Data protection authorities from all countries around the world should investigate Facebook and demand better security measures and compliance with the Principle of Accountability

By: Nelson Remolina Angarita (April 11, 2018). ** Text translated from Spanish to English by Luisa Ricaurte Espinosa and Luisa Alvarez, GECTI.

The Cambridge Analytica & Facebook case reveals numerous flaws in the way some companies treat personal data and how their actions affect millions of people from all over the world.

It has become public knowledge as has been registered by the world press, that “The founder of the technological giant Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, accepted today full responsibility before the United State Senate for the abuse of the company Cambridge Analytica, that used the data of millions of users of the social network”. Additionally, Facebook has recognized some weak aspects of its security measures: See: “Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged his responsibility for the security flaws that allowed the unauthorized use of personal data of millions of users.”

Facebook is responsible for the treatment of personal data of approximately 2.2 billion people from all over the world.

Looking to prevent future violations of the rights of these people, data protection authorities around the world should investigate Facebook for the purpose of demanding more and better security measures regarding the information of those 2.2 billion users and the correct application of the Principle of Accountability.

Note that the Principle of Accountability emerged as a practical measure -not theoretical- that requires the adoption of specific and useful tools to guarantee the right to data protection. The purpose of this is to move from the theoretical protection of the rules and policies of the companies to the real and effective protection in the daily management of the organizations, which demands the use of pertinent and efficient data tools and processes. In sum, data protection must move from rhetoric to practice.

Facebook has acknowledged part of the responsibility but it is necessary that the authorities make pronunciations regarding this incident and demand that the aforementioned company complies with the law and guarantees a proper treatment of the data of its users. Additionally, the authorities should create a special surveillance group for digital social networks because, as it can be seen in this case, the rights of millions of people are at stake.