While massive fines loom on Facebook, Canadian privacy regulators determined to take the company to court

  • Facebook may be penalized by the Federal Trade Commission with fines of up to $5 billion.
  • In addition, Canadian privacy regulators plan to bring Facebook to court for breaking local privacy laws.

A barrage of privacy and security incidents has now landed Facebook in troubled waters again. The social media giant might have to cough up $3 - $5 billion as fines imposed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The fine is the result of its involvement with British firm Cambridge Analytica, which used personal data of users for political purposes.

Furthermore, a report by the Privacy Commissioner of Canada pointed out major loopholes in Facebook’s privacy practices. In addition, the commissioners plan to bring the company to the country’s Federal Court in order to enforce changes in the policies brought out by Facebook in Canada.

The big picture

  • Facebook hinted the estimated fine in its quarterly report, which was released on Wednesday. “In the first quarter of 2019, we reasonably estimated a probable loss and recorded an accrual of $3.0 billion in connection with the inquiry of the FTC into our platform and user data practices,” suggests the report.
  • It further mentions the estimate as a range between ‘$3.0 billion to $5.0 billion’ in the report.
  • On the other hand, the report by the Privacy Commissioner of Canada had four key findings which highlighted Facebook’s mishandling of user information.
  • The Canadian regulators, however, do not have the authority to penalize privacy violations. Thus, with the intervention of the Federal Court, the regulators could make Facebook mend its sloppy privacy policies.

What do the regulators say?

Daniel Therrien, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada emphasized that the social media company was carefree when it came to user privacy.

“Facebook’s refusal to act responsibly is deeply troubling given the vast amount of sensitive personal information users have entrusted to this company. Their privacy framework was empty, and their vague terms were so elastic that they were not meaningful for privacy protection,” Therrien told The Verge.