Facebook Requests Government not Reveal Seized Documents
Facebook’s chief of public policy has asked parliament to refrain from exposing information contained in documents seized last week.
Last week, internal documents belonging to the social media giant were seized by British authorities that point toward Mark Zuckerberg’s knowledge of a loophole exploited by Cambridge Analytica.
In a letter to Damian Collins MP, an outspoken figure throughout the Cambridge Analytica saga, Facebook’s chief of public policy, Richard Allan, requested that the documents be placed off-limits until after a scheduled hearing.
In a report by the Guardian last week, the seized documents allegedly show communications from Zuckerberg, as well as evidence that Facebook knew of Cambridge Analytica’s use of a privacy loophole.
The documents in question are reported to have been compiled by Facebook as part of a lawsuit filed by app developer, Six4Three. The developer in question alleges that Facebook also promoted the privacy loophole used by the data analytics firm, and has made a number of staggering allegations against the company.
Some of the allegations include claims that Facebook accessed and monitored the microphones of Android users without consent and that it accessed location data by remotely activating users’ Bluetooth.
Additionally, the company claims Facebook also monitors the photo albums of iPhone users without permission.
In his letter to Damian Collins, Allan denied the allegations made by Six4Three and has requested the information not be presented during a hearing scheduled for Tuesday.
“The court that sealed the documents is due to consider these latest developments as early as tomorrow,” he wrote. “It will be helpful for all of use to see Six4Three’s explanation and any directions given by the judge in this case as we consider their legal status. It may be helpful for us to discuss this matter again after we have further guidance from the court.”
The documents are protected by a California court order stating that Six4Three cannot release them to the public. However, Collins is reported to have taken an interest in the documents following repeated refusals by Zuckerberg to appear before the UK Parliament.
Collins 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.”
While visiting the UK, Six4Three’s Ted Kramer was contacted by Collins in order to secure the documents. In response to this, Facebook appears to have notified California courts, which then warned against their release.
In an unusual move by UK authorities, the House of Commons serjeant-at-arms was dispatched to Kramer’s hotel and he was given a two-hour deadline to hand over the documents.
When he failed to do so, Kramer was escorted to Parliament and warned he risked fines and imprisonment if the cache was not surrendered.