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1ST LEAD Israel, Germany demand answers from Facebook in data breach scandal By Eliyahu Kamisher and Basil Wegener, dpa

Europe
22.03.2018
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Tel Aviv/Berlin (dpa) - Israel has launched an investigation and Germany is demanding answers after the private data of millions of Facebook users was harvested by an app and handed over to a data mining firm that worked for Donald Trump‘s election campaign.

Britain-based data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica came under scrutiny at the weekend when a whistleblower who helped set up the company told The Guardian newspaper that information from about 50 million Facebook users was taken without their consent in work the firm did for Trump‘s 2016 campaign.

The privacy protection branch of Israel‘s Justice Ministry opened an investigation into Facebook on Thursday connected to "the transfers of personal data from Facebook to Cambridge Analytica and the possibility of other infringements of the privacy law regarding Israelis." 

The probe will look into whether Israelis‘ personal data was "illegally used in a way that infringes upon their right to privacy and the provisions of the Israeli Privacy Law."

Anger about the suspected misuse of data has also stretched to Europe, with German Justice Minister Katarina Barley demanding clarification from the social media giant and inviting the company‘s European offshoot heads to a meeting next week.

"I demand clarification over how these occurrences could come about, whether German accounts were affected, and what Facebook intends to do to prevent a repeat of such cases," Barley said Thursday in Berlin.

Barley said Facebook could face a fine of 4 per cent of the company‘s worldwide revenue of some 40-billion-euro (49-billion-dollar) under a new EU privacy regulation due to come into effect in May.

"This is a considerable sum," the politician said.

Facebook users should be better able to decide how much of their privacy to give away and the algorithms the website uses must become more transparent, Barley said.

Cambridge Analytica has denied accusations of wrongdoing. Facebook faces an investigation by the US Federal Trade Commission, with chief executive Mark Zuckerberg admitting Wednesday that the social media giant "made mistakes" and was involved in a "breach of trust."

 

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