Zuckerberg wont give a straight answer on data downloads


What does Facebook “know what youre talking about”? Clearly a whole lot more than it’s cozy telling on.

Today, during witnes in front of the House Energy& Commerce committee, CEO Mark Zuckerberg was pulped by congressman Jerry McNerney on whether Facebook lets users download all their message — and he dissolved up appearing to contract its own cookies policy, which — if you go and actually read it — territories pretty clearly that Facebook collects customers’ browsing data.

See, for e.g .:

We use cookies if you have a Facebook account, use the Facebook Products, including our website and apps, or call other websites and apps that use the Facebook Products( including the Like button or other Facebook Technologies ). Cookies enable Facebook to offer the Facebook Products to you and to understand the information we receive about you, including information about your employment of other websites and apps, whether or not you are registered or logged in.

Yet you won’t find your browsing data included in the simulate of the information you can requirements for Facebook. Nor will you find a complete list of all the advertisers that have told Facebook they can target you with ads. Nor will you find lots of other articles of personal information like portraits that Facebook knows you’re in but which were uploaded by other users, or a phone number you declined to share with it but which was uploaded anyway because one of your friends synced their contacts with its apps, thereby handing your digits over without your say so.

And that’s just to specify a few of the missing parts of information that Facebook knows and impounds about you — won’t tell you about if you ask it for a follow of” your information “.

Here’s the key exchange — which is worth speak in full to see how carefully Zuckerberg worded his replies 😛 TAGEND

McNerney :” Is there currently a residence that I can download all of the Facebook information about me including the websites that I have visited ?”

Zuckerberg :” Yes congressman. We have a download your information tool, we’ve had it for years, you can go to it in your arranges and download all of the content that you have on Facebook .”

McNerney :” Well my staff, precisely this morning, downloaded their information materials and their browsing history is not in it. So are you saying that Facebook does not have browsing history ?”

Zuckerberg :” Congressman that would be correct. If we don’t have material in there then that means that you don’t have it on Facebook. Or you haven’t put it there .”

McNerney :” I’m not quite on board with this. Is there any other information that Facebook has obtained about me whether Facebook obtained it or procured it from a third party that would not indicated in the download ?”

Zuckerberg :” Congressman, my understanding is everything of your intelligence is included in download your info .”

McNerney :” I’m going to follow up with this afterwards .”

If you read Zuckerberg’s answers carefully you’ll see that every time he reframes the question to only pertain to information that Facebook < em> customers have themselves put on Facebook.

What he is absolutely not talking about is the much more bulky — and almost completely unnoticed — supermassive blackhole’s worth of data the company itself amasses about useds( and surely, non-users) via a variety of on and offsite moving process, including — outside its walled plot — cookies, pixels and social plug-ins embedded on third party websites.

According to pro-privacy search engine DuckDuckGo, Facebook’s trackers are on almost a part of the top million websites — meaning that anyone browsing popular websites can have specific activities recorded by Facebook, linked to their Facebook identity, and accumulated by the company in its prodigiou but unseen individual profiling databases.

This background surveillance has get Facebook into legal hot water with several European personal data protection agencies. Albeit it hasn’t — thus far — stopped the company moving Internet consumers’ habits.

The key disconnect evident in Zuckerberg’s testimony is that Facebook mulls of this kind of information( metadata if “youd prefer”) as are subordinate to it — rather than to the individuals whose name is linked to it( relating also be carried out in Facebook ).

Hence the tool Zuckerberg flagged in front of Congress is very deliberately called ” download your information”[ emphasis mine ].

With that wording Facebook does not promise to give users a fake of any of the information it has pervasively collected on them.( Doing so is certainly be far more expensive, for one thing .)

Although given that McNerney pulped Zuckerberg in his follow up for a specific rebut on” any other information that Facebook has obtained about me” — and the CEO still equivocated, it’s hardly a good look.

Transparency and plateau considering from Facebook? Quite the contrary on this front.

Facebook has faced more pressure on its lack of opennes about the information it props on consumers in Europe where existing privacy regulations can mandate that organizations must respond to so-called’ subject access applications’ — by providing individuals who make a request with a imitate of the information they impound about them; as well as( if they make a small fee) telling them whether any personal data is being processed; rendering them a description of the personal data, the reasons it is being processed, and whether it will be given to any other organizations or people.

So, in other words, subject access applications are a life away from Facebook’s current’ download your information tool’ — which precisely shows users only the information they have privately volunteered to give it.

Even so, Facebook has not been fulfilling the full disclosure obligations set out in EU privacy law — instead prosecuting legal avenues to forestall fulsome compliance.

Case in level: Late last month Paul-Olivier Dehaye, the co-founder of PersonalData.IO, told a UK parliamentary committee — which has also been calling for Zuckerberg to testify( so far unsuccessfully) — how he’s spent “years” trying to obtain all his personal information from Facebook.

Because of his efforts he supposed Facebook built a implement who are currently presents some information about advertisers. But this still only provides an eight-week snapshot of advertisers on its pulpit which have told it they have an individual’s consent to process their report. So still a very far cry from what individuals are supposed to be able to request under EU law.

“Facebook is invoking an exception in Irish law in the data protection statute — involving,’ disproportionate effort’. So they’re saying it’s too much of an effort to give me access to this data ,” Dehaye told the committee.” I find that relatively interesting because they’re meeting virtually a technical and a business contention of the reasons why I shouldn’t be given access to this data — and in the technical assertion they’re in a way killing themselves in the hoof. Because what they’re saying is they’re so large-hearted that there’s no way we are able to cater me with this information. The payment would be too large .”

“They don’t toll the costs itself, ” he contributed. “They don’t say it would cost us this much[ to comply with the data request ]. If they were starting to positioned a cost on coming your data out of Facebook — you are familiar, every tiny stage of data — that would be very interesting to have to are comparable to smaller companies, smaller social networks. If you think about how antitrust ordinances project, that’s the starting point for those working laws. So it’s kind of mindboggling that they don’t meet their argumentation, how it’s going to hurt them at some point.”

With the incoming GDPR update to the bloc’s data protection ordinances — which beefs up imposition in the European union with a new government of supersized penalties — the law liabilities of dodging regulatory compliance will step up sharply in time over a month’s time. But it remains to be seen whether Facebook — or indeed any of the other ad-tech whales whose business simulations rely on pervasive tracking of web consumers (< em> ehem Google ehem ) — will finally reveal all relevant considerations held on customers, rather than just giving up a few select snapshots.

Update: After a break in the committee hearing, Zuckerberg later revisited his comments about what information is and is not contained in Facebook’s download your data feature — saying he’d clarified with his unit that” weblogs are not in’ Download your Information ‘.”

” We simply store them temporarily and we alter the weblogs into a laid of ad attentions that you might be interested in those ads ,” he claimed.” And we introduce that in “Download your Information” instead and you have complete control over that .”

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