Connect with us

World

Australia fines Meta $14m for undisclosed data collection

Published

on

A court in Australia has ordered Facebook owner Meta Platforms to pay fines totalling 20 million Australian dollars ($13.5m) for collecting user data through a smartphone application without disclosing its actions.

Australia’s Federal Court on Wednesday also ordered Meta, through its subsidiaries Facebook Israel and the now-discontinued app, Onavo, to pay 400,000 Australian dollars ($270,631) in legal costs to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

The commission had brought the civil lawsuit against Meta.

The fine wraps up one strand of Meta’s legal issues in Australia, related to its handling of user information since a global scandal erupted over its use of data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica in the 2016 United States election.

Meta still faces a civil court action by Australia’s Office of the Information Commissioner over its dealings with Cambridge Analytica in Australia.

Wednesday’s judgement was in relation to a virtual private network (VPN) service the company then called Facebook offered from early 2016 to late 2017, Onavo, which it advertised as a way to keep personal information safe.

VPNs obscure an internet user’s identity by giving their computer a different online address.

However, Facebook used Onavo to collect users’ location, time and frequency using other smartphone apps and websites they visited for its own advertising purposes, Justice Wendy Abraham said in a written judgement.

“The failure to make sufficient disclosures … may have deprived tens of thousands of Australian consumers of the opportunity to make an informed choice about the collection and use of their data before downloading and/or using Onavo Protect,” Abraham wrote.

She added that the court could have fined Meta hundreds of billions of dollars since Australians downloaded the app 271,220 times and each breach of consumer law carried a fine of 1.1 million Australian dollars ($743,721), but “the contraventions can be characterised as a single course of conduct”.

The fine was agreed by both sides but “carries with it a sufficient sting to ensure that the penalty amount is not such as to be regarded … as simply an acceptable cost of doing business”, she wrote.

Meta, which made global revenues of $116bn last year, said in a statement that the ACCC had acknowledged it never sought to mislead customers, and that “over the last several years we have built tools to give people more transparency and control over how their data is used”.

In a statement, ACCC Chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb said Australian consumers should be able to make an informed choice about what happens to their data based on clear information.

(Al Jazeera)

World

Brawl in Italian Parliament ahead of G7 Summit 

Published

on

By

Lawmakers at the Italian Parliament clashed over a bill on Wednesday (12 June), as Italy began to host world leaders for the annual Group of Seven (G7) Summit in Puglia.

A video of the clash was widely shared on the internet. 

The row began when Five Star Movement (MS5) MP Leonardo Dono tried to tie an Italian flag around the neck of Regional Affairs Minister Roberto Calderoli of the pro-autonomy Northern League. 

MPs from Calderoli’s League party cornered Dono in response, turning the debate into a free-for-all fight involving about 20 men. Donno, injured in the clashes, had to be evacuated in a wheelchair and taken to hospital.

Media reports state the bill sought to grant certain regions further autonomy. Opponents of the bill state it would further deepen the north-south divide in the country and bring more hardship to the impoverished south. 

Continue Reading

World

Kuwait residential building fire kills 50

Published

on

By

At least 40 Indians are among 50 people killed in a fire at a residential building in the Kuwaiti city of Mangaf.

A fire broke out on Wednesday (12 June) in a building where many foreign workers resided.

Most of the casualties are from the southern Indian states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Around 50 Indians have also been injured.

Three Filipinos have also been killed, media reports quoted Philippines officials as saying. Filipino and Nepali workers are also among the injured.

Local media reports said the building housed 196 workers and there are suggestions that it may have been overcrowded.

Two-thirds of the Kuwaiti population is made up of foreign workers, especially in the construction and domestic sectors, and the country is highly dependent on migrant labour.

Continue Reading

News

The G7 Summit begins today

Published

on

By

Leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) countries are meeting for a three-day summit, starting today (13 June) to discuss global affairs in the southern region of Puglia (Apulia), Italy.  

Heads of state of the seven members – the United States, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Canada and the United Kingdom – as well as the chiefs of the European Council and the European Commission will be present at the event.

Italy, the host of this year’s event, has extended an invitation to more than 10 other countries for sideline discussions. These include UAE’s Mohamed bin Zayed, Algeria’s President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Notable absentees are Egypt and Saudi Arabia, who it  is reported, had been invited.

Support for Ukraine is top of the agenda. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is scheduled to arrive on the summit’s first day for two sessions dedicated to the war-torn country. The G7’s most anticipated outcome is an agreement over a $50bn loan for Ukraine backed by profits accrued on Russian assets frozen in the West. 

The war on Gaza is also expected to dominate talks. 

Pope Francis will also be among the guests – the first time a pontiff has been invited to the summit – for a session dedicated to artificial intelligence (AI). Other specific sessions will be on migration, financial issues and the situation in the Asia Pacific. 

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2024 Sri Lanka Mirror. All Rights Reserved