by 👩💻 Stephanie Boyd
Facebook has, of course, had a fairly dramatic year. A scandal erupted in early 2018 when it emerged that the social network had been willingly sharing data of many of its users with political consultancy Cambridge Analytica, whom has since faded out of existence – though Mark Zuckerberg and his brand have continued to court users and have brought in a number of privacy measures and security features in light of the controversy. However, as news over the weekend demonstrates, it appears that there are still more than a few parties interested in probing into quite what happened behind the scenes.
According to ITV News, British Parliament has been able to flex its legal muscles to obtain a series of internal documentation pertaining to Facebook’s privacy controls and associated policies. The Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, otherwise known as the DCMS, has been keen to look deeper into the Cambridge Analytica story as soon as it hit headlines. Zuckerberg himself did not attend Parliament to give evidence despite requests having been made through official channels – so it therefore appears the DCMS has taken matters into their own hands.
The DCMS intercepted the boss of a US firm who was confirmed to have possession of a cache of information of interest to the committee. In a dramatic move, the committee urged the officer in charge of the data to comply with Parliament request, or else face imprisonment.
UK Parliament Seizes Internal Facebook Documents [video]
It’s been reported that the firm involved is currently embroiled in legal affairs with Facebook on home soil, which goes some way to explaining why they came to be in possession of such sensitive data. Damian Collins, chairman for the DCMS, confirmed that such action was necessary in order for certain questions to be answered.
“We are in uncharted territory,” Collins confirmed. “This is an unprecedented move but it’s an unprecedented situation. We’ve failed to get answers from Facebook and we believe the documents contain information of very high public interest.”
“It has not answered our questions about who knew what (and) when with regards to the Cambridge Analytica scandal.” Collins is therefore hopeful that this rare Parliamentary move may offer public users answers they deserve. “We have followed this court case in America and we believed these documents contained answers to some of the questions we have been seeking about the use of data, especially by external developers.”
Facebook Asks British Parliament Not To Bring Up Documents At Hearing [video]