top of page

Australian Court Hits Meta with A$20 Million Fine for Hidden Data Collection

Updated: Jul 27

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, ordered to pay hefty fines for undisclosed data gathering through Onavo VPN app in Australia.

Credit : REUTERS

An Australian court has levied fines totalling A$20 million on Meta Platforms (META.O), the owner of Facebook, for surreptitiously collecting user data through its VPN service, Onavo. The court also ordered an additional A$400,000 in legal costs to be paid to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) that brought the case forward.

The legal action is linked to the controversy surrounding Meta's handling of user information, stemming from the Cambridge Analytica scandal during the 2016 U.S. election.

The company still faces another civil court case in Australia over its dealings with Cambridge Analytica.

The judgment specifically targets Onavo, which was advertised by Facebook as a means to protect user privacy. However, the app was used to gather users' location, app usage and website visits for Meta's advertising purposes without proper disclosure.

Judge Wendy Abraham stated that the lack of sufficient disclosure could have denied many Australian consumers the chance to make an informed decision about their data's collection and usage while using Onavo Protect.

Although the potential fine could have amounted to hundreds of billions, the agreed-upon A$20 million penalty serves as a significant deterrent. The court recognised that the contraventions could be considered a single course of conduct.

In response, Meta defended itself, stating that it had never intended to mislead customers and emphasised their efforts to provide transparency and user control over data usage.

  • Australian court fines Meta A$20 million and orders A$400,000 in legal costs for undisclosed data collection through Onavo app.

  • The case concludes one of Meta's legal issues in Australia related to user data mishandling.

  • Onavo VPN was promoted as a privacy safeguard but used to collect user information for advertising purposes.

  • Judge acknowledges the penalty is a significant deterrent for the company.

  • Meta asserts its commitment to transparency and user data control.

Source : REUTERS

bottom of page