An Australian court has reportedly mandated that Meta Platforms, the owner of Facebook, pay fines amounting to $14 million (A$20 million) for collecting user data through a smartphone application, Onavo.
According to a Reuters report, the Federal Court of Australia has directed Meta, along with its subsidiaries Facebook Israel and the discontinued app, to reimburse $270,356 (A$400,000) in legal costs to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). The ACCC initiated the civil lawsuit against Meta, alleging that Onavo was promoted as a privacy protection tool, but failed to openly reveal its data collection methods.
Facebook used Onavo to collect users’ location, time and frequency using other smartphone apps and websites they visited for its own advertising purposes, Judge Wendy Abraham said in a written judgment, according to the report.
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Meta reportedly stated that the ACCC had recognized their lack of intent to mislead customers and they emphasized their efforts in developing tools over the past few years to provide users with increased transparency and control over their data usage.
The imposed fine marks the conclusion of one aspect of Meta’s legal challenges in Australia concerning its management of user data, Reuters said. This legal matter emerged amid a scandal involving Meta’s association with data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica during the 2016 United States election.
However, Meta’s legal woes are not over yet, as it is reportedly also facing a civil court action by Australia’s Office of the Information Commissioner regarding its dealings with Cambridge Analytica specifically in Australia.
Cointelegraph reached out to Meta for more information, but had not received a response bthe time of publication.
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