US Criminal investigation launched into Facebook’s data deals

US Federal prosecutors are conducting a criminal investigation into data deals Facebook struck with some of the world’s largest technology companies.

“I’ve been working to understand exactly what happened and how to make sure this doesn’t happen again. I started Facebook, and at the end of the day I’m responsible for what happens on our platform. I’m serious about doing what it takes to protect our community.” Mark Zuckerberg apologised for Cambridge Analytica scandal last year. One year later, there is a new controversy surrounding the illicit use of profile information by Facebook.

US Federal prosecutors are looking at deals made between Facebook and more than 150 companies, including Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Sony. The agreements under scrutiny, allowed for the companies to see users’ friends, contact information and other personal data, without requesting consent.

A New York grand jury ordered two companies that entered into partnership with Facebook and gained wide access to the personal information of hundreds of millions of its users, to hand over all documents and records.

Dr Bostjan Makarovic, Aphaia managing partner, comments: “Under the EU GDPR, companies would in most cases not be able to pool their users’ data without consent. It is interesting to see the US authorities reaching similar conclusions absent a clear statutory data protection framework.”

“We are cooperating with investigators and take those probes seriously,” a Facebook spokesman said in a statement. “We’ve provided public testimony, answered questions and pledged that we will continue to do so.”

It is not clear when the case against Facebook started or exactly what it is focusing on but two privacy scandals in less than one year is a big concern and it should result in a thorough investigation to all Facebook activities regarding the processing of personal data.

Do you require assistance with GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018 compliance? Aphaia provides both GDPR adaptation consultancy services, including data protection impact assessments, and Data Protection Officer outsourcing.

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