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Updated: Mar 29, 2021

Ottawa – MP Charlie Angus is welcoming the news that the UK’s Information Commissioner is planning to slap Facebook with the maximum legal penalties allowable ($875,000) for their failure to protect users’ personal information in the Cambridge Analytica data breach scandal and that she will continue to investigate the misuse of that data in the Brexit referendum. But he says the damning UK report must be a wake-up call for the Trudeau Liberals who are refusing to implement proper sanctions and protections to prevent such abuses from happening in Canada.

“The implication that the abuse of the Facebook platform could have undermined the legitimacy of the Brexit referendum is chilling. Hundreds of thousands of Canadians had their data compromised in this scandal. Facebook plays a huge role in the lives of Canadian citizens. They cannot continue to act in such an immature and arrogant fashion when it comes to user protection and accountability to democratic governments. Yet the Liberals continue to play footsy with Facebook and Silicon Valley lobbyists. We need a clear commitment from the federal Liberals to hold the data giants to account.”

Angus notes that the UK report raised significant red flags about the role of Canadian company AggregateIQ in the scandal and banned them from processing data about UK citizens. AIQ CEO Zack Massingham was consistently uncooperative with the Canadian Parliament and ignored a summons to reappear to clarify inconsistencies in his testimony. However, Liberals on the Ethics Committee gave Massingham a pass for refusing to show up to testify. Angus says this is very troubling.

“AIQ failed to answer questions in the UK and in Canada. As parliamentarians we have a responsibility to protect the rights of citizens and this includes defending the power of Parliament to call potentially dodgy witnesses to account. So given the gravity of this UK report, why did the Trudeau Liberals decide to treat AIQ with kid gloves?”

Angus says he will be working to get the parliamentary committee to continue looking into Facebook and their failure to take the protection of the personal information of users seriously, as well as the privacy implications of other platform monopolies like Google and Amazon more broadly.

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