/ About the big fine to Facebook and the aging app: Would you give your house or car keys to a third party?

5 September, 2019

The Federal Trade Commission in the United States has just imposed an unprecedented fine on Facebook for privacy violations: 5 billion dollars, for inappropriately sharing data from users of this social network with Cambridge Analytica. Let’s remember the case: through a personality test that 270,000 people answered, this third party accessed through the networks of friends of those surveyed, data of 50 million people without their explicit consent. Other companies also had inappropriate access to data taken from Facebook. And how do they get that data? Many times we are the ones who hand them over.


If you were one of those who have had fun in recent weeks seeing your face, that of your family and friends, aged in about 20 or 30 years, do you know where the original and altered photos were stored and what other information was stored by the application used, FaceApp? Would you do the same with your house, car and other goods? I don’t think you would. So why do we give our information to third parties without reading the conditions under which our personal data will be treated (used)?

Do you know what data FaceApp collects? In addition to your photographs, which could be qualified as biometric data and according to the bill regulating data protection in Chile, as sensitive data; it also collects your behavior. Who stores or treats them? A Russian company, with servers in the United States and Russia. And since you probably didn’t read the terms and conditions either, I’ll tell you more. FaceApp cannot sell your data. You’ll say thank goodness. But it can share them with third parties, does that sound like Facebook to you?

But don’t worry so much. You have the right to cancel. They’ll acknowledge receipt and you will believe it’s all over. Let’s try to think positive. Yes, your data will be erased on FaceApp and from the servers of third parties with whom it was shared. Only good faith remains. The same one you had when you downloaded the application. The same one we had with Facebook and Cambridge Analytica.

It is surprising that in the wake of a new data protection regulation, in which rights for data subjects are recognized, there is so little discussion about the care that we must all take to protect them. If they are ours, should we hand them over without further analysis to an unknown third party?

It is important not to delegate all responsibility to the person who collect our data. It is undeniable that individuals, data holders, have a degree of participation. We freely choose to download the application and give them our information. Just as we want data processing companies to be diligent, data users and data owners should protect our privacy. Not everything can be rights or claims, due care should start with the data owner itself.

Macarena Gatica
Senior Associate