DC attorney general sues Facebook over Cambridge Analytica
The Washington D.C. attorney general has filed a lawsuit suing Facebook for allowing political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica to gain access to personal data of tens of millions of the site’s users without permission.
The lawsuit, initially reported by the Washington Post, is the first major push by US regulators to hold Facebook to account for its dealings with the shady British consultancy firm after it was revealed earlier this year that it had harvested the personal data of more than 50 million Facebook users without their knowledge.
SCOOP: D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine has sued Facebook for failing to protect users' privacy, including allowing Cambridge Analytica to gain access to data on tens of millions in 2016 without their permission. By @TonyRomm@craigtimberg and me. https://t.co/Kaxewt51DJ— Aaron C. Davis (@byaaroncdavis) December 19, 2018
The Post said the suit could foreshadow other potential legal action and punishments on the way for Facebook as other state and federal investigations continue.
Details of Facebook’s involvement with Cambridge Analytica hit headlines in March after whistleblower Christopher Wylie admitted that the firm had wanted to created “psychographic profiles” of Facebook users and then target them accordingly with political messaging.
The scandal was made worse by the fact that Cambridge Analytica had previously been managed by Steve Bannon — who later went on to serve as a top aide to US President Donald Trump.
The firm used a benign-looking quiz app to gather information on Facebook users and their friends, including names, locations, religious and political affiliations and educational backgrounds.
The scandal turned the spotlight on Facebook and prompted mass criticism of how the company deals with user data and other privacy issues. A US federal investigation has been ongoing for months, looking into whether Facebook has been entirely up front about its relationship with Cambridge Analytica.
Earlier this week it was revealed that Facebook allowed unhindered access to users' messages, email addresses and other data as part of deals with major companies like Netflix and Spotify.
It turned out that Facebook had even developed a special tool which could turn access to private data on and off — even if a user had already disabled sharing of their information.
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