Britain's Information Commissioner has slapped Facebook with a fine of $644,000 — the maximum possible — for its behavior in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The ICO's investigation found that between 2007 and 2014, Facebook processed the personal information of users unfairly by giving app developers access to their information without informed consent. The fine was the maximum allowed under the law at the time the breach occurred.
Apple CEO Tim Cook endorsed tough privacy laws for both Europe and the US and renewed the technology giant's commitment to protecting personal data, which he warned was being “weaponized” against users. Cook applauded European Union authorities for bringing in a strict new data privacy law in May and said the iPhone maker supports a US federal privacy law. “We at Apple are in full support of a comprehensive federal privacy law in the United States,” he said.
Yahoo has agreed to pay $50 million in damages and provide two years of free credit-monitoring services to 200 million people whose email addresses and other personal information were stolen as part of the biggest security breach in history. The restitution hinges on federal court approval of a settlement filed Oct 22 in a 2-year-old lawsuit seeking to hold Yahoo accountable for digital burglaries that occurred in 2013 and 2014, but weren’t disclosed until 2016.
Sidewalk Labs, a unit of Google’s parent company Alphabet, is proposing to turn a rundown part of Toronto’s waterfront into what may be the most wired community in history — to “fundamentally refine what urban life can be.” High-level interest is clear: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Alphabet’s then-Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt appeared together to announce the plan Oct 2017. But some Canadians are rethinking the privacy implications of giving one of the most data-hungry companies on the planet the means to wire up everything from streetlights to pavement.
Gov. Jerry Brown (D-CA) signed the nation's toughest net neutrality measure on Sept 30, requiring internet providers to maintain a level playing field online. Advocates of net neutrality hope the move in the home of the global technology industry will have national implications, prompting Congress to enact national net neutrality rules or encouraging other states to follow suit.
Former President Barack Obama urged private businesses to come out of “isolation” and to engage more with governments when developing new products and services to avoid problems like those challenging Facebook. Obama told business leaders that “you cannot separate the business environment from the political and social environment.” “A good example is Facebook,” Obama said, referring to the public relations pummeling the social media company has received following US intelligence service reports that Facebook was a conduit for Russian election meddling in 2016.
Twitter is permanently banning right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his “Infowars” show for abusive behavior. Twitter said Sept 6 that Jones won't be allowed to create new accounts on Twitter or take over any existing ones. The company said Jones posted a video Sept 5 that violated the company's policy against “abusive behavior.” The video in question showed Jones shouting at and berating CNN journalist Oliver Darcy for some 10 minutes between two congressional hearings focused on social media.