Facebook critics want regulation, investigation after data misuse

Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. (REUTERS)
Updated 19 March 2018
0

Facebook critics want regulation, investigation after data misuse

SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook Inc. faced new calls for regulation from within US Congress and was hit with questions about personal data safeguards on Saturday after reports a political consultant gained inappropriate access to 50 million users’ data starting in 2014.
Facebook disclosed the issue in a blog post on Friday, hours before media reports that conservative-leaning Cambridge Analytica, a data company known for its work on Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, was given access to the data and may not have deleted it.
The scrutiny presented a new threat to Facebook’s reputation, which was already under attack over Russians’ alleged use of Facebook tools to sway American voters before and after the 2016 US elections.
“It’s clear these platforms can’t police themselves,” Democratic US Senator Amy Klobuchar tweeted.
“They say ‘trust us.’ Mark Zuckerberg needs to testify before Senate Judiciary,” she added, referring to Facebook’s CEO and a committee she sits on.
Facebook said the root of the problem was that researchers and Cambridge Analytica lied to it and abused its policies, but critics on Saturday threw blame at Facebook as well, demanding answers on behalf of users and calling for new regulation.
Facebook insisted the data was misused but not stolen, because users gave permission, sparking a debate about what constitutes a hack that must be disclosed to customers.
“The lid is being opened on the black box of Facebook’s data practices, and the picture is not pretty,” said Frank Pasquale, a University of Maryland law professor who has written about Silicon Valley’s use of data.
Pasquale said Facebook’s response that data had not technically been stolen seemed to obfuscate the central issue that data was apparently used in a way contrary to the expectations of users.
“It amazes me that they are trying to make this about nomenclature. I guess that’s all they have left,” he said.


Police release men arrested over killing of Northern Ireland journalist

Journalist Lyra McKee poses for a portrait outside the Sunflower Pub on Union Street in Belfast, Northern Ireland May 19, 2017. (REUTERS)
Updated 41 min 15 sec ago
0

Police release men arrested over killing of Northern Ireland journalist

  • McKee, 29, was shot in the head late Thursday by, police believe, dissident republicans linked to the New IRA paramilitary group as they clashed with police in Northern Ireland’s second city

LONDON: Police in Northern Ireland said they had released without charge two young men arrested in the investigation into the death of journalist Lyra McKee who was shot dead during riots in Londonderry.
The pair, aged 18 and 19, had been arrested under anti-terror laws and taken to Belfast for questioning.
Announcing their release, the Police Service of Northern Ireland made a fresh appeal for witnesses who saw what happened on Thursday night to come forward.
“I know there will be some people who know what happened but are scared to come forward but if you have information, no matter how small, please contact detectives,” Detective Superintendent Jason Murphy said in a statement.
McKee, 29, was shot in the head late Thursday by, police believe, dissident republicans linked to the New IRA paramilitary group as they clashed with police in Northern Ireland’s second city, also known as Derry.
The New IRA is a republican paramilitary group opposed to the shift toward non-violent tactics to bring about a united Ireland.
The 1998 Good Friday peace deal largely brought an end to three decades of sectarian bloodshed in Northern Ireland between republican and unionist paramilitaries, as well as British armed forces, in a period known as “the Troubles.”
There have been concerns that paramilitaries could be seeking to exploit the current political turbulence over Northern Ireland and its border with the Republic of Ireland caused by Brexit.