Cambridge Analytica owners fined $27,000 for refusing US data request

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 9
The firm best known for harvesting political data ignored a legal order to provide personal information when asked by a US academic. This contravenes UK data protection laws and saw them fined a total of $27,000.

Cambridge Analytica logo


The British parent company of Cambridge Analytica, the firm at the center of the Facebook data scandal, has been fined 15,000 ($19,110) by the Information Commissioner's Office (IOC). The criminal prosecution was for failing to provide US academic Professor David Carroll with all personal data held about him. Representatives for SCL Elections appeared in court in London today and pleaded guilty to breaching the UK's Data Protection Act.

Under this act, companies within the UK who receive a request from an individual user or customer must respond with full details of what personal data is held concerning them. This Subject Access Request must be completed within 30 days.

Cambridge Analytica went into administration the day before Professor Carroll's request came. It did, though, request that a 10 ($12.74) admin fee plus proof of his identity be sent to SCL Elections.

SCL then sent him a spreadsheet containing what the company claimed it knew about his address details, voting habits and so on. Professor Carroll then queried the response. According to the IOC, however, "the complainant did not consider that he had been provided with all of the personal data held about him... nor an adequate explanation where the data had been obtained from or how it would be used."

Professor Carroll complained to the IOC who issued an order requiring SCL Elections to answer. However, SCL refused, stating that Carroll is not a UK citizen nor based in the UK. Consequently, SCL claimed that he had no more right to make such a request "than a member of the Taliban sitting in a cave in the remotest corner of Afghanistan."

The IOC is continuing to investigate Cambridge Analytica. "This prosecution, the first against Cambridge Analytica, is a warning that there are consequences for ignoring the law," said Elizabeth Denham, Information Commissioner. "Wherever you live in the world, if your data is being processed by a UK company, UK data protection laws apply."

In admitting guilt, SCL has agreed to pay the fine plus 6,000 ($7,644) costs and also a 170 ($216) "victim surcharge".

It has not, however, commented on whether it will now forward the requested information to Professor Carroll.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,037member
    Oooh....
    That's hitting 'em where it hurts.

    /s
    beowulfschmidtdewmeronnbaconstangchristopher126zoetmbcornchipdysamoria
  • Reply 2 of 13
    We should all request the same info from Cambridge Analytica.  If they don’t comply, make the same complaint.  If a company wants to make money off out info in a shady way, we can hit back.  
    retrogustowatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 13
    payecopayeco Posts: 271member
    gatorguy said:
    Oooh....
    That's hitting 'em where it hurts.

    /s
    Could be a strategy to bankrupt the parent company. One $27,000 fine won’t hurt them much, but 5,000 such requests and fines would. All someone needs to do it set up a website to automate the process the requesting your data from them to make it easy for anyone to do.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 13
    Cambridge Analytica was a scummy little outfit.

    I am really quite surprised that the University of Cambridge was affiliated with them until the end, and let them use the university's name.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 13
    larryjwlarryjw Posts: 322member
    Cambridge Analytica was a scummy little outfit.

    I am really quite surprised that the University of Cambridge was affiliated with them until the end, and let them use the university's name.
    Maybe we need to stop being surprised that corruption is endemic throughout the economic system. 
    cornchipwatto_cobradysamoria
  • Reply 6 of 13
    Cambridge Analytica was a scummy little outfit.

    I am really quite surprised that the University of Cambridge was affiliated with them until the end, and let them use the university's name.
    Agreed...Hopefully, from this CharlieFoxtrot, companies like FB, Twitter, Amazon and Google and all third-party apps will have to disclose and pay us for our data!

    I will always decline the opt-in, as you say, b/c they are 'scumbags!'

    But I'm not holding my breadth.

    I really think Apple is on the verge, thru the next iOS/MacOs releases, of making every Apple device 'anonymous' on the internet. I see a 'security' iLife-like suite of apps to effect this. Or, maybe, just have it in the OS. 
    edited January 9 cornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 13

    larryjw said:
    Cambridge Analytica was a scummy little outfit.

    I am really quite surprised that the University of Cambridge was affiliated with them until the end, and let them use the university's name.
    Maybe we need to stop being surprised that corruption is endemic throughout the economic system. 
    I like the way you think...
    cornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 13
    In other news: 

    Amazon boss and wife divorce:

    Smart girl! How would you like him crawling all over you every other night? :)



    edited January 9 watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 13
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,556member
    In other news: 

    Amazon boss and wife divorce:

    Smart girl! How would you like him crawling all over you every other night? :)



    Is he thinking:

    ”She hot. AmIRight??”

    or is he thinking:

    ”No Mr Bond. I expect you to die.”

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 13
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,556member
    This forum software continues to suck massive donkey gonads in so many ways. 
    elijahgwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 13
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,556member
    Probably not okay to say so, but she has a seriously impressive neck!
    baconstangelijahgwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 13
    In other news: 

    Amazon boss and wife divorce:

    Smart girl! How would you like him crawling all over you every other night? :)




    She doesn't look that crawlable either.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 13
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 1,958member
    In other news: 

    Amazon boss and wife divorce:

    Smart girl! How would you like him crawling all over you every other night? :)




    She doesn't look that crawlable either.
    What does that even mean?
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