FTC goes large on Facebook with $5bn fine

Posted on 12/07/2019

FTC goes large on Facebook with $5bn fine

Ludicrous as it sounds, but even though Facebook had a $5bn fine confirmed by the FTC, their share value went up!  Of course, they can still expect other actions against them by regulators in Europe and elsewhere, as well as Court cases and further Brand damage. With so many other new platforms appearing, it appears that Facebook cannot continue to rely on its powerful global grip it has established.

The company has recently made some efforts to market their caring position vis-a-vis privacy - the issue is that “data protection by design” requires ‘whole privacy’ thinking, so that the likes of Cambridge Analytica relationships should not be allowed to disrespect our privacy, by either Facebook or Cambridge Analytica... but Facebook’s statements appear to be more vacuous in terms of substance.

The wake up call from the world’s regulators this week has not gone unnoticed - does this mean we can rest a little more restfully?

Sadly not. More organisations are turning to machine learning and artificial intelligence. For sound legitimate and necessary reasons in a global competitive economy that is driving down costs. To stay ahead these technologies are required.

What therefore are organisations to do?

Look, data protection legislation is not designed to stop such advances. Au contraire, the object is to facilitate free flows of data, in particular personal data. With that in mind, establishments simply need to get data protection by design right, unlike Facebook and Cambridge Analytica.

Do you get it right? How would you know? How would individuals whose personal data you process know?

Easy. Check with priviness for free.

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Risky business

Posted on 11/07/2019

Risky business

There has been a lot of fanfare in the Press this week regarding data protection - "and about time!" some might say.

One might feel particularly sorry for Sir Kim Darroch. Through no fault of his own, due to the lack of adequate measures to safeguard his emails that conveyed his opinions, the consequence on him is both social and financial disbenefit: we heard yesterday that he's lost his job. The fault would appear to lie at the feet of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office ("FCO"), who are obliged to self-report this personal data breach to the UK data protection watchdog, the Information Commissioner's Office ("ICO"). In order to establish if appropriate safeguarding measures had been considered in the light of potentially identified risks to Sir Kim and other FCO employees, t is likely that the ICO will request a data protection impact assessment ("DPIA") relating to the processing of emails under the control of the FCO - one hopes that such documentation is all in order.

Then there was the update from the ICO on Tuesday that the Marriott hotel chain is facing a £99 million fine relating to inadequate security measures that led to a confidentiality breach of 339 million guests' personal details, which we first heard about in November last year.

And the week started on with the staggering statement from the ICO that British Airways is in the dock for a £183 million fine for their confidentiality breach that came to light in early September last year. Interestingly, this may have been more than one episode, one of which occurring before GDPR came into force. It is not clear what the ICO have taken into account in their deliberations with BA and other EU regulators. One thing for sure, though, is that this fine is in addition to any Court actions and Brand damage that BA is likely to suffer from.

In summary, it appears that if organisations thought that the regulators were only focussing their attention on the likes of Google and Facebook, we all need to think again. The fine against BA is some 4 times the amount that CNIL fined Google - the largest yet.

Let's put some perspective around this. Organisations must self-report in the event of a personal data breach. Whereas the run-rate has on average been about 1,500 per month of such reports to the ICO, across the EU it's closer to 7,500 per month. The problem is that the regulator is starting to crack down on organisations where it is appears they have not put sufficient technical and organisational measures in place to safeguard our rights and freedoms.

The waiting game is over. It's time to be able to prove your organisation is compliant!

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Be careful what your employees are browsing

Posted on 11/06/2019

Be careful what your employees are browsing

When there is a personal data breach, the Morrisons Supermarket case has set the precedent (subject to appeal) that the employer, Morrisons, is vicariously liable for the actions of the employee.

This makes sense.

The obligations of the controller are to ensure that risks to data subjects whose personal data they process have been assessed and appropriate safeguarding measures have been put in place.  So, if an employee, for example, accesses personal data they are unauthorised to access, then the employer is liable for not putting in place adequate measures.

In the Manchester case (see "Read More" link at end of article), the employee has themselves become a controller, and taken it upon themselves to access personal data they were not entitled to access.  This breach of confidentiality under GDPR could attract a fine of up to 4% of the employee's turnover, which, assuming a salary of, say, £15,000, would equate to £600 OR up to €20,000,000, whichever is greater.  With a £300 fine, £364 costs and £30 victim surcharge, the employee appears to have got off lightly (but that was pre-GDPR, of course).

Despite this case being brought by the ICO in a Magistrates Court, the victim might also seek damages in the County Court, both against the employee and the employer (potentially for vicarious liabiliities).

So what do employers have to do to avoid the charge of vicarious liability or other such claims for damages in such a case?

In this case, Stockport Homes quotes an employee code of conduct that presumably all employees are obliged to follow as part of their employment contract.  But is that enough?  To start with, it appears that the personal data was available for the employee, and therefore the employer is liable for their failure to ensure adequate identity and access management protocols werre in place.   So, no, an employee code of conduct is not enough.

Organisations like CybSafe provide excellent training as well to ensure that employers are not subject to the 'human factor'.  This might be another measure Stockport Homes could have put in place.  The list is endless.

#StockportHomes #PersonalDataBreach #ConfidentialityBreach #ICO #fine #StockportMagistratesCourt #DataProtection #Privacy #priviness #privinews #GDPR #training #CodeOfConduct

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