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FTC、SEC和FBI三方联手审查Facebook“数据门”

据《华盛顿邮报》周一发布的报道称,联邦调查局(FBI)、联邦贸易委员会(FTC)和证券交易委员会(SEC)已与司法部一道,审查了7100万美国人的个人信息是如何通过Facebook发布并被剑桥分析公司所使用的。

据报道,此次调查的重点一直放在Facebook与剑桥分析公司所分享信息的内容上,以及这些泄露是否与政府调查人员正在制定的时间表相关。对Facebook而言,它们担心的是政府可能会裁定该公司没有向投资者或公众充分披露用户数据错误分配的程度。另一个令人担忧的问题是剑桥分析的决定是否违反了Facebook与联邦贸易委员会先前达成的和解协议的条款。

如此多的部门同时进行调查工作,可能会让Facebook首席执行官Mark Zuckerberg深陷困兽之境,他曾与Facebook其他高管一起参与了国会作证。知情人士表示,这些高管的证词正在接受审查。

Facebook在一份声明中指出,它收到了来自不同机构的调查问讯,这些机构很显然正在进行合作。

联邦贸易委员会于3月份首次证实,它正在调查Facebook。

调查行动主管Tom Pahl当时说:

联邦贸易委员会坚定而全面地致力于使用其所有工具来保护消费者的隐私。这些工具中最重要的是对不履行隐私承诺(包括遵守隐私保护法律)或违反《联邦贸易委员会法》,从而对消费者造成重大伤害的不公平行为公司采取强制行动。先前曾与FTC行动达成和解的公司还必须遵守FTC法规中规定的隐私和数据安全要求。所以,FTC非常严肃地对待最近的媒体报道,这些报道对Facebook的隐私做法提出了严重关切。今天,联邦贸易委员会证实,它对这些做法进行了开放的非公开调查。

美国和英国机构对剑桥分析公司在政治竞选中获取和利用社交媒体用户数据的方式进行了多次调查,结果导致了这家政治咨询公司的破产。

不过,Facebook不太可能遭受同样的命运,该公司股价已经从丑闻对市值造成的负面影响中恢复过来。而这些挥之不去的调查显示,政府监管机构和立法者有可能介入该公司的运营。

这就是华盛顿的套路,它总是掩盖事实,而不是揭发犯罪。

An alphabet soup of federal agencies are now poring over Facebook’s  disclosures and the company’s statements about its response to the improper use of its user information by the political consultancy Cambridge Analytica.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation,  the Federal Trade Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission have joined the Justice Department in examining how the personal information of 71 million Americans was distributed by Facebook and used by Cambridge Analytica,  according to a Washington Post report released Monday.

According to the Post, the emphasis of the investigation has been on what Facebook disclosed about its information sharing with Cambridge Analytica and whether those disclosures correlate to the timeline that’s being established by government investigators. The fear, for Facebook, is that the government may decide that the company didn’t reveal enough to either investors or the public about the extent of the misallocation of user data. Another concern is whether the Cambridge Analytica decision violated the terms of an earlier settlement Facebook made with the Federal Trade Commission.

The redoubled efforts of so many divisions could potentially ensnare Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, who was brought before Congress with other Facebook officials to testify about the breaches. People familiar with the investigation told the Post that the officials’ testimony was being scrutinized.

In a statement, Facebook noted it had received questions from different agencies and that it was cooperating.

The Federal Trade Commission  first confirmed that it was investigating Facebook in March.

Acting director Tom Pahl said at the time:

The FTC is firmly and fully committed to using all of its tools to protect the privacy of consumers. Foremost among these tools is enforcement action against companies that fail to honor their privacy promises, including to comply with Privacy Shield, or that engage in unfair acts that cause substantial injury to consumers in violation of the FTC Act. Companies who have settled previous FTC actions must also comply with FTC order provisions imposing privacy and data security requirements. Accordingly, the FTC takes very seriously recent press reports raising substantial concerns about the privacy practices of Facebook. Today, the FTC is confirming that it has an open non-public investigation into these practices.

The multiple investigations by U.S. and U.K. agencies into the ways in which Cambridge Analytica accessed and exploited data on social media users in political campaigns have already pushed the political consulting firm into bankruptcy.

It’s unlikely (read impossible) that Facebook would suffer anything like the same fate, and the company’s stock price has already recovered from whatever negative impact the scandal wrought on the social network’s market capitalization. Rather, the lingering investigations show the potential for government regulators (and lawmakers) to involve themselves in the company’s operations.

As with everything else in Washington, it’s always the cover up — never the crime.


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