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Facebook could have prevented data breach

FACEBOOK DATA

Facebook is facing accusations of data harvesting after it was revealed that an “unprecedented” infringement took place in 2014. Perhaps even more damaging, while Facebook found out about the breach in 2015, the social media giant failed to alert its users, and did not take adequate steps to recover and secure the private information.

To make matters worse, whistleblower, Sandy Parakilas who worked as a platform operations manager at Facebook from 2011 to 2012 has told MPs that his concerns about lax data-protection policies at the company were ignored by senior executives. He said that covert harvesting was routine at the social network, and that Facebook did not do enough to prevent, identify – or act upon – data breaches.

Speaking to a parliamentary committee on Wednesday Parakilas said that while the security team at Facebook was “very, very good,” “they’d allowed people to get all this data on people who hadn’t really authorised it, and it was personally identifiable data.”

He added that Facebook gave the impression that it was worried it would be held liable if it investigated a suspected breach and found policies or laws were broken.

Commenting on Facebook’s lack of action over the recent Cambridge Analytica breach revelations, Parakilas said: “It has been painful watching, because I know that they could have prevented it.”

Last night, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg admitted user privacy mistakes and said he realised he needed to be more public and accountable. In an interview with CNN, he said that he was willing to testify to any US government inquiry over the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and that he would not be against regulation of his social media company. He has also pledged to review “thousands of apps” in an “intensive process”.

Crucially for anyone considering making a data breach claim over this breach, Zuckerberg admitted that Facebook made a mistake in not telling users about the leak when it was uncovered in 2015. He said: “I regret we didn’t do it at the time. I think we got that wrong”.

Have you been affected?

Facebook has now promised to inform users if their data was accessed by any apps that might have misused it. And if you have been affected, you could have a claim for compensation. Indeed, with the first civil lawsuit stemming from the Facebook data breach now filed in the US, it is only a matter of time before a group action case is launched in the UK.

What is a group action claim?

With a group action claim, you and the other Claimants collectively bring your cases to court against a Defendant. Where circumstances are very similar, group actions can be a powerful tool and can have a bigger impact than a single claim.

As specialists in data law, we are carefully observing this case and may put together a group action to seek compensation.

What now?

If you are a Facebook user and are concerned that your data has been accessed and exploited via the platform, get in touch. We’ll let you know if and when you can claim.

KEEP ME INFORMED

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