‘Meta Firms Fined’ is what has made the headlines in media across the globe this week. Meta, the company that owns Facebook, has been fined by an Australian court for nearly $20 million (AUS$20 million) for misleading users about how their data was used.
What was Onavo?
A VPN is a technology that encrypts and routes internet traffic through a secure server, hiding the user’s online activity and location from third parties.
How did Onavo deceive users?
The app gathered and shared users’ personal activity data in anonymised and aggregated form with Meta, which used it to monitor competitors, identify potential acquisitions, and improve its own products .
What did the court rule?
On Wednesday, July 26, 2023, Federal Court Justice Anna Katzmann ruled that Onavo and Facebook Israel had engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct and made false or misleading statements about the app. She ordered each company to pay a penalty of $10 million (AUS$10 million) to Australia .
How did Meta react?
Meta discontinued Onavo Protect in 2019 after facing criticism from privacy advocates and regulators around the world.