Facebook has been logging data on Android users' calls and texts

Charlene Craig
March 27, 2018

The Federal Trade Commission confirmed in a statement Monday that it is now investigating Facebook data practices as the company faces new scrutiny from the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Then, late last week, reports surfaced that some of Facebook's apps for Android were uploading far more data to the company's servers than users might reasonably expect. "Today, the FTC is confirming that it has an open non-public investigation into these practices".

Tom Pahl, acting director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, said the US probe would include whether the company engaged in "unfair acts" that cause "substantial injury" to consumers.

The chief law enforcement officers for 37 US states and territories are demanding to know when Facebook learned of a huge breach of privacy protections.

"The users we talked to only performed such reviews after the recent revelations about Cambridge Analytica's use of Facebook data".

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The nameplate of political consultancy, Cambridge Analytica, is seen in central London, Britain, March 21, 2018.

"Facebook's failure to protect confidential user information likely violated specific legally binding commitments, but also basic norms and standards", said U.S. Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, a member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee.

Britain has opened an investigation of Cambridge Analytica and seized data from its London headquarters.

"Facebook admitted abuses and excesses in the past and gave assurances that measures since taken mean they can't happen again", she said.

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"Facebook has made promises about users' privacy in the past, and we need to know that users can trust Facebook", they wrote.

Still many users have been surprised by just how much data Facebook has on them, reports Ars Technica.

Facebook said in a statement on Monday that the company remains "strongly committed" to protecting people's information and that it welcomes the opportunity to answer the FTC's questions.

Fewer than half of Americans trust Facebook to obey US privacy laws, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Sunday, while a survey published by Bild am Sonntag, Germany's largest-selling Sunday paper, found 60 percent of Germans fear that Facebook and other social networks are having a negative impact on democracy.

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Zuckerberg did not mention Cambridge Analytica, which was paid $6 million by U.S. President Donald Trump's successful 2016 presidential campaign for the White House to develop voter profiles.

That data was then passed to Cambridge Analytica, the British research firm that has been connected both with the Trump campaign during the 2016 USA elections, and with the Brexit campaign in the UK. He says the hearing also will examine what steps companies like Facebook can do to better protect personal information.

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