FTC's Facebook Audit Didn't Catch Cambridge Analytica Leaks

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The audit was conducted for the Federal Trade Commission, after the agency and Facebook reached a settlement over its privacy practices.

The report was an assessment of the period from February 12, 2015 to February 11, 2017.

The audit by PricewaterhouseCoopers is posted on the FTC's website, though it is heavily redacted. Facebook Deputy Chief Privacy Officer Rob Sherman claimed Cambridge Analytica requested the data to be used in a certain way, and in their systems.

"The FTC failed to protect the public", said Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the nonprofit digital rights group Center for Digital Democracy.

Chester said the audit shows that the "FTC can not be relied on to really protect consumers". Senator Richard Blumenthal now wants the FTC to consider evidence that Facebook violated their 2011 consent decree and is pushing for stronger oversight. Any violations of that pact could cost the company a ton of money.

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Any violations of the 2011 agreement could subject Facebook to fines of $41,484 per violation per user per day. Considering the number of Facebook users in the United States, the company could lose billions of dollars.

However, Facebook has been identified to have both internal and external material risks that could result in any of Facebook's third-party apps collecting data without explicit permission from users.

Facebook plans to redesign the account settings section of their mobile app while also creating a new privacy shortcut menu that should allow users greater control over their account security and personal information.

Facebook has been under scrutiny from lawmakers across the world since disclosing that the personal information of 87 million Facebook users wrongly ended up in the hands of Cambridge Analytica, a Britain-based firm hired by Donald Trump for his 2016 US presidential election campaign.

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, a Democrat from Nevada, said during last week's hearing that in her view, "these requirements were not met", because user consent shouldn't have been buried in privacy settings. The audit was completed on February 11, 2017, based on the Facebook Privacy Program under the Management's Assertion.

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