Udo Bullmann presses “thumbs-down” button on Zuckerberg-meeting in the EP

“This was only the start of what needs to be a thorough and transparent investigation of the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica Scandal. The format of the meeting was a farce, not allowing for any back and forth between Zuckerberg and the Members of Parliament. What this meeting made clear is that 75 minutes in a small and exclusive circle is not enough to shed light on the biggest data scandal in recent history. That’s why we demand a further exchange with Zuckerberg and his high-level management with all relevant experts of the European Parliament for a more in-depth analysis. The S&Ds have been pushing for that from the beginning. Unfortunately, the centre-right majority voted for the format we saw today.” “Zuckerberg did not answer many of the direct questions put to him, and the few answers that we heard were disappointing. It is unbelievable that, of all companies, Facebook is apparently not ready to be open on that matter. How can Zuckerberg claim to connect people if he himself is not ready to fully contribute to this? How can he continue earning billions and billions of dollars with users’ information and then refuse to be fully transparent? We will not allow for this kind of double standards.” “Facebook and other social media networks have a powerful position in the process of opinion making. In order to protect our democracies, we must make sure that this position is not abused. The Trump campaign and the alleged influence of Russian forces in political campaigns show how important that is. This is why we have to stop the extensive, secretive and indiscriminate data gathering and processing for algorithmic targeting.” “We fight for data protection and, with that, also for the sovereignty of democracy. One important step is the new General Data Protection Regulation that was adopted, thanks to pressure from our Group, and which will enter into force on 25 May. Moreover, we are pushing for the new ePrivacy Regulation to be adopted. The new rules will give people the right and the tools to control their own privacy, giving them back some of the power that companies like Facebook have taken. Now it’s up to European governments to work with us to ensure that happens. They have to decide what is more important: People’s rights and data protection or big companies’ interests? We stand firmly on the side of the people.”
2 years, 1 month ago in Data protection in the EU
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Following the meeting of representatives of the European Parliament with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg S&D Group leader Udo Bullmann said:

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S&D Group vice-president responsible for digital affairs, Josef Weidenholzer, said: “Every day we are learning more about the extent of this scandal. Following a hearing in the UK Parliament, it now seems likely that far more than 87 million Facebook users have had their data compromised by Cambridge Analytica. It is essential that Mark Zuckerberg come to the European Parliament’s responsible committee on civil liberties, justice and home affairs and explain exactly what has taken place, what Facebook knew, and how many EU citizens have been affected. We then need to ensure that laws are in place to prevent this from ever happening again. We are calling for a detailed hearing in the Parliament’s civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee, so that we can understand the full effects of this scandal. This is much more than a case of a company misusing peoples’ data for commercial gain – it raises profound questions about how our democracies can be manipulated in the age of social media. We need a full investigation on how these types of practices have been used in recent election campaigns, both in Europe and the US.” S&D Group spokesperson for civil liberties, justice and home affairs, Birgit Sippel, said: “We have been fighting for years to ensure that citizens’ personal data and privacy is protected online. For too long, the attitude in most governments was that this was a secondary issue. However, this scandal finally seems to have woken everyone up to how important protecting citizens online is. Being outraged by this scandal is not enough; we need action from member states to ensure it cannot happen again. Firstly, we need proper implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that will apply as of May 26. Our Group fought hard against the EPP Group and other conservative forces in the Parliament to ensure that we had strong new laws to protect citizens’ personal data. However, strong laws only mean something if they are properly implemented – member states must give their data protection authorities the resources necessary to actually enforce these new rules effectively. “But this is not enough: National governments also need to agree their position on the e-privacy regulation, to ensure that citizens’ private conversations online are kept confidential. The current e-privacy rules do not even cover Facebook! The Parliament adopted strong proposals that would guarantee citizens’ privacy online. However, the Council continues to drag its feet on the issue. This is not acceptable; by refusing to act, national governments are already preparing the way for the next big scandal.”

2 years, 2 months ago in Data protection in the EU
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