News Bytes – August

Equifax Fined $575M for Data Breach
Equifax has reached an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission and additional federal and state regulators on the penalties that will be leveraged in the aftermath of the 2017 major information breach.

The deal, which comes two years after Equifax leaked sensitive customer information, will see the company pay a minimum of $575 million in settlement fees. Of this, at least $300 million will be invested in the credit monitoring systems required to assist those customers who were affected by the data breach, which apparently impacted over 40% of the United States’ population. If the initial efforts are not sufficient to compensate the consumers who were impacted by the security failure, Equifax will be required to cough up a further $125 million out to any customers who have yet to be adequately compensated. Equifax will also be required to pay the 50 attorney generals who filed the suit on behalf of 48 states, Washington DC, and Puerto Rico to the tune of $175 million in addition to penalties to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The FTC itself will not receive any funds.

Facebook Cleans Up its Act
Facebook has deleted hundreds of accounts spread across Honduras, Ukraine, Thailand, and Russia amid accusations of “coordinated inauthentic behavior.”

The action, which was performed in the name of Facebook’s responsibility to protect users, saw 294 accounts, 32 groups, and 1509 pages being purged in a single week. All accounts were based in Honduras, Ukraine, Thailand, or Russia. While Facebook was quick to stress that the campaigns were not linked, they did all have one trait in common: They were designed to mislead people in terms of who the users were and what their intentions were.

The latest move came in the aftermath of Facebook’s agreement to pay $5 billion in penalties to the FTC and $100 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission following a series of privacy issues. The settlements were agreed after Facebook was stood accused of failing to prevent Cambridge Analytica from harvesting the data of 87 million Facebook users. Following the announcement, Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, also disclosed that the firm would be implementing major structural changes to the way in which it develops and implements its products, and he once again stressed Facebook’s focus on protecting its users.