The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued an Opinion finding that Cambridge Analytica (CA) engaged in deceptive practices to harvest personal information from tens of millions of Facebook users for voter targeting.
CA was involved with President Donald Trump’s election campaign in 2016 and was accused of swaying the vote in his favour.
The FTC’s Opinion also found that the disgraced company engaged in deceptive practices relating to its participation in the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield framework. The FTC voted 5-0 in favour of issuing the Opinion and Final Order to CA over its behaviour.
This move by the regulator confirms the allegations made in an administrative complaint issued in July that “app users were falsely told the app would not collect users’ names or other identifiable information”.
In a statement on its website, the FTC said: “The Final Order prohibits Cambridge Analytica from making misrepresentations about the extent to which it protects the privacy and confidentiality of personal information, as well as its participation in the EU-US Privacy Shield framework and other similar regulatory or standard-setting organizations.
“In addition, the company is required to continue to apply Privacy Shield protections to personal information it collected while participating in the program (or to provide other protections authorized by law), or return or delete the information. It also must delete the personal information that it collected through the GSRApp.”
Earlier this year the FTC fined social media giant Facebook $5 billion for it lax practices that allowed third-party app developer Aleksandr Kogan, the man who created CA’s app, to mislead users and harvest their data, and that of their friends and family, without their informed consent.
CA’s then-CEO Alexander Nix and app developer, Aleksandr Kogan, have agreed to a settlement with the FTC. However, the company itself filed for bankruptcy in 2018 and therefore efficacy of the Opinion’s ruling is unclear as the company is now defunct.