Zuckerberg makes case for privacy regs with teeth - by failing to remember non-existent FTC fine

Zuckerberg makes case for privacy regs with teeth - by failing to remember non-existent FTC fine
From TechCrunch - April 11, 2018

Chalk up a sharp political point in support for privacylegislation with actual teeth:In todays testimony in front of theHouse Energy & Commerce committee, FacebookCEO Mark Zuckerbergwas asked about the outcomes of a string of legal actions against the companymost of which he claimed not be aware of.

One which he at last said he could remember was Facebooks2011 FTC consent decreewhen the company settled over deceptive privacy practices byagreeing to make product changes opt-inand pledging to gain express consent from users to any changes going forward.

As part of that decree it also agreed to submit to privacy audits every two years for the next 20 years; bar access to content on deactivated accounts; and avoid misrepresenting the privacy or security of user data.

Butcongresswoman Diana DeGette pressed the Facebook CEO on whether the company paid a financial penalty as a result of the FTC action. A confused looking Zuckerberg finally replied: I dont remember if we had a financial penalty.

Youre the CEO of the company, you entered into a consent decree and you dont remember if you had a financial penalty, she responded, tone set to sarcastic incredulity.

I remember the consent decree, said Zuckerberg hastily. The consent decree is extremely important to how we operate the company.

Yes I would think a financial penalty would be too, interjected DeGette, leaving her point hanging in Zuckerbergs silence.

The reason you probably dont remember it is because the FTC doesnt have the authority to issue financial penalties for first time violations, she picked up. The reason Im asking these questions, sir, is because we continue to have these abuses and these data breaches but at the same time it doesnt seem like future activities are prevented. So I think one of the things that we need to look at in the future is putting really robust penalties in placein case of improper actions.

A little later in the session, congressman Mike Doyle also raised the 20-year FTC consent decree, listing several of the practices it had deemed unfair and deceptivenamely: Facebook making users private information public without sufficient notice or consent; claiming to certify the security and integrity of certain apps when in fact it did not; and enabling developers to access excessive information about a user and their friends.


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