The Irish Data Protection Commission recently commenced an investigation pertaining to a massive leak involving the data of a large number of Facebook users. A while ago, one got to know that the personal data of many Facebook users were compromised. The number of users was said to be more than 530 million. The data has reportedly been shared on a lesser-known hacking forum where even the phone numbers of the users have been put up for sale.
The news was alarming and definitely, bad for Facebook’s reputation. In its defense, Facebook has stated that the data of its users was actually ‘scraped’ instead of getting hacked. Facebook further pointed out that a large part of the blame behind this data leak rests with the privacy settings of the users. As a counterpoint, many users argued that their personal data got compromised despite ‘Public’ being their default setting and even the setting on their phones being set to ‘Only Me’.
Facebook Comes Under the Radar
Facebook has also stated that the data was scraped before GDPR was introduced. Because of this, the company didn’t have any obligation to report the leak. Facebook claims that it carried out an internal investigation and according to the company, the information that came out the last weekend has been in the public domain for a while and it was scraped before certain modifications were made to the website in 2018 and 2019.
The Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC), however, is not convinced. The Commission has suggested that at least a certain amount of data must date from a later period in time and is bound to come under the scanner of the GDPR. It was skeptical about the whole issue from the beginning and now, after getting solid support from the European Commission, it has made an official announcement about starting an inquiry.
In an officially released statement, it said, “The DPC, having considered the information provided by Facebook Ireland regarding this matter to date, is of the opinion that one or more provisions of the GDPR and/or the Data Protection Act 2018 may have been, and/or are being, infringed in relation to Facebook Users’ personal data”.
While Facebook has continued being defensive about the whole matter, it has stated that it will provide full cooperation to the commission with the inquiry. In the next couple of days, the investigation is expected to shed light on some of the other aspects of this leak.