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Consumer Watchdog Calls on Congress to Act to Regulate Facebook and Protect Online Privacy

Wed, 04/11/2018 - 11:48

Not Merely Act as Enabler for CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s PR-Driven Apology Tour


Zuckerberg Congress

LOS ANGELES – Consumer Watchdog today called on Congress to enact legislation that would protect consumers’ online privacy and not merely facilitate Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s latest public-relations-driven apology tour.

“Facebook has a longtime record of violating privacy, making a show of apologizing, and then going forward to invade privacy again,” said John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy and Technology Project director. “Hearings aren’t enough, unless Congress simply wants to be an enabler for Zuckerberg’s continued abuses.”

Consumer Watchdog said that S. 2639, the Customer Online Notification for Stopping Edge-provider Network Transgressions (CONSENT) Act, introduced Tuesday by Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), could be a vehicle for necessary action to protect consumer privacy.

Read a copy of the bill here: https://www.markey.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/CONSENT%20Act%20text.pdf

"Congress cannot trust Zuckerberg to take action in the interest of the American people on his own. The past fourteen years have proven this,” said Simpson. “It’s past time for Congress to enact legislation that will ensure that Facebook and other tech giants can no longer continue to invade our privacy."

Consumer Watchdog also said that Facebook, which is obligated to obey the new General Data Protection Regulation in Europe when it goes into effect in May, should honor all those same protections in the United States.

Consumer Watchdog said Facebook’s latest privacy breach clearly violates its 2011 consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC is investigating, Consumer Watchdog noted and said that Facebook should be fined.

"Will we simply accept Zuckerberg’s apologies again after Facebook’s next privacy violation, as we have been doing for the past fourteen years? Congress needs to impose financial costs on technology companies responsible for consumers’ privacy rights violations," said Sahiba Sindhu, a consumer advocate with the nonprofit nonpartisan public interest group.

Markey and Blumenthal’s CONSENT Act would:

• Require edge providers – like Facebook and Google – to obtain opt-in consent from users to use, share, or sell users’ personal information.
• Require edge providers to develop reasonable data security practices.
• Require edge providers to notify users about all collection, use, and sharing of users’ personal information.
• Require edge providers to notify users in the event of a data breach.
• Give enforcement authority to the Federal Trade Commission.

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