2018 has been a difficult year for Facebook. 2019 promises to be little better. Several federal prosecutors have opened an investigation into agreements between the social network and some of its partners, including Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Sony, according to the New York Times , which cites two sources close to the matter. A grand jury [in american law, it is an institution of a tribunal of inquiry to investigate crimes, ED] federal in New York would thus be convened at least two manufacturers of connected objects, which have benefited from these agreements, to come to testify on the subject. The name of the companies involved is not known.
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the origin of this investigation, data-sharing agreements, first revealed in the american press in June 2018. At least 150 companies, including very big names in the industry of new technologies, have enjoyed a right of access to personal information of users-far more than other companies. The type of data varied according to the needs. It could be the name of the friends of a user, events in which he participated, or even of his political opinions. Sometimes, this operation was done without the explicit consent of internet users. The majority of these partnerships have not been pursued since. At the time, Facebook had argued that the consent of its users was collected, and that its partners were chosen carefully for their compliance with the operating conditions of the data.
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Interviewed by the New York Times , Facebook has confirmed the existence of the procedure, and that it "cooperated with investigators". "We take this investigation very seriously," added a spokesman. In the United States, federal prosecutors represent the federal government. This procedure is in addition to other investigations in which Facebook is already the subject at different levels. The FTC (Federal Trade Commission, which watches over the rights of consumers in the United States) leads already for several months an investigation into the relationship between Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, a uk company analysis of data accused of stealing information from users for the benefit of the campaign of Donald Trump, with the help of fake personality tests. In this context, the social network may have violated a decree signed in 2011 with the FTC. The latter is committed to comply with the users consent, asking permission every time they share their data with other entities. Facebook risks a fine of several billion dollars. The SEC (the policeman of the stock Exchange), the FBI and the u.s. Department of justice would also be in the process of investigating the company of Mark Zuckerberg and his business practices.
beyond the case of Cambridge Analytica, which the first revelations date back to almost a year, it is the entire economic model of Facebook and its economic power, that concern now. Elizabeth Warren, candidate for the nomination and a democrat in the u.s. election of 2020, the dismantling of the giants of the Web (Facebook, Google, Amazon, etc) one of his campaign themes. Other elected officials, democrats and republicans, are also calling for a greater federal control of these huge corporations, the power is now considered to be disproportionate.Updated Date: 16 March 2019, 00:00