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Democracy Disrupted: ICO Takes Action Against Political Campaigns

J.J. Patrick photo
J.J. PatrickUnited Kingdom
Democracy Disrupted: ICO Takes Action Against Political Campaigns
The UK's Information Commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, publishes the first comprehensive update on the ICO investigation into abuse of big data in political campaigns. Facebook faces the highest level of fine which can be levied by the regulator.

Over a year ago, the Information Commissioner's Office, led by Elizabeth Denham, began to explore the use and potential abuse of personal data during the Brexit campaign.

By May 2017, a formal investigation was launched which threw a dragnet around not only social media platforms, but encompassed big data analytics companies and UK political parties.

Today, Denham publishes an unprecedented progress report, accompanied by a document entitled Democracy Disrupted? Personal Information and Political Influence, giving long awaited details of some of the organisations and individuals under investigation, as well as outlining enforcement action taken so far.

The response of the ICO to date incorporates an “intention to fine” Facebook £500,000 for two breaches of the old Data Protection Action Act 1998 – the highest level of penalty available under that defunct legislation.

The action taken is unlikely to alleviate the concerns of those who have been following this story.