The Brazilian Ministry of Justice imposed a fine of 6.6 million reais (about 1.3 million dollars) on Facebook for leaking the data of some 443,000 Brazilian users that were used by the international consulting firm Cambridge Analityca.
The fine had initially been imposed last December, but the Ministry of Justice lifted it at the request of Facebook to guarantee “broad defense” to the company. However, the company continued to claim that there was no evidence of a breach of Brazilian user data, and therefore it could not be accused of misusing or improperly exposing it.
“The allegations were not accepted by the National Consumer Secretariat (Senacom, a consumer protection body linked to the Ministry) which reestablished the fine of 6.6 million reais,” the Justice ministry explained in a statement.
According to the Ministry, if you choose not to file any new appeal against the decision, Facebook will benefit from a reduction of up to 25% in the payment of the fine.
The Brazilian government said it had been proven that the data of the users of the social network was transferred in 2018 to the firm Cambridge Analytica, a British political consulting firm that had been hired by the electoral campaign of former United States President Donald Trump.
“It is estimated that at the time the data of more than 87 million people around the world, including that of 443,000 Brazilians, was shared (with Cambridge Analytica) so that they could receive content related to Trump,” according to the ministry’s statement. of Justice.
The note adds that investigations that same year concluded that the illegal data leak occurred through the installation of a personality testing application known as “This is your digital life.”
“For presenting failures when reporting on privacy settings, Senacon considered that Facebook committed an abusive practice with users and therefore applied a fine of 6.6 million reais,” the statement added.
The fine was imposed in the framework of the first of the three processes that the Brazilian Ministry of Justice opened to Facebook last year for alleged violations of the privacy of users of the social network.
The latest process, opened in October, seeks to establish alleged irregularities committed by the company for using sensitive data of its users without authorization, such as heart rate and menstrual cycle, messages and emails, as well as the location of the consumer and images of goods acquired by Applications.
According to the Ministry of Justice, Facebook apparently used mobile applications that serve as a platform to collect such information, even from people who are not users of the social network in Brazil.
In August of last year, the consumer defense agency had already opened a process to demand clarification from the company for the alleged unauthorized access to messages exchanged on both Facebook and Messenger.
Rachel Maga is a technology journalist currently working at Globe Live Media agency. She has been in the Technology Journalism field for over 5 years now. Her life’s biggest milestone is the inside tour of Tesla Industries, which was gifted to her by the legend Elon Musk himself.