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July 12, 2018 | Fines For Offending Mega-Corps: Cost of Doing Business, Zero Deterrence

Danielle Park

Portfolio Manager and President of Venable Park Investment Counsel (www.venablepark.com) Ms Park is a financial analyst, attorney, finance author and regular guest on North American media. She is also the author of the best-selling myth-busting book "Juggling Dynamite: An insider's wisdom on money management, markets and wealth that lasts," and a popular daily financial blog: www.jugglingdynamite.com

This week Facebook was fined £500,000 by UK regulators for its part in the Cambridge Analytica scandal and failing to protect its users’ information.  This was the maximum fine possible under the Data Protection Act of 1998.  Meanwhile, in the first quarter of 2018, Facebook took in £500,000 in revenue every five and a half minutes.

Clearly, regulatory fines are wholly inadequate in deterring illegal activities once companies achieve massive scale in wealth and influence. This is why we must use long-standing anti-trust laws to break up too big to regulate corps and prosecute individual actors and directing minds with penalties that include clawing back executive compensation and significant jail terms.  See Facebook fined for data breaches in Cambridge Analytica.

Big corporations with big political influence have become the enemy of democracy and the Rule of Law essential for a free and civil society.  This is reality. What we do in response to these facts, will decide what happens next. Elizabeth Denham, the UK information commissioner this week acknowledged the larger challenges at hand in this way:

“Facebook has failed to provide the kind of protections they are required to under the Data Protection Act. Fines and prosecutions punish the bad actors, but my real goal is to effect change and restore trust and confidence in our democratic system.”

The below interview with a former employee and whistle blower at Cambridge Analytica illuminates the business and political entanglements involved in present conditions.

Christopher Wylie, who worked for data firm Cambridge Analytica, reveals how personal information was taken without authorisation in early 2014 to build a system that could profile individual US voters in order to target them with personalised political advertisements. At the time the company was owned by the hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer, and headed at the time by Donald Trump’s key adviser, Steve Bannon. Its CEO is Alexander Nix.  Here is a direct video link.

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July 12th, 2018

Posted In: Juggling Dynamite

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