An Irish regulator said on Tuesday it is investigating a recent Facebook data leak when 533M users’ data, such as phone numbers and locations, were made available online practically for free. Thousands of users in Ireland are urged to sue Facebook.
Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) launched an own-volition inquiry pursuant to section 110 of the Data Protection Act 2018 in relation to multiple international media reports, which highlighted that a collated dataset of Facebook user personal data had been made available on the internet.
“The DPC, having considered the information provided by Facebook Ireland regarding this matter to date, is of the opinion that one or more provisions of the GDPR and/or the Data Protection Act 2018 may have been, and/or are being, infringed in relation to Facebook Users’ personal data,” DPC press release reads.
According to Business Insider, Facebook could face a fine of up to 4% of its $86 billion global revenue if found responsible.
Meanwhile, Digital Rights Ireland is urging thousands of people to sue Facebook: “If you live in the European Union or European Economic Area, you can seek monetary damages from Facebook. The GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) gives you the right to monetary compensation where your data protection rights have been breached. Digital Rights Ireland are commencing a ‘mass action’ against Facebook on behalf of users who have been affected.”
According to the CyberNews investigation team, the database has entries from 106 countries and includes names, mobile numbers, few email addresses, genders, occupations, locations, and marital statuses.
The US and the UK are among the most affected countries, with 32M and 11,5M Facebook users’ data leaked, respectively.
Experts have been raising red flags long before this incident, claiming that this privacy issue was severely under-reported. Security experts warn that leaked data could be used not only for marketing purposes but also for impersonating people and committing fraud.
To see if any of your online accounts were exposed in previous security breaches, use our personal data leak checker with a library of 15+ billion breached records.
Facebook has long been criticized for allowing third parties to scrape or collect user data, with Cambridge Analytica being the most prominent and scandalous example.
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