(FreedomBeacon.com)- An Australian regulatory body won a decisive victory in its lawsuit against Facebook concerning the ongoing scandal over Cambridge Analytica after a court dismissed the social media giant’s claim that it did not conduct business or collect personal information in Australia.
The Office of the Australian Information Commission (OAIC) is suing the company formerly known as Facebook but now rebranded as “Meta” for violating the privacy of over 300,000 Australian Facebook users during the Cambridge Analytica scandal which was uncovered four years ago.
In 2018, the UK Guardian reported that throughout the 2010s, Cambridge Analytica consulting firm had harvested the personal data of millions of Facebook users without their consent by using a personality test app called “This Is Your Digital Life.” The information gathered was then used primarily for political advertising, including ads geared to promote the UK Brexit campaign and Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
According to court documents, while only 53 Australians installed the app, Cambridge Analytica was still able to harvest the data of more than 311,000 people.
The OAIC announced its lawsuit in 2020 alleging “serious and/or repeated interferences with privacy” in violation of Australia’s privacy law.
Since then, Facebook has attempted to get the case thrown out, arguing that the company neither carries out business nor collects or holds personal information in Australia, therefore it cannot be sued under Australia’s privacy laws.
But on Monday, the full bench of the federal court tossed Facebook’s argument, describing parts of it as “divorced from reality.”
The court found Facebook’s installation of cookies on Australian users’ physical devices was enough to conclude it was carrying out business in Australia.
Justice Nye Perram said what Facebook did is “not an outlier activity,” but something inherent “which makes Facebook work.”
In a statement after the full court ruling, the Office of the Australian Information Commission said it welcomed the court’s decision and now looked forward to proceeding with the lawsuit.
Facebook, now Meta, refused to comment on the details of the ruling, only saying it would be reviewing the full court’s decision.