Facebook has failed to convince the Australian Federal Court that it does not carry out business in Australia. In March 2020, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) commenced legal proceedings against Facebook for allegedly breaching the privacy of over 300,000 Australians by using Facebook data to influence voters.
OAIC assert that there was a serious data breach by Facebook passing on personal information to Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics firm, for political profiling between March 2014 and May 2015. The data included people's names, dates of birth, emails, city locations, friends lists, page likes and in some cases, messages, to influence voters. Cambridge Analytica provided assistance to the Donald Trump political campaign in 2016 and worked with the Leave campaign in the UK Brexit referendum.
OAIC has submitted that Facebook has breached privacy laws, exposing the data of 311,127 Australians and using their data for political profiling and purposes outside user expectations. On Monday, the Court found against Facebook, over their argument that they did not carry out any business in Australia at the time of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The case is still ongoing and will proceed to trial in the near future.
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