Britain's Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham, said on July 11th, that she intends to fine Facebook for breaching the UK’s data protective law. This statement came as her office investigates how data belonging to millions of users was inopportunely accessed by Cambridge Analytica, a UK based consultancy.
US and European lawmakers questioned Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about how Cambridge Analytica improperly acquired the personal data of 87 million Facebook users.
Denham said she planned to fine Facebook £500,000 ($663,850). This is a relatively small figure for a company with a market value of $590 billion; however, it is the maximum amount allowed.
"New technologies that use data analytics to micro-target people give campaign groups the ability to connect with individual voters. But this cannot be at the expense of transparency, fairness and compliance with the law," she said in a statement.
Reuters reported that Facebook said it was reviewing the commissioners report and would respond soon. The company can respond to the commissioner before a final decision is made.
In a statement, Erin Egan, Facebook's Chief Privacy Officer said, "As we have said before, we should have done more to investigate claims about Cambridge Analytica and take action in 2015."
"We have been working closely with the Information Commissioner's Office in their investigation of Cambridge Analytica, just as we have with authorities in the US and other countries."
An inquiry has been launched by the British parliament into “fake news" and its effect on election campaigns, and increasingly its focus has been on Cambridge Analytica.
In 2016 Donald Trump hired Cambridge Analytica, although the consultancy has denied working on the US president's successful election campaign.