Facebook BROKE LAW in personal data controversy, says watchdog

The Information Commissioner's Office announced the fine as it revealed it was preparing a criminal prosecution against Cambridge Analytica's parent company, SCL Elections Ltd.

Meanwhile, the ICO has sent warning letters to 11 political parties, compelling them to agree to audits of their data protection practices.

The Leave.EU campaign, which pushed for the U.K.to leave the EU in the Brexit referendum, is also being investigated for exploiting personal data that people had given to a company for insurance purposes.

Facebook became the target of a number of regulatory probes following the disclosure of data abuses carried out by Cambridge Analytica to form what whistleblower Christopher Wylie described as a 'psychological warfare mindfuck tool' targeting Facebook users to influence their decisions surrounding events including the vote for the United Kingdom to leave Europe and the U.S. presidential election.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg earlier this year admitted his company made mistakes in a "breach of trust" with users and he ordered reforms to prevent a repeat and to give people more control over how their data is used.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has faced questioning by USA and European Union lawmakers over how the political consultancy obtained the personal data of 87 million Facebook users from a researcher.

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Facebook is facing a fine of over $650,000 in Britain after the country's information regulator said Wednesday the company failed to protect millions of users' data. However, it did so today because a parliamentary committee is also probing the issue of Facebook, Cambridge Analytica and political influence, and the ICO wanted to help inform the committee's work.

Fair Vote runs on public donations and its self-stated aim is to to tackle the issues of data misuse, voter manipulation and lack of transparency in elections. Never before have political groups had the ability to gather so much information about so many people and use that data in an effort to sway voters' political opinions.

The British fine comes as Facebook faces a potential hefty compensation bill in Australia, where litigation funder IMF Bentham said it had lodged a complaint with regulators over the Cambridge Analytica breech - thought to affect some €300,000 users in Australia.

"This can not by left to a secret internal investigation at Facebook".

Facebook will get a chance to respond to the proposed penalties before the ICO releases a final decision. "We have been working closely with the ICO in their investigation of Cambridge Analytica, just as we have with authorities in the USA and other countries".

The ICO said its investigation is continuing and the next phase is expected to be concluded by the end of October.

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