Acting Australian Information Commissioner and acting Privacy Commissioner, Angelene Falk, has opened a formal investigation into Facebook after it revealed that data about 311,127 Australian Facebook users may have been used without authorisation.
The acting Privacy Commissioner said that the investigation will consider whether Facebook has breached Australia’s Privacy Act 1988 laws.
“Given the global nature of this matter, the OAIC [Office of the Australian Information Commissioner] will confer with regulatory authorities internationally,” Falk said in a statement published on 5 April.
“All organisations that are covered by the Privacy Act have obligations in relation to the personal information that they hold,” Falk said. “This includes taking reasonable steps to ensure that personal information is held securely, and ensuring that customers are adequately notified about the collection and handling of their personal information”
On 20 March, the OAIC said it was making inquiries with Facebook to ascertain whether any personal information of Australians was involved in the data debacle that saw the personal information of up to 87 million users potentially "improperly shared" with UK-based political consultancy, Cambridge Analytica.
Facebook chief technology officer, Mike Schroepfer, revealed on 5 April that 311,127 Australian Facebook users may have had their information "improperly shared" with Cambridge Analytica, who has allegedly improperly accessed user information to build profiles on American voters that were later used to help elect US President Donald Trump in 2016.
Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, said in a conference call with reporters that Facebook had not seen "any meaningful impact" on usage or ad sales since the scandal, although he added, "it's not good" if people are unhappy with the company.
Zuckerberg told reporters that he accepted blame for the data leak, which has angered users, advertisers and lawmakers, while also saying he was still the right person to head the company he founded.