June 14, 2018

Feinstein to Facebook: Clarify Relationship with Huawei

Washington—Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today called on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to clarify his testimony about Facebook’s relationship with Huawei, a Chinese telecommunications company that U.S. intelligence agencies consider to be a national security threat.

            “This letter is to follow up on your recent testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding Facebook’s consumer data practices,” Senator Feinstein wrote. “Recent reporting suggests that Facebook’s information sharing agreements with device manufacturers may be different than what you represented in your testimony. To ensure Congress and the public have the most accurate information, we would appreciate clarification of several issues described below.”

            The full text of the letter follows:

June 14, 2018

 

Mr. Mark Zuckerberg
Chief Executive Officer
Facebook
Menlo Park, CA 94025

 

Dear Mr. Zuckerberg:

            This letter is to follow up on your recent testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding Facebook’s consumer data practices. Recent reporting suggests that Facebook’s information sharing agreements with device manufacturers may be different than what you represented in your testimony. To ensure Congress and the public have the most accurate information, we would appreciate clarification of several issues described below.

            The New York Times reported that Facebook has data-sharing agreements with at least 60 device makers, including Huawei, a Chinese telecommunications company that US intelligence agencies consider to be a national security threat. Those agreements reportedly allow access to user’s information and the information of their friends without explicit consent. These agreements appear to be in conflict with Facebook’s announcement in 2014 that it would not allow third-parties to harvest information from users’ friends without explicit authorization.

            In addition, our committee has received information that suggests Facebook has information sharing agreements with device manufacturers that allows Facebook to receive detailed geolocation and other information from personal devices even when individuals do not have a Facebook account or the Facebook application installed on their devices.

            In light of tis recent reporting, please clarify your prior responses to the Committee’s questions regarding data sharing with third parties, and provide responses to the following additional questions:

  1. Is the reporting that Facbook has (or had) data sharing partnerships with 60 device makers accurate? Did these agreements allow device manufacturers to access Facebook users personally identifiable information and are any of these agreements still in effect? To the extent Facebook has (or had) any such agreements, please list the names of the device manufacturers, the types of information that each had access to, and the exact purpose of sharing each type of information. If these agreements are no longer in place, please identify when the agreements ended for each company.
  2. Has Facebook ever had information sharing agreements that allow device manufacturers to access information on a user’s friends, or any other connected individual, without the friend or other individual’s knowledge or consent? If so, please provide the names of the device manufacturers with which those agreements existed, what information they had access to, whether the agreements are currently in place, and if they ended when they were terminated?
  3. Does Facebook receive any data, including but not limited to geolocation or other metadata, from any device or device manufacturer on an individual that does not have a Facebook account? If so, which companies provide this data, what data and information is obtained, how is it obtained, how is this data used by Facebook, are users notified in any way that this information is being collected and shared with Facebook, and is this information shared by Facebook with any third-parties?
  4. Does Facebook receive any data, including but not limited to geolocation or other metadata, from any device manufacturer for a device that has never installed the Facebook application or visited the Facebook website? If so, which companies provide this data, what data and information is obtained, how is it obtained, how is this data used by Facebook, are users notified in any way that this information is being collected and shared with Facebook and is this information shared by Facebook with any third-parties?
  5. Does the Cambridge Analytica or any of its associated firms including Aggregate IQ (AIQ) currently have any applications operating on Facebook? If not, when were these accounts terminated?
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