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Equifax is being hit with a £500,000 fine over its massive 2017 data breach that affected 146 million people globally, the UK's Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: The fine is very small compared to what Equifax would've received had the breach happened just one year later, when the U.K. implemented GDPR, the sweeping data privacy law that would've penalized Equifax up to 4% of its global annual revenue.

The U.K.'s privacy office says it's fining Equifax for failing to protect the personal information of up to 15 million UK citizens during the 2017 attack. It says the loss of personal information is particularly problematic because it undermines consumer trust in digital commerce.

"Equifax Ltd has received the highest fine possible under the 1998 legislation because of the number of victims, the type of data at risk and because it has no excuse for failing to adhere to its own policies and controls as well as the law.”
— Elizabeth Denham, Information Commissioner in a statement

The big picture: Equifax has dodged a lot of scrutiny and penalties despite experiencing one of the most pervasive data breaches of personal information to date. As Axios' Joe Uchill notes, the breach has barely changed lawmakers' thinking on Capitol Hill.

Go deeper

Cuomo: "I am not going to resign"

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo apologized Wednesday for acting in a way that made women feel "uncomfortable," but insisted that he has "never touched anyone inappropriately" and said he will not resign.

Driving the news: Cuomo reiterated in his first public appearance since sexual harassment allegations surfaced that he will fully cooperate with a team of independent investigators appointed by New York Attorney General Letitia James, but suggested that demands for his resignation from were simply "politics."

Facebook to lift political ad ban imposed after November election

Photo Illustration by Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Facebook will finally allow advertisers to resume running political and social issue ads in the U.S. on Thursday, according to a company update.

The big picture: Facebook and rival Google instituted political ad bans to slow the spread of misinformation and curb confusion around the presidential election and its aftermath.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
43 mins ago - Technology

AI is industrializing

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Artificial intelligence is becoming a true industry, with all the pluses and minuses that entails, according to a sweeping new report.

Why it matters: AI is now in nearly every area of business, with the pandemic pushing even more investment in drug design and medicine. But as the technology matures, challenges around ethics and diversity grow.