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Ouch – Data Privacy Fines in the USA

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) imposed a record-setting US$5 billion fine on Facebook for mishandling user data — and also has set out a series of restrictions on what FB can and cannot do, including:

  • Exercising greater oversight over third-party apps
  • Prohibiting the use of cell phones numbers obtained for two-factor authentication for advertising
  • Providing clear and conspicuous notice of its use of facial recognition technology.

Concerns over the growing power and reach of not only Facebook, but also Apple, Amazon, and Google are coming to a head, with the US Justice Department announcing that it is opening an official antitrust review of the world’s biggest tech companies. In a separate move, the FTC together with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and 50 US states and territories have forced Equifax Inc. to agree to pay at least US$575 million, and potentially up to $700 million, as part of a global settlement as punishment for the credit reporting company’s failure to take reasonable steps to secure its network, which led to a data breach in 2017 that affected approximately 147 million people. Had Equifax acted immediately to admit the breach and take remedial action the damage – and subsequent fine – would have been much less.

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