Saturday, 23 March, 2019

Feds Are Investigating Data Deals Facebook Struck With Several Big Tech Firms

Facebook now has a criminal investigation on its hands Facebook now has a criminal investigation on its
Jeannette Daniel | 14 March, 2019, 08:51

The criminal investigation adds to a laundry list of probes since the Cambridge Analytica revelations one year ago placed a spotlight on the company's data and privacy practices.

USA prosecutors are conducting a criminal investigation into data deals Facebook Inc struck with some of the world's largest technology companies, the New York Times reported on Wednesday.

Numerous partnerships ended years ago, the Times noted, but the deals with Amazon and Apple were ongoing at the time of the story.

The social network has been under scrutiny since the revelation in March that consultancy Cambridge Analytica had misused Facebook user data in the run-up to the 2016 USA presidential election.

Facebook has defended the data-sharing deals, first reported in December, saying none of the partnerships gave companies access to information without people's permission. Facebook has said the partnerships were well-publicized at the time, and that it has since shut majority down.

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News of the controversial agreements emerged in June when the Times reported that Facebook had agreed to provide access to large amounts of user data to at least 60 different device makers - including companies like Apple, Microsoft, Samsung and BlackBerry.

Federal prosecutors are investigating data-sharing deals struck between Facebook and makers of mobile computing devices. Last week, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the company would be pivoting to privacy, focusing more on its messaging platforms and enabling more ephemeral features and encrypted chats.

A Facebook spokesperson did not address the New York Times story specifically, but told CNN Business, "It has already been reported that there are ongoing federal investigations, including by the Department of Justice".

Other investigators have already been scrutinizing Facebook regarding other matters, including its relationship with Cambridge Analytic, the political firm that nefariously harvested user data and worked with the Trump campaign.

"We've provided public testimony, answered questions, and pledged that we will continue to do so", Facebook said in a statement.

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