The District of Columbia has filed a lawsuit against Facebook for allowing data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica to illegally gain access to data belonging to about 87 million users.
D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine filed a lawsuit on December 19, asserting that Facebook misled users regarding their data security, and failed to properly monitor third-party apps. The lawsuit alleges that in violation of the local laws, data of about half of D.C.’s nearly 700,000 residents was compromised by Cambridge Analytica.
“We’re seeking to hold Facebook accountable for jeopardizing and exposing the personal information of tens of millions of its users. We hope this lawsuit will ensure Facebook takes better care with its data,” said Racine.
According to Racine, information of over 340,000 D.C. residents was exposed, even though only 860 downloaded the quiz app that was used as a cover by Cambridge Analytica for its data-mining scheme.
“We’re reviewing the complaint and look forward to continuing our discussions with attorneys general in D.C. and elsewhere,” Facebook said in a statement in response to the lawsuit.
D.C.'s attorney general has filed a lawsuit against Facebook for misleading users about the security of their data and failing to properly monitor third-party apps. https://t.co/V2t3goB7ku
— NBCWashington (@nbcwashington) December 20, 2018
Attorney general’s office will be adding more allegations in the case file if more information about privacy breach is brought to the office, according to officials.
The lawsuit comes at a time when Facebook is already mired in controversies over breach of privacy and unauthorized access to information of 2.3 billion users on the social network. Investigations are ongoing in the U.S. and Europe against Facebook for violating laws. Congressional hearings over the breach of privacy by the social networking site have also been held.
The New York Times recently reported that Facebook gave user data access to large companies such as Amazon, Netflix, Spotify and Bing, a claim previously denied by these companies.