
Although the reported settlement serves as the FTC’s largest fine for privacy violations, lawmakers have criticized the size of the fine given Facebook’s wealth.
Sens. Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) said in May that the reported $5 billion settlement would amount to a “bargain” for the roughly $600 billion company and that the FTC should hold executives personally accountable.
The senators wrote to the FTC:
Even a fine in the billions is simply a write-down for the company, and large penalties have done little to deter large tech firms. If the FTC is seen as traffic police handing out speeding tickets companies profiting off breaking the law, then Facebook and other will continue to push the boundaries.
The Journal‘s report said that the FTC settlement will include “government restrictions on how Facebook treats user privacy,” however, it remains unclear what those restrictions entail.
The United Kingdom Information Commissioner’s Office fined £500,000 in 2018 over the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which also served as the largest fine the office authorized.
Facebook also faces a lawsuit from the D.C. attorney general and other states over the privacy debacle.