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Brazil surpasses UK in Facebook fine over Cambridge Analytica scandal

The $1.6 million fine follows investigations around the use of personal data in political campaigns.

The Brazilian government has fined Facebook following an investigation around the misuse of personal data belonging to nearly half a million users in political campaigns. 

The 6,6 million reais ($1.6 million) fine was issued by the country’s Ministry of Justice and Public Security and relates to the data misuse scandal by the social networking firm and consultancy Cambridge Analytica, which harvested the personal data of about 87 million Facebook users through a personality quiz app called This Is Your Digital Life.

The fine applied by the Brazilian government pales in comparison to the $5 billion Facebook paid in the US to settle a government lawsuit. However, it is larger than the £500,000 ($656,000) fine issued by the UK data protection watchdog earlier this year, also resulting from an investigation around the Cambridge Analytica case. 

This is the maximum amount that could be applied before new data protection rules came into place – the Brazilian General Personal Data Protection Act is due to go live in August next year. Last month, a bill has proposed postponing the date to August 15, 2022. 

A statement issued by the Ministry noted that data belonging to 443,000 Brazilian users was used for purposes that were “at the very least, questionable” and that Facebook seemed unable to demonstrate that the number of users affected was any smaller than that. The abuse in terms of personal data handling relates to both Facebook Inc and the company’s Brazilian subsidiary. 

According to the statement…

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