Press Release

Public Knowledge Urges Congress to Protect Consumers from Next Facebook User Data Leak

March 23, 2018 , , , ,

Recently, reports surfaced that Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm that supported President Trump’s campaign, maintained copies of private data for about 50 million Facebook users without the majority of these users’ knowledge or consent. Public Knowledge finds Facebook’s lack of consumer privacy protection particularly egregious in this case and urges Congress to protect consumers by returning control of personal data to Americans — the rightful owners. You may view our full breakdown of how Congress should respond to this consumer privacy violation for more information.

The following can be attributed to Allie Bohm, Policy Counsel at Public Knowledge:

“In this digital era, it is impossible to fully participate in society without sharing our personal information with third parties like Facebook. Those third parties should have commensurate obligations to protect that personal information. Unfortunately, it has become clear that too many third parties are failing to live up to this responsibility. It is therefore incumbent on Congress to step in to protect consumers.

“This is about more than just Facebook and Cambridge Analytica. It's about unauthorized access to data — whether that's data obtained with authorization but shared and used in ways that exceed user permission, or a data breach, like Equifax, where data is obtained without any consent at all.

“Consumers should own their data, which means third parties, like Facebook, should have to give consumers notice and obtain consumers’ affirmative consent before they retain or share consumers’ personal information. Third parties should also adhere to robust security standards when retaining private information, and the public should be allowed to sue companies that abuse their trust. It’s time for Congress to return control of personal data to the people providing it.”

You may read our latest blog post, “Here’s How Congress Should Respond to Facebook/Cambridge Analytica,” for a detailed outline of our suggested response.