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FBI, FTC and SEC are Joining DOJ Inquiry Facebook Data

by Oui Wed Jul 4th, 2018 at 08:50:54 AM EST

Many persons believing in Justice have been barking up the wrong tree ...

The FBI, FTC and SEC are joining the Justice Department's inquiries into Facebook's Cambridge Analytica disclosures

An alphabet soup of federal agencies are now poring over Facebook's disclosures and the company's statements about its response to the improper use of its user information by the political consultancy Cambridge Analytica.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Federal Trade Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission have joined the Justice Department in examining how the personal information of 71 million Americans was distributed by Facebook and used by Cambridge Analytica, according to a Washington Post report released Monday.

Continued below the fold ...


According to the Post, the emphasis of the investigation has been on what Facebook disclosed about its information sharing with Cambridge Analytica and whether those disclosures correlate to the timeline that's being established by government investigators. The fear, for Facebook, is that the government may decide that the company didn't reveal enough to either investors or the public about the extent of the misallocation of user data. Another concern is whether the Cambridge Analytica decision violated the terms of an earlier settlement Facebook made with the Federal Trade Commission.

The redoubled efforts of so many divisions could potentially ensnare Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, who was brought before Congress with other Facebook officials to testify about the breaches. People familiar with the investigation told the Post that the officials' testimony was being scrutinized.

The Federal Trade Commission first confirmed that it was investigating Facebook in March.

Acting director Tom Pahl said at the time:

The multiple investigations by U.S. and U.K. agencies into the ways in which Cambridge Analytica accessed and exploited data on social media users in political campaigns have already pushed the political consulting firm into bankruptcy.

Coverage of Cambridge Analytica by The Guardian earlier this year ...

Revealed: Brexit insider claims Vote Leave team may have breached spending limits - March 24, 2018
Vote Leave broke spending limits on industrial scale, says former staffer - April 13, 2018

Vote Leave and BeLeave used identical datasets to target Facebook users

Two Brexit campaign groups under investigation for potential collusion during the EU referendum used identical datasets to target potential adverts at Facebook users.

Vote Leave, the lead campaigner for a Brexit vote, and BeLeave, a campaign group run by an activist named Darren Grimes, used identical data to target audiences, according to a letter from Facebook to the Electoral Commission that raises new questions about potential coordination between the two groups.

Vote Leave spent millions of pounds buying targeted online advertising through AggregateIQ during the referendum campaign, pushing up against its strict £7m spending limit. However, in the closing days of the campaign, Vote Leave donated £625,000 to Grimes, who then also spent the money with AggregateIQ. At that time Grimes was regularly seen volunteering in the Vote Leave office.

...
The new letter was sent from Facebook to the Electoral Commission as part of its ongoing investigation into potential breaches of campaign finance rules and was published by the parliamentary committee investigating fake news.

The DUP's Cambridge Analytica link
Mercer's Attachment to Leave.EU Questioned; Trump's Donor - March 2017

[Key words: Tory Conservatives - Nigel Farage - Brexit - Erik Prince - Steve Bannon - Robert Mercer - Abu Dhabi UAE - Bibi Netanyahu - Israel lobby - GOP Jewish donors - Revenge on Democrats]

Related reading ...

British MPs threaten Mark Zuckerberg with summons over Facebook data | The Guardian - May 1, 2018 |
Brexit Scam: Faulty Exit Poll and Hedge Fund Insiders
NY Times: Collusion Trump Transition Team with UAE/Israel
Cambridge Analytica Used 'Weapons-grade' Communications
Steve Bannon on Cambridge Analytica - SCL Group
Leaked: Cambridge Analytica's blueprint for Trump victory

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< pick teeth, suck vigorously >
I've been idly following this angle since the Senate Judiciary & Commrce Committees Joint Hearing hearing. Several of the senators' lines of questioning about Facebook's business plan have materialized around its dubious "corporate citizen" relations with CA.

For example, in April Senator HATCH reeled in Zuckerberg's 2010 testimony to the Republican High Tech Task Force, which he chairs.

HATCH: In your view what sort of legislative changes would help to solve the sort of problems that the Cambridge Analytica story has revealed? And what sorts of legislative changes would not help to solve this issue?
ZUCKERBERG: Senator, I think that there are a few categories of legislation that make sense to consider. Around privacy, specifically, there are a few principles that I think it would be useful to discuss and potentially to codify into law. One is around having a simple and practical set of ways that you would explain what you were doing with the data.
Zuck jawboned TOS boilerplate  and carved out an exception for bidness "problems" with which the firm was already engaged, evidently.
And the third point is just around enabling innovation, because some of these use cases that are very sensitive like face recognition, for example, and I think that there's a balance that's extremely important to strike here where you obtain special consent for sensitive features like face recognition, but don't, but we still need to make it so that American companies can innovate in those areas or else we're going to fall behind Chinese competitors and others around the world who have different ray-geems for different, new features like that.
With that in mind, perhaps, two months later the US press corpse, lead by NY Yella Cake, stumbles out of the gate with Facebook Gave Data Access to Chinese Firm Flagged by U.S. Intelligence.

Waillll, earnest duplicity might have languished except BLUMENTHAL has also been tailing Facebook.

BLUMENTHAL: Who in Facebook was responsible for seeing those terms of service that put you on notice that information could be sold?
ZUCKERBERG: Senator, our App Review Team would be responsible for that.
BLUMENTHAL: Has anyone been fired on that App Review Team?
ZUCKERBERG: ah, Senator, not because of this.
BLUMENTHAL: Doesn't that term of service conflict with the FTC order that Facebook was under at that very time that this term of service was in fact provided to Facebook? And you'll note the FTC order specifically requires Facebook to protect privacy. Isn't there a conflict there?
ZUCKERBERG: Senator, it certainly appears that we should have been aware that this app developer submitted a term that was in conflict with the rules of the platform.
BLUMENTAL: Well, what happened here was in effect willful blindness. It was heedless and reckless which in fact amounted to a violation of the FTC consent decree. Would you agree?
To date the cockroaches have scattered.
Facebook details data sharing agreements with Amazon, Qualcomm, and AT&T among others
In over 700 pages of responses sent to Congress over the weekend, Facebook acknowledged that it shared user data with 52 hardware and software companies, many of which were previously undisclosed.
[...]
In the document, Facebook said that 38 out of the 52 data integration partnerships had already ended, seven more will be discontinued by the end of the month, and several more will be shut down in October. Three other partnerships will extend past October -- this includes Amazon, Apple, and Tobii, an accessibility app to help those suffering from ALS use Facebook, Amazon, and Apple. Facebook will also continue sharing data with Mozilla, Alibaba, and Opera in order to allow users to receive Facebook notifications in their browsers.

Here's the complete list of partnerships Facebook disclosed on Friday.

So. Here we are with piecemeal means to exercise user data "privacy rights".
JOHNSON: I want to in a very short period of time, you talk about the difference between advertisers and application developers because those, again, you, you said in earlier testimony that advertisers have no access to data whatsoever. But application developers do? Now, is that only through their own service agreements, their customers? Or do they actually access data as a developing app?
ZUCKERBERG: Senator, this is an important distinction so thank you for giving me an opportunity to clarify this. We give people the opportunity to take their data to another app, if they want. Now this is a question that Senator [JOHN] Kennedy asked me just a few minutes ago. The reason why we designed the platform that way is because we thought it would be very useful to make it so that people could easily bring their data to other services. Some people inside the company argued against it at the time because they were worried that, they said,"Hey, we should just make it so that we can be the only ones who develop this" ...
JOHNSON: That's! the user agreeing to allow you to share, where they're using that app, to allow Facebook to share that data. Does the developer ever have access to that prior to users using it. I mean developing the application, because you use the term "scraped" data. What does that mean?
What happens next? Momentous acrimony over "politicization" of US district and circuit courts, I suppose. Because ... Stormy Daniels!

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Wed Jul 4th, 2018 at 02:37:45 PM EST


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