The Australian government is convinced that the company violates the country’s data protection laws. The potential claim for damages is an incredibly high amount.
Facebook Has Not Taken Any Steps
The company shared their personal information with the Digital Life app. The developers of the app in turn, had sold personal information to the British data analysis company Cambridge Analytica, which it is said to have used for political profiling. Australian information and data protection officers further claim that Facebook has not taken reasonable steps to protect their personal information from unauthorized disclosure and has disclosed this information for a purpose other than that for which it was collected. Both are violations of the Australian data protection act. The Facebook platform has resulted in users being unable to properly choose and control how their personal information was released. The application states that the majority of the Australians affected did not install the app themselves. Instead, their data was collected after their Facebook friends downloaded the app, so they had no way to unsubscribe.
The survey app was operated by Cambridge Analytica, a data analysis company that made headlines several times due to serious data misuse. Cambridge Analytica collected data on Facebook and used it for political targeting during the previous US presidential election. It was not just the analysis company that was criticized and filed for bankruptcy. Facebook also had to take public responsibility for the misuse of data.
In Australia, every possible violation is subject to a maximum penalty of 1.5 million dollars. Adding all the cases mentioned by the Department of Information gives almost 550 billion dollars. However, when asked by the Australian Financial Review, the Ministry said the court could potentially group all cases into a single violation.