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Zuckerberg Refuses UK Parliament Summons Over Facebook Data Misuse, Agrees To Testify Before Congress (techcrunch.com) 167

PolygamousRanchKid shares a report from TechCrunch: So much for "We are accountable"; Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has declined a summons from a UK parliamentary committee that's investigating how social media data is being used, and -- as recent revelations suggest misused -- for political ad targeting. The DCMS committee wrote to Zuckerberg on March 20 -- following newspaper reports based on interviews with a former employee of UK political consultancy, Cambridge Analytica, who revealed the company obtained Facebook data on 50 million users -- calling for him to give oral evidence. Facebook's policy staff, Simon Milner, previously told the committee the consultancy did not have Facebook data. In a statement a Facebook spokesperson said it will be offering its CTO or chief product officer to answer questions. Today, CNN reports that Mark Zuckerberg has decided to testify before Congress within a matter of weeks, and Facebook is currently planning the strategy for his testimony. "The Facebook sources believe Zuckerberg's willingness to testify will also put pressure on Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to do the same," reports CNN. "Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley has officially invited all three CEOs to a hearing on data privacy on April 10. That means Washington, not London, will be the stage for the trial of big tech."
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Zuckerberg Refuses UK Parliament Summons Over Facebook Data Misuse, Agrees To Testify Before Congress

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  • I guess he needs to bone up on his company security policy and business model.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 27, 2018 @02:52PM (#56335747)

    The UK is a frightening police state where they imprison people over pet videos.

    • by sabri ( 584428 ) on Tuesday March 27, 2018 @02:58PM (#56335811)

      The UK is a frightening police state where they imprison people over pet videos.

      This. Exactly this. If I were Zuck, I'd stay the hell out of the U.K. as well. FB is an American company, and if every single parliament in the world starts to summon American CEOs, it simply doesn't work.

      Moreover, free speech does not have the same protections in the U.K. as it does in the U.S.

      • Cuts both Ways (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Roger W Moore ( 538166 ) on Tuesday March 27, 2018 @03:09PM (#56335889) Journal

        If I were Zuck, I'd stay the hell out of the U.K. as well. FB is an American company, and if every single parliament in the world starts to summon American CEOs, it simply doesn't work.

        That's fine so long as those American companies "stay the hell out" of other countries too. However, if you are going to do business in those countries and especially if you are potentially involved in a massive violation of their online privacy laws then expect to get summoned by their governments, if not their courts.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Luckyo ( 1726890 )

          That's why they usually spin off daughter companies to handle operations overseas. Want to summon representative of Facebook in UK? Sure. Summon whoever is the head of Dublin headquarters.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Dublin isn't in the UK either.

            • by Luckyo ( 1726890 )

              No, but it's in EU, which is in the same economic zone. The entire point of the single market is that you need only one representative to cover it all, because it's a single market.

            • Until the March 2019, 2019 Brexit date, the UK is still part of the EU http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-pol... [bbc.com] EU privacy laws/regulations are much tougher than US. I could easily see charges being laid in the UK over the Cambridge Analytica fiasco. If I were Mark Zuckerberg, I'd avoid setting foot anywhere in the EU. For that matter, I'd probably stay inside the US until things blow over.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Blymie ( 231220 )

          Imagine if 20 countries decided to summon him. Or 100.

          It's not even a demand of any sort. Just a request.

          It would be silly for him to go to the UK. I think the fact that he sent anyone, was a nice gesture.

          NOTE: I hate facebook, but let's be real here.

          • by zlives ( 2009072 )

            don't do the crime, if you can't do the time.

          • Re:Cuts both Ways (Score:5, Insightful)

            by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojoNO@SPAMworld3.net> on Tuesday March 27, 2018 @05:49PM (#56337175) Homepage Journal

            It would show he was serious about dealing with this issue.

            No going tells us that he is just waiting for the news cycle to move on and blow over. Facebook won't change, it's not sorry, it doesn't even think it did anything wrong. The only problem is that they got caught.

            In fact, he probably views it as free advertising. Look how great this data is, look what you can do with it.

          • What else has he got to do?
          • Imagine if 20 countries decided to summon him. Or 100.

            That's just the point though - I would have to imagine that because it has not actually happened! If it did and his response was "sorry but I have been summoned by 100 other countries so I cannot appear" I would fully expect that parliament would have some sympathy in the same way that a judge is unlikely to penalize a witness from failing to follow a subpoena because they have been subpoenaed to appear in another court for a different case.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by sabri ( 584428 )

          However, if you are going to do business in those countries and especially if you are potentially involved in a massive violation of their online privacy laws then expect to get summoned by their governments, if not their courts.

          If I operate an American registered website on an American hosted server paid for by an American registered corporate entity, and some user in some shithole country like the U.K. registers and providers their personal data, that foreign court has exactly 0 jurisdiction.

          If that American registered corporate entity opens up a foreign subsidiary which sells ads on the American based website, that foreign court still has exactly 0 jurisdiction when it comes to the operations of that platform. That foreign cou

          • by e3m4n ( 947977 )

            not entirely accurate. I ran across similar jurisdictional issues a decade ago dealing with servers for online gambling sites. The Attorney General in many states had absolute control of whether their residents could participate in the online gambling sites, regardless of where the servers are located, or where the company was incorporated. If the website allowed a user of lets say Oklahoma, to use their credit card, registered to an Oklahoma address, as payments for online gambling, they would find themsel

            • by sabri ( 584428 )

              I ran across similar jurisdictional issues a decade ago dealing with servers for online gambling sites. The Attorney General in many states had absolute control of whether their residents could participate in the online gambling sites, regardless of where the servers are located, or where the company was incorporated.

              This is a very different story. You are talking about different jurisdiction with the same country. I'm talking about different jurisdictions in different countries.

              If you have an arrest warrant in California, you will be arrested during a traffic stop in Florida.

              If you have an arrest warrant in Florida, you will not be arrested during a traffic stop in the U.K. (well, unless it is an Interpol warrant).

              The same Attorney General, will have virtually no jurisdiction to take down a gambling server in an

          • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

            It was a foreign corporation doing it to American citizens via an American corporation, in what seems a very criminal fashion. At the least the UK has to go through the motion, especially as it seems that same corporations played with Brexit, using the services of that American corporation. Now the real problem is that whole Russiagate yarn, which has set a legal precedent, it has gone through court yet, so not really set, but it is pretty close ie it is illegal to be a paid Troll, pretending to be someone

          • If I operate an American registered website on an American hosted server paid for by an American registered corporate entity, and some user in some shithole country like the U.K. registers and providers their personal data, that foreign court has exactly 0 jurisdiction.

            What a refreshing perspective from an American. Have you tried sharing this perspective with your own government which is currently trying to argue that Microsoft should be forced to turn over personal data its subsidiary holds in the EU in violation of EU law? Indeed if it were the case that UK users were using an entirely US-based service provided by a US-based company then you would have a point but that is absolutely not the case.

            Facebook has data centres all over the world, not just the US, it deli

            • by sabri ( 584428 )

              What a refreshing perspective from an American.

              I'm not an American. I'm European.

              Indeed if it were the case that UK users were using an entirely US-based service provided by a US-based company then you would have a point

              Good, we agree on that.

              Facebook has data centres all over the world, not just the US,

              Correct, but irrelevant. The only reason to have data centers all over the world is to speed things up for the end user. It only takes one business decision and a few days to move all that data to the U.S. The only effect will be that the latency will increase, and with that the user experience will slightly decrease.

              it deliberately targets it services to people in the UK and signs UK-based advertizing contracts to allow UK companies to gain access to UK-based users. It derives a significant amount of its revenue from UK-based operations

              Agreed.

              and hence, since it is conducting business there it should clearly be subject to UK laws in the same way that a UK-based business conducting business in the US would be subject to US-based laws.

              How does Facebook get its revenue? It gets revenue through the sales of ads. Those ads are bought by UK advertisers, who are resp

        • Re:Cuts both Ways (Score:5, Interesting)

          by tomxor ( 2379126 ) on Tuesday March 27, 2018 @04:31PM (#56336533)

          If I were Zuck, I'd stay the hell out of the U.K. as well. FB is an American company, and if every single parliament in the world starts to summon American CEOs, it simply doesn't work.

          Except the most significant leaks in question occurred in the UK with a UK company and resulting in clear manipulation of the most significant UK referendum of the century not to mention the last US election... I'd not be surprised if the US government forced Zuckerburg to go to the UK since the whole affair is deeply tied to both countries.

        • What if Facebook doesn't technically "do business" in the UK? Suppose they don't sell adverts to the UK, but still allow UK users to log in and post for free? Is that still "doing business"?
          • by Trongy ( 64652 )

            Facebook will not willingly let go of that ~$2.5B advertising revenue it takes in the UK.

            In an somewhat analogous case, Valve claimed that they are not "doing business" in Australia and therefore did not have to offer refunds in compliance with the Australian Consumer Law. They sell games to Australian consumers from their US website Steam in US dollars. They lost that case and they recently lost their appeal. They are now seeking to appeal to the High Court of Australia [kotaku.com.au].

      • by poet ( 8021 )

        Nothing much to say but +1

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 27, 2018 @03:13PM (#56335935)

        Kind of like how America extradites CEOs of non-American companies to the US to face 'justice' in the American court system?

        Be very careful with that glass house you're throwing rocks from.

      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Nobody has been imprisoned in the UK over a pet video. Please stop spreading this particular fake news meme.

        (In the first place, it's Scotland - completely different legal system. In the second place, he hasn't been imprisoned.)

        • by Cederic ( 9623 )

          erm. Scotland is in the UK, so its legal system is indeed a UK legal system.

          Unless you're suggesting that the legal system of England and Wales is also the UK one? That'll upset our Celtic friends.

    • Besides, he doesn't speak their languages...
    • UK and Germany. Look at the Pokemon el-Catalonia.

    • by Subm ( 79417 )

      He can stay at the Ecuadorian embassy.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    • How is this different from pretty much all other groups of government bureaucrats world wide?

      Certainly the USA has more than it's share of idiots who think they are the smartest folks in the room because they won an election or two. I'm sure the fine people of the UK have the same issue.

      • by e3m4n ( 947977 )

        unfortunately we have WAY MORE than our fair share. We still have idiots that think by winning a slim majority in the House they have a snowballs chance in hell of removing a sitting president. They obviously have not bothered to read the constitution after they won an election. Or at the very least, read the articles of impeachment to learn how the process works. You have an easier time overcoming a fillabuster than a conviction in an impeachment trial, and look how much stalemate-shit fillabusters caused,

  • And I guess if would be the UKs prerogative to ban his site in the UK
    • ...or worse (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Roger W Moore ( 538166 ) on Tuesday March 27, 2018 @03:17PM (#56335985) Journal
      They can do a lot more than just ban his site. Really annoying an entire government is a dangerous thing to do given that they literally make the rules and the UK has no written constitution to constrain it: it's a parliamentary dictatorship.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        I thought we were an autonomous collective?

        • by e3m4n ( 947977 )

          You're fooling yourself. We're livin' in a dictatorship, a self-perpetuating autocracy, in which the working class--

      • It's a parliamentary committee, which is not the government, any more than a Congressional commitee is the President.
      • You do realise that the term "unwritten constitution" with regard to the UK refers specifically to the fact that there is no single document, right? Not that we don't have *any* constitution limiting the powers of Parliament and the sitting government.

        We do have a constitution, its just one that is formed from many Acts of Parliament, judicial rulings and other sources - and many of its principles date back to the Magna Carta...

  • by IGnatius T Foobar ( 4328 ) on Tuesday March 27, 2018 @02:55PM (#56335777) Homepage Journal
    Why would Zuckerberg comply with anything other than armed officers escorting him out of the building? The entire service was built on dishonesty. Stolen from another student, built to keep tabs on coeds they wanted to bang, and slurping and exploiting data on the other two billion people who have signed up since then. Facebook is toxic. Facebook is a cancer on the Internet. Facebook brings out the worst in people. Facebook breaks every privacy law a million times every day. The Internet needs to rid itself of Facebook.
    • The Zuck is complying where he has to , but more importantly why should he accommodate the non-binding asks of foreign governments?

      • by Luthair ( 847766 ) on Tuesday March 27, 2018 @03:22PM (#56336029)
        He's CEO of a company that does business in the UK, no different than being summed by the US government.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          Except one is HIS government and the other is NOT.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            Maybe the next time he incorporates in another country to avoid paying USA tax dollars he should remember that he forgot to PAY for those protections.

        • He's the CEO of a US based company that does business in the UK. It is quite different than being summoned by the US government.

          • by Luthair ( 847766 )
            Not if Facebook wants to do business in that country. For example, companies that do business in the USA but aren't headquartered there are still subject to US embargoes.
            • Not if Facebook wants to do business in that country.

              That depends. This was a request to attend. It has no legal weight. There's no reason for a foreign CEO to attend either. The UK has very little political capital around the world right now. Let's see how embargoing a foreign company because their CEO didn't want to come in for a non-legally binding chat goes shall we?

    • by e3m4n ( 947977 )

      I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit.

      its the only way to be sure.

    • Meh. Why so mad at Facebook and Zuckerberg? Anyone who bothers to think about Facebook with more than 3 neurons firing effectively will see it for what it is. First- kudos to Zuckerberg for leading the development of BY FAR the most successful socializing service on the internet. We're called "social animals" for a reason. Facebook is extremely effective at meeting a deep-seated human need for connection. Second - it doesn't charge users, so it's got to make money some other way. Companies don't run on air,
    • by spire3661 ( 1038968 ) on Tuesday March 27, 2018 @04:48PM (#56336661) Journal
      I dont think you understand the UK on this. They were not 'requesting', its an order couched in nice language. This move is going to cost him a LOT of political capital to fix. You dont refuse a 'request' from Parliament.
      • You dont refuse a 'request' from Parliament.

        Right now the government has far bigger problems in the UK. From the horrible clusterfuck that is Brexit, to constant internal bickering, to outing someone as gay just because they disagreed with them for political reasons, the UK parliament itself is in too much of a disarray to do anything meaningful right now.

        Political capital? I will wager this will all be forgotten within a month or two.

  • They are American companies; why would they choose London over Washington D.C.? In theory, I'm assuming DC has more leverage anyway since anything London can do can probably ignored?

    • by e3m4n ( 947977 ) on Tuesday March 27, 2018 @03:17PM (#56335973)

      not entirely. Google kow-tows to China all the time. Remember google, the anti-censorship company from about 8yrs ago? Slowly but surely they let China boss them around and no longer allow chinese IP addresses to discover information the PRC has declared 'subversive'. Facebook doesn't have to appear, but then again the UK could simply ban all FB Access and impose sanctions on FB assets if they try to subvert the embargo. As far as FB being an american company, I honestly dont know about this. Too many times I learn that, what I assumed as an American company, paid Zero tax dollars in the USA because they incorporated all their crap into Ireland (General Electric, Amazon, etc).

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It's all fuckin theater anyways. The Zuck is just going through the motions out of sake of political formalities. Fuck-ALL is going to happen to him. His sock is "to big to fail" and will be treated like BitCoin; purely speculative. He will jizz all over the world, and be REWARDED for it. Because, what exactly, are YOU going to do about it? He's right, you're all a bunch of fucking idiots. The difference being, he's at least being honest about spitting in your face.

      Now lick it off!

    • by jd ( 1658 )

      Well, annoying Britain means a likely complaint to the data protection people in Europe, which means a potential billion dollar fine from the EU or a permanent ban across the entire continent. The EU takes data protection seriously (unlike America) but won't generally take action unless a nation state complains. Until Britain leaves, it's a nation state the EU would take seriously.

      • by Cederic ( 9623 )

        Until Britain leaves, it's a nation state the EU would take seriously.

        Even then - G8 member, UN security council permanent member, one of the leads of NATO, head of the Commonwealth and currently demonstrating its diplomatic power through the response to a nerve agent attack.

  • I like it!
  • Yeah, because the best country to set the stage for data privacy should be the one country it actually enabled hiding the fact it in the first place. And you're surprised Russia, China or even Germany or the UK have issues with data stored in the US. Did anybody say IRIS?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    No wonder he decided this:
    - US Congress: Dance around Russian bullshit and let it blow over
    - UK Parliament: Talk about privacy, a very hostile subject for FB

    Well, he's still young. People forget quickly.

  • Not "Big Tech" (Score:4, Interesting)

    by NicknameUnavailable ( 4134147 ) on Tuesday March 27, 2018 @03:16PM (#56335969)
    These are data miners, not technologists. They provide little to no net benefit to society, they simply trick idiots into handing them information so they can sell it off to marketing and PR parasites.
  • You know, it's a corporation thing... The shareholders made me do it.

  • Photo op for politicians. No laws were broken, at least no one has cited one law that was broken. All that has been implied is that data was mis-used, which is also incorrect. Data was mined and used. Just like Obama did in 2012.

    You may hate the weasel but all he has done is what Facebook has stated they would do, sell your information for profit.

    Until you change the laws around that, nothing will change.
    • by TechyImmigrant ( 175943 ) on Tuesday March 27, 2018 @04:18PM (#56336423) Homepage Journal

      Photo op for politicians. No laws were broken, at least no one has cited one law that was broken. .

      https://www.gov.uk/data-protec... [www.gov.uk]

      The UK Data Protection Act. 1998.
      That's the law that was broken.

      • Considering the bru-ha-ha that MS and Google have been getting over email storage... I'm hoping Facebook gets raked over the coals throughout Europe.

        Facebook can be useful for connecting with long-lost friends and family (those of us that care to, anyway). However the pros definitely DO NOT outweigh the cons of all the targeted advertising, minute details of a person's life being sold to whatever data mining - or identity theft - group. FB doesn't care *who* has the data, just that they were paid for it - a

    • by jd ( 1658 )

      Data Protection Act, both the British and European versions.

  • Zuckerberg is a cartoonish villain. But he's an American. Let him testify to Congress. Good for him.

    But yeah, time for some antitrust action on FB & duh Goog.

  • >>599607
    Q

    are we going to have more freedom of speech on "private" public speech services or not?

    please answer this question

    >>599614
    100%
    Regulated.
    Some platforms will collapse under their own weight of illegal activities.
    Q

    March 9th, 2018, 6:20 EST

  • Facebook [and other companies] have been using a variety of loopholes to smuggle profits out of the UK for years.

    If Zuckerberg thinks he can thumb his nose at the UK government and get away with it, he might be in for a very rude awakening. Governments like the UK seem to "turn a blind eye" to multinational companies that off-shore profits, as long as they do so when employing a reasonable number of UK nationals on UK soil - i.e. to provide a reasonable amount of local employment in return.

    But that's
  • The UK police state wants it cake and eats it too? Why the hell should he? Are they going to shut down FB over it? And really, why do you need the CEO to testify...he likely doesn't have all of the technical details.

    I don't like this situation any more than anyone in the UK, but I'm not feeling very generous toward them allowing a UK citizen a free pass on hacking into American systems with no consequences. Sure, don't send them, but what's to stop other UK citizens from doing the same now?

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