An Australian court has reportedly ordered Meta Platforms, the owner of Facebook, to pay fines amounting to 20 million Australian dollars ($14 million) for collecting user data through a smartphone application, Onavo.
According to a Reuters report, Australia’s Federal Court has ordered Meta, via its subsidiaries Facebook Israel and the discontinued app, Onavo, to reimburse AU$400,000 ($270,356) in legal costs to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). The ACCC initiated the civil lawsuit against Meta, alleging that Onavo was promoted as a privacy protection tool but failed to reveal its data collection methods openly.
Facebook used Onavo to collect users’ location, time and frequency using other smartphone apps and websites they visited for its own advertising purposes, Judge Wendy Abraham said in a written judgment, according to the report.
Meta reportedly stated that the ACCC had recognized its lack of intent to mislead customers, and it emphasized its efforts in developing tools over the past few years to provide users with increased transparency and control over their data usage.
The imposed fine marks the conclusion of one aspect of Meta’s legal challenges in Australia concerning its management of user data, Reuters said. This legal matter emerged amid a scandal involving Meta’s association with data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica during the 2016 United States presidential election.
However, Meta’s legal woes are not over yet, as it is reportedly also facing a civil court action by Australia’s Office of the Information Commissioner regarding its dealings with Cambridge Analytica, specifically in Australia.
Cointelegraph reached out to Meta for more information but did not receive a response by publication.
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Written by Amaka Nwaokocha on 2023-07-26 14:00:00.