Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham has called Mark Zuckerberg’s bluff, following his assertion that Facebook wants greater Internet regulation, insisting if the company is really as serious about privacy as he claims then it should drop its appeal against the £500,000 fine over the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
In an opinion piece published over the weekend, Zuckerberg called for new laws in four areas: harmful content, election integrity, privacy and data portability, claiming tech firms need help from legislators to battle Internet threats.
He also lauded GDPR, saying that he agreed with calls for comprehensive privacy regulation in line with the regulation, and added: “I believe it would be good for the Internet if more countries adopted regulation such as GDPR as a common framework.”
While industry observers and politicians were quick to point out Zuckerberg’s hypocrisy, Denham is the first regulator to speak publicly about his remarks.
She said: “In light of Mark Zuckerberg’s statements over the weekend about the need for increased regulation across four areas, including privacy, I expect Facebook to review their current appeal against the ICO’s £500,000 fine – the maximum available under the old rules – for contravening UK privacy laws.”
Facebook launched its appeal against the £500,000 fine in November – a month after it was issued – claiming that the regulator had found no evidence that UK users’ personal data had been shared inappropriately.
However, Denham told the International Grand Committee that her office had fined Facebook because it failed to respect people’s privacy in line with basic data protection laws. Laws that have been around in the UK for over 30 years.
Denham said the fine was about “pretty basic data protection: notice and transparency and control and the release of users’ profile information without their knowledge and consent”.
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