Privacy watchdogs release report probing Facebook/Cambridge Analytica breach

by - 2 min read

Privacy watchdogs release report probing Facebook/Cambridge Analytica breach

by - 2 min read

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Canadians could have a better sense of whether their privacy was violated in the Cambridge Analytica scandal when the result of a year-long investigation is unveiled this morning.

The British political consulting firm, which went under last year, is accused of harvesting the data of millions of Facebook users worldwide to create social media strategies to support U.S. President Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign.

Federal Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien and his B.C. counterpart, Michael McEvoy, joined forces last spring to investigate the roles of social media network Facebook and the Canadian company AggregateIQ (AIQ) in the data breach.

“The allegations we’ve seen in media reports raise extremely important privacy questions. The digital world, and social media in particular, have become entrenched in our daily lives and people want their rights to be respected,” said Therrien at the start of the investigation.

Privacy commissioner Daniel Therrien responds to a question during a press conference back in 2016. Therrien and his B.C. counterpart, Michael McEvoy, joined forces last spring to investigate the roles of social media network Facebook and the Canadian company AggregateIQ (AIQ) in the Cambridge Analytica data breach. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Their investigation looked into whether the organizations were in compliance with Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) and B.C.’s Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA).

Christopher Wylie, the Canadian whistleblower at the heart of the story, implicated AggregateIQ, a Victoria, B.C.-based marketing and software development company, during a U.K. parliamentary committee last year, saying he “absolutely” believed they had drawn on Cambridge Analytica’s databases for its work on the Brexit referendum.

Former Vote Leave volunteers have also alleged that AggregateIQ helped sidestep Brexit campaign spending limits, something the company denies.

Therrien and McEvoy will unveil their report at 11 a.m. ET in Ottawa. CBCNews.ca will carry it live online.

According to Therrien’s office, PIPEDA requires “meaningful and informed consent” in order for companies to collect, use and disclosure personal information for commercial activities. The act also says that companies must be accountable for how they oversee personal information in their care and ensure its not disclosed inappropriately.

Facebook and Cambridge Analytica have been the focus of multiple international investigations. 

Earlier this week Facebook said it expects a fine of up to $5 billion from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which is investigating whether the company violated its users’ privacy.

This story originally appeared on CBC

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