Facebook to alert affected Belgians about privacy leak

Facebook announced this Wednesday that nearly 61,000 Belgians could be part of the 87 million users whose data was used without their knowledge by the firm Cambridge Analytica.

Facebook will inform affected users from 9th April, company’s technical director Mike Schroepfer said on Wednesday. Belgians who believe Cambridge Analytica took their data can file a complaint with Facebook or Cambridge Analytica.

The UK company, accused of having aided pivotal elections like the Trump 2016 campaign and Brexit with the collected data, was able to farm directly and indirectly from Facebook by an online questionnaire “thisisyourdigitallife” application that not only gathered participants data but many unwilling people from their friends list.

The British administration, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) currently leads the investigation but has extended powers for international complaints to be made. The ICO’s preliminary report will come out April 10th at the plenary session of the “Data Protection Group Article 29”, advisory body of the European Commission, (to be replaced by the European Data Protection Board in May for more stringent privacy law)

Now move has yet been taken against the company as the decision to sanction the operator is the responsibility of the Member State in which the data processing institution is located. In the case of Facebook, it is Ireland. However, the European Data Protection Board may act if necessary, but in the meantime, Belgians who feel aggrieved are advised to file a complaint with the Privacy Commission.