.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Monday, February 18, 2019

Digital Gangsters

A select committee report argues that Facebook deliberately broke privacy and competition law and should urgently be subject to statutory regulation, and denounces the company and its executives as “digital gangsters”.

The Guardian reports that the final report of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee’s 18-month investigation into disinformation and fake news accused Facebook of purposefully obstructing its inquiry and failing to tackle attempts by Russia to manipulate elections.

The report:
It is difficult to argue with Labour's deputy leader, Tom Watson who has called for "new independent regulation with a tough powers and sanctions regime to curb the worst excesses of surveillance capitalism and the forces trying to use technology to subvert our democracy.”

The paper says that the inquiry was turbocharged in March 2918, with the Cambridge Analytica data-harvesting scandal:

The Observer revealed the company had secretly acquired data harvested from millions of Facebook users’ profiles and was selling its insights to political clients to allow them to more effectively manipulate potential voters. The company has since collapsed into administration.

The committee argues that, had Facebook abided by the terms of an agreement struck with US regulators in 2011 to limit developers’ access to user data, the scandal would not have occurred. “The Cambridge Analytica scandal was facilitated by Facebook’s policies,” it concludes.

The 108-page report makes excoriating reading for the social media giant, which is accused of continuing to prioritise shareholders’ profits over users’ privacy rights.

“Facebook continues to choose profit over data security, taking risks in order to prioritise their aim of making money from user data,” the report states, accusing the company of covering up leaks of user data. “It seems clear to us that Facebook acts only when serious breaches become public.”

Zuckerberg is also personally criticised by the committee in scathing terms, with his claim that Facebook has never sold user data dismissed by the report as “simply untrue”.

It is difficult to argue with this conclusion. Regulation beckons, but will the UK Government take the issue seriously, and to what extent are we able to properly regulate an international entity based in a foreign country?
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?