ICO to make ‘clear policy recommendations’ in light of Facebook data probe

Written by Sam Trendall on 9 April 2018 in News
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Information commissioner Elizabeth Denham issues update acknowledging changes made by social network but stressing ‘it is too early to say whether they are sufficient under the law’

Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA

In the light of its ongoing investigation into the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal, the Information Commissioner’s Office will be “making clear public policy recommendations” concerning the use of personal data.

The information commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, has issued an update on the progress of the ICO’s “investigation into the use of personal data and analytics by political campaigns, parties, social-media companies, and other commercial actors”. 

She revealed that 30 organisations, including Facebook, are being investigated as part of the probe.

Denham said that the goal of the investigation was not only to conclude whether any enforcement action is necessary, but also to recommend policy measures.


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“This is an important time for privacy rights,” she said. “Transparency and accountability must be considered, otherwise it will be impossible to rebuild trust in the way that personal information is obtained, used, and shared online.

She added: “This is why, besides my investigation, which could result in enforcement action, I will also be making clear public-policy recommendations to help us understand how our personal data is used online, and what we can do to control how it's used.”

The investigation is examining the circumstances under which people’s Facebook data was shared with marketing firm Cambridge Analytica, via a third-party app. It is also looking at the wider picture of how social networks and data analytics are used in political campaigning.

“Facebook has been co-operating with us and, while I am pleased with the changes they are making, it is too early to say whether they are sufficient under the law,” Denham said.

 

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Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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