back to article Facebook ends appeal against ICO micro-fine: Admit liability? Never. But you can have £500k

Facebook has ended its appeal against the UK Information Commissioner's Office and will pay the outstanding £500,000 fine for breaches of data protection law relating to the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Prior to today's announcement, the social network had been appealing against the fine, alleging bias and requesting access to …

  1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Pirate

    Nowhere near enough

    of a fine IMHO.

    Loose change to Zuck

    Should have been 500Million. Then he would have taken notice.

    1. iron Silver badge

      Re: Nowhere near enough

      RTFA

  2. chivo243 Silver badge
    Unhappy

    When fines mean nothing

    17 minutes of profit... and they'll pull the same stunt for another £500g.

    Hi Alex, I'll try breaking the law for £500g. The Answer?! A Daily Double!

    1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: When fines mean nothing

      If they do it here again (or anywhere in EU) GDPR rules are in now effect, the stakes are much higher and fine should be much bigger. Or to put it another way, what the article said at the bottom.

  3. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    Yeah, maybe...

    £500k is not a lot in the great scheme of things. But the reputational damage this has done to FB is immense. They, and their like such as Google et al are all now under major scrutiny from all sides. I think you'll agree that this is a sea change in attitude compared to where we were 5 years ago when we on these hallowed forums could already see the inherent issues forming - but that these companies were seeing themselves as untouchable.

    I have many non-IT industry friends who in the past have been ardent users of FB and cynical of my refusenik approach to social media overall; who themselves are now abandoning it in droves now that they fully understand the issues and risks that have been highlighted by this ongoing story.

    1. KBeee

      Re: Yeah, maybe...

      And yet (sadly) Facebooks user base continues to grow. I fully expect the number of Facebook users to outnumber the human race one day.

      1. Martin-73 Silver badge

        Re: Yeah, maybe...

        it probably already has. One girl I know has 8 profiles. Because she changed what she WANTED to be called (Names, nothing really political here) more than the allowed number of times.

        And it was what particular shortening of her given name, combined with getting married, that triggered their 'no you can't change name again' bot.

    2. Martin-73 Silver badge

      Re: Yeah, maybe...

      Indeed, as a facebook user (yes I know where I'm posting that fact but I am), i would agree. This has cost fb a lot more in revenue from the random users who rabidly clicked on every 'competition' or 'survey' that was an app, and now are at least a little more circumspect, than the fine itself.

      I have made a pragmatic decision that I don't MIND if zuck knows who I talk to and that I hate trump and johnson and may... I've made that very plain on other fora. I also don't mind them knowing my ISP, or even what pub i frequent. It's a pragmatic bargain for the easy ability to talk to my friends who are less technically clueful and therefore know only that AIM and Yahoo are dead and that they're my friends.

      The point is I was AWARE of the bargain before striking it. (and I still lie about where I am sometimes, for fun, vpns can be useful for other things).

      Most of the public were blissfully unaware before this scandal. Now, many of them still are, but the armies of the slightly clued, have been reinforced.

      Baby steps.

  4. adam payne Silver badge

    FB wouldn't admit liability, that would open the flood gates.

  5. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

    Don't trust government "spending" reports

    So allegedly the ICO spent £2.5m on the investigation. This figure is almost certainly not trustworthy, in that it includes expenses that would have happened anyway (i.e. staff salaries, office rent and expenses, and so on). The only things that should be reported as "expenses" related to an investigation are the costs over and above the baseline needed to have an ICO (e.g. travel expenses when going to interview people, hiring warehouses to store paperwork, etc).

    The police often do the same thing; what they actually mean is something like "this one investigation consumed X% of our resources for Y months", which is a far more valuable metric for outsiders wondering if they need more (or less) cash!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe 500k per person involved

  7. JackyTwenty

    If you can't beat em, join em?

    To people saying the ICO should have fined Facebook even more, and that Facebook have gotten off lightly, you have totally missed the point.

    A tribunal judge had already ruled that there was grounds for an appeal based on the personal bias of the commissioner Denham. They embarrassingly had to let Facebook have access to their procedures which Facebook would then have presented in court and would have shown the illegal and incompetent way the investigation was handled. Denham would have looked ridiculous making large statements that she couldn't back up with fact, simply to get the public's vote.

    Don't get me wrong, I think there are countless things to penalize Facebook and other tech giants for and much that they have to change. But to approach it with personal bias against Zuckerberg and Facebook shows gross incompetence and just enables Facebook to continue what they are doing. Anyone investigating a tech giant must first understand the legals absolutely, as you can be sure the tech giants know the law backwards! You take a shot at the king, you best not miss.

    Today's agreement is Zuckerbergs gift to Denham, allowing her to save face and not be dragged into the public spotlight for bias and incompetence. What Denham privately agreed with Facebook in order to get Facebook to drop it, would surely be interesting to see. Has Denham learned that it's better to get the tech giant on side rather than fight them? Has Zuckerberg sold out everyone else to the ICO in return for the ICO turning a blind eye to everything else? Who knows.

    I know one thing though. Any FOI requests from the ICO regarding the topic, will surely be denied. But don't worry, you can always appeal to the ICO to review their decision. And the ICO don't have a history of bias, do they??!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    17 Million

    I thought CA are no longer around?

    This should be a FB fine and worked out on Global turn over, this is getting off very light. ICO has turned over and had it's tummy tickled.

    New balls required

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