Cambridge Analytica employee argues tougher fines are needed

(Australia) Former Cambridge Analytica employee Brittany Kaiser argues that tougher privacy fines are needed, if CEOs are going to sit up and take notice. Which-50 reports as follows:

The size of the potential penalty Facebook is facing in Australia over the Cambridge Analytica scandal is one of the few fines that may be large enough to move the needle on data compliance, argues former Cambridge Analytica employee turned data advocate Brittany Kaiser.

Speaking to an audience of Australian marketers during a webinar hosted by Verizon Media today, Kaiser noted the fines issued for data breaches were not significant enough to create the necessary disincentives.

“I really think that a lot of the civil fines that are being offered as punishments are invoices that are easily paid by these big companies and it’s not a real incentive to take data protection compliance seriously,” she said.

“Funnily enough, the best civil case I’ve seen so far has been in Australia … the amount of money that would actually be a part of the fine would be more than Facebook is currently worth today.”

Last month Australia’s privacy watchdog commenced legal proceedings against Facebook, alleging it failed to protect more than 300,000 Australian users’ data that was collected by the app at the heart of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Each potential breach could attract a fine up to $1,700,000, which could total $529 billion.

“That is actually an incentive, not an invoice Mark Zuckerberg can pay the same day and still make that amount of money in a rise in stocks due to the PR.”

UK and US watchdogs have already fined Facebook £500,000 and US$5 billion respectively over the Cambridge Analytica incident. When the US fine was announced Facebook’s stock rose, $6 billion to its market cap, as the fears of regulation faded.

Kaiser predicted there would be a further push for criminal liability for negligence around privacy breaches. She cited US Senator Elizabeth Warren’s Corporate Executive Accountability Act introduced to US Congress last year, which would introduce criminal penalties for CEOs.

More broadly, she argued marketers need to get the balance of ethics right now and not wait for legislation to determine how the data economy should be regulated.

(Privacy press clipping sourced via Which-50)
Jurisdiction: Australia

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