March 27, 2018

Facebook Under Investigation for the Lesser Data Breach

The FTC is probing the Trump data fiasco, while the FEC should be looking at Obama’s abuse.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) confirmed Monday that it’s finally investigating Facebook for allowing the data of 190 million people to be scooped up by Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign.

Just kidding. The FTC is investigating how the data of a quarter that many people ended up in the hands of a consulting firm that did work for Donald Trump’s campaign. According to The Hill, “Tom Pahl, the acting FTC bureau chief for consumer protection, said in a statement that the agency would be investigating whether the incident constituted a violation of a 2011 agreement that Facebook signed to settle charges over other privacy concerns.” Last we checked, the 2012 campaign came after the 2011 agreement, and Facebook was more complicit in Obama’s data mining than in the operation of Cambridge Analytica, the firm Trump used.

Meanwhile, there are reports that Facebook scraped call and text message data from Android phones for years. Google has some answering to do for that breach, too. So, again, this just in: Tech giants collect data on users because users are the product.

There are congressional calls for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify after his lame apology last week for the data kerfuffle. Zuckerberg even offered that he’s open to some regulation of social media to protect user data. That would explain Facebook’s hiring spree for Washington lobbyists.

Facebook shouldn’t be worried only about the FTC but also about the Federal Election Commission (FEC). As Hans von Spakovsky, who has served on the FEC, writes, “Under a Federal Election Commission regulation, giving a mailing list or something similar to a campaign is considered an ‘in-kind contribution.’ So if Facebook gave the Obama campaign free access to this type of data when it normally does not do so for other entities — or usually charges for such access — then Facebook would appear to have violated the federal ban on in-kind contributions by a corporation. And the Obama campaign may have violated the law by accepting such a corporate contribution.” The Trump campaign paid for the data it obtained. It isn’t clear that Obama’s campaign did. Von Spakovsky wants the FEC and perhaps the Justice Department to investigate.

So while the Leftmedia focuses on making Facebook the scapegoat for Hillary Clinton’s defeat, blaming Trump for the data fiasco, the greater legal violation certainly seems to belong to Obama. Surprise!

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