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UK to order Facebook, Google to redo data policies: Report

The UK government will direct Facebook Inc, Alphabet Inc’s Google, Twitter Inc and other tech companies to simplify their data management policies for consumers after disclosures about recent breaches, the Sunday Times reported.

Matt Hancock, the UK digital, culture and media secretary, told the newspaper that the digital powerhouses were failing to provide users with clear and concise terms and conditions for how personal data is used. His goal is to get the information onto one page.
Facebook’s service agreement has more than 3,700 words and Twitter has 11,000 words, the newspaper said. The government has summoned executives from Facebook, Google and Twitter to a meeting in April to discuss data management practices.

Change sought

“People are bewildered by pages of unwieldy terms and conditions,” Hancock told the newspaper.
“I want these boiled right down so people can see in one glance what they’re signing up to. I want the big platforms to answer questions and demonstrate they are willing to change.”
Revelations that London-based Cambridge Analytica used personal data from more than 50 million Facebook accounts in its work for the campaign of President Donald Trump has turned up the heat on the social media behemoth.
UK law

Hancock’s planned meeting coincides with the UK Parliament’s consideration of a data protection law that would enable the government to impose heavy fines on tech companies for mishandling their customers’ data. Members of the US Congress are calling on Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg to testify on the company’s practices.
Facebook’s shares have skidded about 14 per cent since the disclosures a week ago.
On Sunday, Zuckerberg vowed to protect consumers’ personal information in full-page advertisements that the Menlo Park, California-based company ran in many British newspapers.
“I promise to do better for you,” Zuckerberg pledged in the ad carried on the back pages of the newspapers.
The UK privacy watchdog early Saturday completed a seven-hour search of Cambridge Analytica’s London offices, as part of a larger investigation into the use of personal data and analytics by political campaigns, social media companies and other businesses.
“We will now need to assess and consider the evidence before deciding the next steps and coming to any conclusions,” according to a statement.

Facebook’s Zuckerberg says sorry to Britons — with newspaper apology ads
(Reuters)
LONDON: Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg apologised to Britons on Sunday over a “breach of trust”, taking out full page advertisements in British newspapers after a political consultancy got its hands on data on 50 million users.
“We have a responsibility to protect your information. If we can’t, we don’t deserve it,” said the advert, signed by Facebook founder Zuckerberg.
The world’s largest social media network is facing growing government scrutiny in Europe and the United States.
This follows allegations by a whistleblower that British consultancy Cambridge Analytica improperly accessed users’ information to build profiles on American voters that were later used to help elect US President Donald Trump in 2016.
The plain black text apology on a white background, with only a tiny Facebook logo, appeared in Sunday publications including The Observer — one of the newspapers whose reporting on the issue has sent Facebook’s share price tumbling.
Zuckerberg said an app built by a university researcher “leaked Facebook data of millions of people in 2014”.
“This was a breach of trust, and I’m sorry we didn’t do more at the time,” Zuckerberg said, reiterating an apology first made last week in US television interviews.
Cambridge Analytica says it initially believed the data had been obtained in line with data protection laws, and later deleted it at Facebook’s request.
The consultancy said it did not use the data in work it did for the 2016 US election. On Friday night, investigators from Britain’s data watchdog searched the London offices of Cambridge Analytica for several hours.
$50 billion drop in Facebook stock price

Zuckerberg, whose firm has lost more than $50 billion in market value since the allegations, said Facebook would give users more information and control about who can access their data.
“Thank you for believing in this community. I promise to do better for you,” he wrote. Advertisers Mozilla and German bank Commerzbank have suspended ads on the service and the hashtag #DeleteFacebook has been trending online.
On Friday, electric carmaker Tesla Inc and its rocket company SpaceX’s Facebook pages – each with more than 2.6 million followers — were deleted after Chief Executive Elon Musk promised to do so.

Source: Gulf News

 

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