Facebook Accused On More Privacy Violations, Investigations Underway

In light of a new report accusing Facebook of spying on consumers’ most sensitive information, lawmakers are calling for new investigations into the company.

Leading the charge, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Friday he was directing state agencies to investigate what he called “the invasion of consumer privacy.”

“I also call on relevant federal regulators to step up and help us put an end to this practice and protect the rights of consumers,” Cuomo stated.

Published by The Wall Street Journal on Friday, the report in question found Facebook gathers sensitive information that consumers share with apps -- even when consumers are not logged into the social network.

This is possible because many apps send data use Facebook’s software-development kit (SDK), which offers an analytics service among other features.

The information that Facebook was never intended to see ranges from people’s blood pressure to their menstrual cycles, WSJ reports.

“This practice, which in some cases clearly violates Facebook’s own business terms, is an outrageous abuse of privacy,” Cuomo accused. In response, Facebook said the sharing of such information was a common industry practice.

“Sharing information across apps on your iPhone or Android device is how mobile advertising works,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement.

This is just the latest privacy scandal to hit Facebook.

Already this week, two Senate Democrats requested the Federal Trade Commission review claims that Facebook mislead minors into using their parents’ credit cards to make purchases in games.

Earlier this week, U.K. policymakers accused Facebook of blatantly misleading them.

In a report released on Monday, the UK Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee concludes that Facebook “intentionally and knowingly violated both data privacy and anti-competition laws.”

Among other sins, Facebook ignored users’ privacy settings in order to transfer data to app developers, the committee claims, citing evidence obtained from court documents.

“Companies like Facebook should not be allowed to behave like ‘digital gangsters’ in the online world, considering themselves to be ahead of and beyond the law,” the committee wrote.
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