FTC & Facebook negotiating record-breaking billion-dollar privacy violation fine

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Facebook and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission are in talks over a privacy violations fine that could cost the former billions of dollars.

Cambridge Analytica


The two sides are still going back and forth over the exact amount, Washington Post sources said. Facebook confirmed the existence of negotiations, but declined to say anything more. It could be hoping to reduce what it pays in exchange for business changes and tougher scrutiny.

Both sides have an interest in a settlement, since the alternative could be a protracted court battle. At the same time the fine could easily become the biggest the FTC has ever leveled against a tech firm, dealing a meaningful blow to Facebook's bottom line. The current record holder is Google, which paid just $22.5 million in 2012.

The FTC began investigating Facebook in March last year following the emergence of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Analytica and Cambridge University researcher Aleksandr Kogan used a quiz app to collect data on Facebook users and their connected friends, the latter without their consent, enabling Analytica to build voter profiles for some 71 million Americans and a smaller amount of people overseas. The harvesting was discovered in 2015, but only made public by Facebook in March 2018. This drew the scrutiny of governments in both the U.S. and the U.K.

Some clients of Analytica -- now mostly defunct -- included the Presidential campaigns of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, and the Institutional Revolutionary Party during Mexico's 2018 general election.

The FTC is concerned that Facebook's past and recent activities constitute violations of a 2011 agreement in which Facebook promised to improve its privacy standards. One of these is likely its abuse of an Apple enterprise certificate for "Facebook Research," an app people were paid to install to monitor usage habits. Apple briefly revoked the certificate.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    rob53rob53 Posts: 1,986member
    Didn’t realize the guilty party gets to set the fine. Only in America.

    Do the crime, pay the fine!!

    AppleExposedjbdragonchasmwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 19
    Google should watch out. Everyone thought the $22.5 million fine they received for essentially creating malware to exploit Safari was a minor slap-on-the-wrist. If this fine against Facebook really is in the billion range it sets a precedent for future fines over similar practices.
    rob53jbdragonlolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 19
    rob53 said:
    Didn’t realize the guilty party gets to set the fine. Only in America.

    Do the crime, pay the fine!!

    They generally don’t.

    But accusers and accusees are generally free to negotiate settlements which are agreeable to both parties. That would, if the reporting is correct, seem to be what’s going on here.
    delreyjonesRoger_Fingaslolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 19
    carnegie said:
    rob53 said:
    Didn’t realize the guilty party gets to set the fine. Only in America.

    Do the crime, pay the fine!!

    They generally don’t.

    But accusers and accusees are generally free to negotiate settlements which are agreeable to both parties. That would, if the reporting is correct, seem to be what’s going on here.
    Correct.  Because with an arbitrary or imposed fine, FB still has the option to go to court to appeal and challenge it.  A negotiated fine generally includes the proviso that no further appeals or challenges will be allowed.
    gatorguyapplericdelreyjoneslolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 19
    Just out of curiosity… where does this fine go? Back to the FB members? IS it used to create better privacy technology?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 19
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,082member
    appleric said:
    Just out of curiosity… where does this fine go? Back to the FB members? IS it used to create better privacy technology?
    Unless specifically stipulated, state fines generally go to the general fund. I suspect federal fines are the same.
    jbdragonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 19
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,451member
    rob53 said:
    Didn’t realize the guilty party gets to set the fine. Only in America.

    Do the crime, pay the fine!!

    First, everything is negotiable, if you do not negotiate well that is your fault.

    This is not unusual, only the person with an idiot for a lawyer pays the full fine and does all the time. Unless the Government is looking to make an example of you.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 19
    I love how John Gruber @ https://daringfireball.net/linked/2019/02/14/facebook-ftc-fine put it: Finally, billions, not millions. Fuck these negotiations: tell them it’s $20 billion and take them to court if they don’t accept it.
    christopher126chasmwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 19
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,451member
    appleric said:
    Just out of curiosity… where does this fine go? Back to the FB members? IS it used to create better privacy technology?

    It is going to pay for the wall.

    Consumers who are the ones usually harmed in these cases usually never sees a dime. The money goes to the treasury department.
    jbdragonmobirdCarnagewatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 19
    even $10B is far too low for FB. Fines need to really hurt to make a difference.
    Then the next time and I'm sure there will be the fine will be triple and tripled again for a third offence.


    AppleExposedchasmwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 19
    even $10B is far too low for FB. Fines need to really hurt to make a difference.
    Then the next time and I'm sure there will be the fine will be triple and tripled again for a third offence.


    I could not agree more.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 19
    maestro64 said:
    appleric said:
    Just out of curiosity… where does this fine go? Back to the FB members? IS it used to create better privacy technology?

    It is going to pay for the wall.

    Consumers who are the ones usually harmed in these cases usually never sees a dime. The money goes to the treasury department.
    Hopefully. Need to extend it. 

    They either see nothing or get like a $5 gift certificate. 
    mobirdwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 19
    Make it a $50 Billion fine. Only then maybe it will learn.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 19
    The only way we can stop being "Zucked" is to fine this a$$hole! He's a leech.

    $100 billion fine, minimum!

    And break up FB and WhatsApp and Instagram. Don't let FaceBook or Google or Amazon buy anymore businesses. Done. 

    FB, Google, Twitter are the 'cigarette' companies of the 80's and 90's! Great stocks to own, but oh, that's right, they killed 700,000 Americans a year. Maybe the stocks weren't that great, after all? Hmmmmm...


    Start with not allowing him to track our children. Scumbag.

    Hit him where the only place he feels it. His wallet. No more lame Zucky apologies.  :)

    Break up FB and WhatsApp and Instagram.

    Best.

    You are either 'for' Democracy or 'against' Democracy like 'The Zuck'/FaceBook!
    edited February 15 watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 19
    FaceBook is getting a lot of press for being a shitty company, but Google and Amazon are a lot worse! :)

    I think there's a real opportunity for Apple to ride this 'Privacy/Security' train!  

    Each one of these 'projects' below, could be started by Apple with a team of < 100 employees each! And they tie-in nicely with their pivot from hardware to 'Services.'

    Start an Apple YouTube-like app (Beta) with complete privacy for only Apple device owners. Yep, it will be shite to start with, but it will only get better and better. Kind of like the Notes or Podcast Apps have improved over time. Then in two years, once Apple's got it figured out, open it up to other platforms. 

    -Apple's world renowned Privacy/Security stance being the main selling points!

    Start an Apple FaceBook-like app (Beta) with complete privacy for only Apple device owners. Yep, it will be shite to start with, but it will only get better and better. Kind of like the Notes or Podcast Apps have improved over time. Then in two years once Apple's, got it figured out, open it up to other platforms.  

    -Apple's world renowned Privacy/Security stance being the main selling points!

    Start an Apple Twitter-like app (Beta) with complete privacy for only Apple device owners. Yep, it will be shite to start with, but it will only get better and better. Kind of like the Notes or Podcast Apps have improved over time. Then in two years, once Apple's got it figured out, open it up to other platforms.  

    -Apple's world renowned Privacy/Security stance being the main selling points!

    Start an Apple Instagram-like app (Beta) with complete privacy for only Apple device owners. Yep, it will be shite to start with, but it will only get better and better.  Kind of like the Notes or Podcast Apps have improved over time. Then in two years, once Apple's got it figured out, open it up to other platforms. 

    -Apple's world renowned Privacy/Security stance being the main selling points!

    Buy DuckDuckGo (Search) with complete privacy for only Apple device owners. Yep, it will be shite to start with, but it will only get better and better.  Kind of like the Notes or Podcast Apps have improved over time. Then in two years, once Apple's got it figured out, open it up to other platforms.  

    -Apple's world renowned Privacy/Security stance being the main selling points!

    Start an Apple VPN-like app (Beta) with complete privacy for only Apple device owners. Yep, it will be shite to start with, but it will only get better and better. Kind of like the Notes or Podcast Apps have improved over time. Then in two years, once Apple's got it figured out, open it up to other platforms. 

    -Apple's world renowned Privacy/Security stance being the main selling points!

    Comments? :)

    P.S. Oh, and Apple should tell China to F*ck off (China is lost to be a dystopian society!)
    And it only comprises half the population of Asia. Apple should focus on the other half.

    P.S.S. In a few years, the only people using FaceBook, Google and Twitter will be the Taliban! Oh yeah, the Russians and our former President "Bone-Spur!" :)

    edited February 15 watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 19
    macguimacgui Posts: 1,102member
    carnegie said:
    rob53 said:
    Didn’t realize the guilty party gets to set the fine. Only in America.

    Do the crime, pay the fine!!

    They generally don’t.

    But accusers and accusees are generally free to negotiate settlements which are agreeable to both parties. That would, if the reporting is correct, seem to be what’s going on here.
    Yes, it's something of a plea bargain. But this bothers me. Being arbitrarily imposed leaves too much wiggle room and extends the amount of time (via appeals) the defendant has to pay.

    Make statue law criminalizing the violations and stipulating fines. Make the fines sting. Really sting.

    Privacy is seen as a right by some and a commodity by others. And government seeks control over it to their benefit, ultimately, more than ours. In many cases it's sheer illusion, and regardless of definition, becoming rarer almost daily. I don't know that 1984 will be 1984 one day, but I have my concerns.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 19
    chasmchasm Posts: 1,146member
    For the record, FB made $22B in net income in 2018. I would suggest that in order for this fine not to be simply brushed off, at least that much should be the target amount. As has been made clear by Zuck’s history, that is the only way you will get the company to genuinely change.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 19
    chasm said:
    For the record, FB made $22B in net income in 2018. I would suggest that in order for this fine not to be simply brushed off, at least that much should be the target amount. As has been made clear by Zuck’s history, that is the only way you will get the company to genuinely change.
    FB would have a war chest that even a billion dollar fine wouldn't adversely affect in the medium-long term.  The only thing that will make those FB individuals responsible for privacy breaches think twice is some jail time.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 19
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,733member
    Negotiate to find out what Facebook are happy with.  Then double it anyway.
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