Did Cambridge Analytica acquire Australian user data from Facebook?

David Wilson - Mar 18, 2018

While Facebook deals with the (well documented) Cambridge Analytica fallout, questions remain as to whether any Australians personal data made up the 50 million users whose data was acquired by Cambridge Analytica. Timothy Pilgrim, the Information and Privacy Commissioner, released a statement on March 20th stating that his office is awaiting a response on the matter from Facebook. Will Easton, who runs Facebook Australia & New Zealand is yet to confirm or deny whether Australian users were caught up in the scandal. If Facebook does confirm that Australians data was in fact acquired and used by Cambridge Analytica, then it is highly likely that Mr Pilgrim will rely on the regulatory powers conferred under the Privacy Act 1988 to launch a full investigation into the matter, which may result in regulatory action or commencement of a civil proceeding in the courts.

Meanwhile, ACCC Chairman Rod Sims has confirmed that the ACCC will lead an inquiry into whether Google and Facebook have misused their market powers, and whether they are being transparent enough with their users on how they collect personal information.

The OAIC and the ACCC join a chorus of global regulatory bodies looking to investigate the matter. In response to the scandal, when CNN asked Mark Zuckerberg whether Facebook should be regulated, Zuckerberg’s response was “I’m actually not sure we shouldn’t be regulated”.

More to come as this story unfolds…

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