300k Aussies may sue Facebook over privacy breach
FACEBOOK is facing a major compensation claim and a possible lawsuit on behalf of up to 300,000 Australian users who had their personal information allegedly improperly shared with political campaign outfit Cambridge Analytica.
Johnson Winter Slattery today filed a complaint about the social media giant with the Australian Information Commissioner alleging breaches of the Privacy Act, and has funding from IMF Bentham to consider a law suit.
Personal information of 87 million users wound up with Cambridge Analytica, which has worked on the Donald Trump campaign and the Brexit vote, after they or their friends on the network used the "This is My Digital Life" app.
That data - including political views, religious beliefs and other personal information - was used to target different advertising campaigns at users.
In a statement, IMF Bentham said the Australian Information Commissioner could make a number of findings which included a penalty against Facebook, but that "may not produce a recovery for members of the complainant group".
"In light of this, IMF will determine at a later stage if it will fund any class action against (Facebook) arising from the alleged breaches of the Australian Privacy Principles," the statement reads.
"We are fully co-operating with the investigation currently underway by the Australian Privacy Commissioner and will review any additional evidence that is made available when the UK Office of the Information Commissioner releases their report," a Facebook spokesman said.
The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner is already auditing Facebook to confirm what personal information was part of the data breach.
The company has since shut down the option for third-party apps to take content about a user's Facebook friends.
The Saturday Telegraph revealed this week Facebook was also under investigation for potentially breaching privacy rules by refusing users to sign up under a pseudonym.
At the time, Attorney-General Christian Porter said the Turnbull government was also closely monitoring the issue of social media privacy, and would act to ensure privacy laws were "appropriate and fit-for-purpose".
An OAIC spokeswoman declined to comment on the complaints because they were "matters before our office" but said the commission considered Facebook a company which was required to comply with the Australian Privacy Principles.