Facebook and Yahoo fave UK investigations as watchdog tells tech companies to watch out


There is a new head of the UK privacy watchdog, and she plans to crack down on many of the technology companies operating in the country saying that she was ready to dive deeper into the field and try to push the UK into an aligned of the EU laws even after the Brexit.

Elizabeth Denham was speaking in her maiden speech as the information commissioner, and she warned the companies which usually deal with large and big amounts of customer data that they would be facing investigations under her tenure for any suspicions of mishandling information, and they would incur strict penalties.


Ms Denham said that whatever post Brexit law they were going to follow, she expected data companies to take responsibility for any actions they will take then, regardless of the speed at which technological change will take place. She also warned that they had powers that could see them issue fines of up to half a million pounds and could see the fines rise up to 4 pence of the company’s global turnover. She goes on to say that ideally they hope not to use the powers, but they would not hold back if the need arose.

Ms Denham took the new position ten weeks ago, and since then she has already launched some investigations into the tech giants, Facebook and Yahoo. This follows the controversial change which was made by WhatsApp recently of its privacy laws and the recent loss of Yahoo users’ information. Ms Denham said that from last Friday they had already stepped in to ask Yahoo about the data breach which had seen eight million email accounts in the UK affected. They are also currently reviewing the WhatsApp and Facebook relationship.

Ms Denham has previously criticized the Facebook privacy terms which led the company to change its policies said that the regulator was going to release a new statement and position on WhatsApp and Facebook soon. She said that she had attended a meeting with her fellow European regulators and the issue of WhatsApp was on the agenda of the meeting. The German equivalent of the regulator has already banned WhatsApp from sharing data with Facebook and any data which was shared before that has been asked to be deleted.

Ms Denham is not only stopping there as she said she would push for the UK to adopt the new data protection laws which would be in line with the EU General Data Protection Regulation. This requires a mandatory data breach disclosure, something which gives users a chance to dictate how firms’ can use their data.