The Facebook quiz which led to the Cambridge Analytica data breach has been the subject of many courts worldwide. The personality quiz that was running on Facebook was taken by people across the world, however as we now know those who took the quiz also exposed their Facebook friends to the data breach unknowingly. Over 50 million Facebook users were affected without their knowledge or consent.
In Australia it was estimated that 53 people took the quiz and it is believed that this exposed approximately 300,000 of their Facebook friends to the data breach.
The Court matter in Australia has been ongoing since 2020 through the Federal Courts, as the Australian Information Commissioner took on Meta, the new owner of Facebook. Two prior decisions were made in favour of the Australian Information Commissioner however Meta are appealing that decision in the High Court and challenging the very foundation of the case against them.
The Australian legal system allows for prosecution overseas if there is able to be established a link to Australia. The Commissioner must therefore establish to the High Court that the company, despite being overseas, was carrying out business in Australia.
Facebook is fighting on the basis that they did not have a commercial presence in Australia, as they did not have any personnel, revenues or business premises in Australia.
The Commissioner is still standing by their case that there was a clear breach of Australian privacy laws from the information which was shared with the third-party application. The breach is said to have occurred from 12 March 2014 to 1 May 2015, meaning that for over one year the privacy of the affected Australian users was being breached.
If the decision is made that Facebook is liable for a penalty of $2.2 million dollars in the Australia case. This would come after court actions were brought in the US and UK, where there have been substantial fines of billions of dollars.
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