“Federal prosecutors are conducting a criminal investigation into data deals Facebook struck with some of the world’s largest technology companies,” Michael LaForgia, Matthew Rosenberg, and Gabriel J.X. Dance report for The New York Times. “A grand jury in New York has subpoenaed records from at least two prominent makers of smartphones and other devices, according to two people who were familiar with the requests and who insisted on anonymity to discuss confidential legal matters. Both companies had entered into partnerships with Facebook, gaining broad access to the personal information of hundreds of millions of its users.”
“The companies were among more than 150, including Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Sony, that had cut sharing deals with the world’s dominant social media platform. The agreements, previously reported in The New York Times, let the companies see users’ friends, contact information and other data, sometimes without consent,” LaForgia, Rosenberg, and Dance report. “Facebook has phased out most of the partnerships over the past two years.”
“It is not clear when the grand jury inquiry, overseen by prosecutors with the United States attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York, began or exactly what it is focusing on. Facebook was already facing scrutiny by the Federal Trade Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission,” LaForgia, Rosenberg, and Dance report. “The sharing deals empowered Microsoft’s Bing search engine to map out the friends of virtually all Facebook users without their explicit consent and allowed Amazon to obtain users’ names and contact information through their friends. Apple was able to hide from Facebook users all indicators that its devices were even asking for data.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: Our sources tell us that Apple’s involvement was limted; with one source saying Apple’s use of Facebook data “basically consisted of allowing users to autofill contacts to more easily share content.”