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FTC issues opinion against Cambridge Analytica on Facebook privacy violations

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission voted 5-0 to issue an opinion finding that the U.K.-based Cambridge Analytica LLC engaged in deceptive practices to harvest personal information from tens of millions of Facebook Inc. users for voter profiling and targeting.

The FTC found that the data analytics and consulting company also engaged in deceptive practices relating to its participation in the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield framework, according to a Dec. 6 news release.

The commission's staff alleged that Cambridge Analytica and its then-CEO, Alexander Nix, and app developer Aleksandr Kogan collected Facebook data from app users and their Facebook friends. In its opinion, the commission found that Cambridge Analytica violated the FTC Act through the conduct alleged in the complaint.

The final order prohibits Cambridge Analytica from making misrepresentations about the extent to which it protects the privacy and confidentiality of personal information, as well as its participation in the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield framework and other similar regulatory or standard-setting organizations.

The EU-U.S. Privacy Shield is a framework for regulating transatlantic exchanges of personal data for commercial purposes between the European Union and the U.S.

The FTC began probing Facebook in March 2018 following reports that Cambridge Analytica had accessed the data of 87 million Facebook users.

Earlier this year, the FCC voted 3-2 to approve a roughly $5 billion settlement with Facebook.