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Facebook asks Parliament to keep quiet on seized internal documents

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Mark Zuckerberg leaves the EU Parliament
Facebook
CEO Mark Zuckerberg leaves the EU Parliament in Brussels on
Tuesday, May 22, 2018.

AP Photo/Geert
Vanden Wijngaert


  • Last week, internal Facebook documents were seized by
    Parliament.
  • The documents allegedly include communications from
    Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and evidence that Facebook
    promoted a loophole exploited by Cambridge Analytica.
  • Facebook asked Parliament to refrain from referencing the
    documents in an upcoming hearing.

In a letter to British MP Damien Collins, Facebook chief of
public policy Richard Allan asked Parliament to put
internal documents that were seized by the body last week off
limits until the matter was addressed by a judge, according to a
copy of the letter shown to Business Insider.

Internal Facebook documents that allegedly include communications
from CEO Mark Zuckerberg and evidence that Facebook actively
promoted the use of a privacy loophole exploited by
Cambridge Analytica were reportedly seized by British Parliament
last week, according to a report from
The Guardian
.

The seizure comes after Zuckerberg
repeatedly refused
to appear before British Parliament to
answer questions raised by the Cambridge Analytica privacy
scandal.

The documents were reportedly produced by Facebook as part of the
legal discovery process in a lawsuit brought against the company
by app maker Six4Three, which is known for an app that allowed
users to find pictures of their Facebook connections in bikinis.
The company alleges Facebook destroyed its business when it
changed its data use policies in 2015 to restrict third-parties
from accessing data of their users’ friends. Six4Three reportedly
alleges that the documents seized by Parliament include
communications from Mark Zuckerberg, along with evidence that
Facebook knowingly created and promoted the privacy loophole that
was eventually used by Cambridge Analytica.

Through their lawsuit, Six4Three has made numerous other
explosive allegations against Facebook, including
the claim
that Facebook accessed and monitored the
microphones of some Android users without their permission; that
Facebook monitors the photo albums of iPhone users without
explicit permission; and that Facebook remotely turned on users’
Bluetooth without their permission to gain access to their
location.

In his letter, Facebook public policy chief Richard Allen denied
Six4Three’s allegations and asked Parliaments to refrain
from using the documents in a hearing Tuesday that Facebook is
slated to appear at.

The court that sealed the documents is due to consider
these latest developments as early as tomorrow. It will be
helpful for all of us to see Six4Three’s explanation and any
directions given by the judge in this case as we consider their
legal status,” wrote Allen. “It may be helpful for us to discuss
this matter again after we have further guidance from the court,”
he continued. 


Damian Collins
British
MP Damian Collins reportedly led the effort to seize the
documents.

3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0)
license from UK Parliament


The documents themselves were seized after an extensive cat and
mouse game between Six4Three, Facebook, and British politicians.

The documents are technically protected by a California court
order for Six4Three not to release them to the public, but after
repeated refusals from Mark Zuckerberg to appear before British
Parliament, MP Damian Collins took an interest in them. He told
The Guardian, “We have followed this court case in America and we
believed these documents contained answers to some of the
questions we have been seeking about the use of data, especially
by external developers.”


Read more:
Facebook won’t say if it will sever ties with Elliot Schrage, the
outgoing top exec who took responsibility for linking critics to
George Soros

According to a CNN report, Collins sent a letter to
Six4Three’s Ted Kramer last Monday requesting the documents
while he was in the UK for business. After learning of the
request, Facebook reportedly notified the California court,
which warned that releasing the documents would be “an act of
contempt.” 

After Collins’ initial request, a Parliamentary officer was
reportedly sent to Kramer’s hotel where he was given a two-hour
deadline. After failing to meet the deadline, Collins was
reportedly escorted to Parliament where he was warned that not
surrendering the documents could result in fines or
imprisonment. 

The document seizure comes ahead of an “international grand
committee” set for Tuesday that will address fake news,
disinformation, and election interference, which Allen is
scheduled to appear at.

 

 

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