US regulators find Cambridge Analytica deceived consumers

The nameplate of political consultancy, Cambridge Analytica, is seen in central London, Britain March 21, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls/Files

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – US regulators on Friday said they had found now-defunct British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica deceived consumers about the collection of Facebook Inc data for voter profiling and targeting.

The Federal Trade Commission also found that Cambridge Analytica engaged in deceptive practices relating to its participation in the EU-US Privacy Shield framework – a pact on the cross-border transfer of personal data.

The agency order prohibits Cambridge Analytica from misrepresenting the extent to which it protects the privacy and confidentiality of personal information. It also stops the consulting firm from participating in the EU-US Privacy Shield framework and other similar regulatory organizations.

The impact of the agency order is not immediately clear as the consulting firm is no longer in business.

The order comes after Facebook agreed in July to pay a record-breaking $5 billion fine to the FTC, in order to resolve a government probe into its privacy practices.

The government agency continues to pursue a separate antitrust investigation of the company.

The FTC’s probe into Facebook and Cambridge Analytica was triggered by allegations that Facebook violated a 2012 consent decree by inappropriately sharing information belonging to 87 million users with Cambridge Analytica.

The consultancy’s clients included President Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign.

The FTC voted 5-0 to issue the opinion and final order against Cambridge Analytica.

(Reporting by Nandita Bose and Susan Heavey in Washington, Editing by Franklin Paul and Matthew Lewis)

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