Cambridge Analytica has commissioned a third-party audit

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Mark Zuckerberg might be sorry that 50 million Facebook users' data ended up with the political firm Cambridge Analytica and will (at some point) head to Congress to explain what happened. The firm maintained that it deleted that information when Fac…
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Cambridge Analytica says it’s conducting a third-party audit over Facebook data

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Cambridge Analytica’s acting CEO said in a statement today that the company will undergo an independent third-party audit to determine whether it still holds any data covertly obtained from Facebook users.

The acting CEO, Alexander Tayler, apologized for the recent controversy, and said Cambridge Analytica believed the data had been obtained “in line with Facebook’s terms of service and data protection laws.”

As it has claimed before, Cambridge Analytica says it destroyed the mishandled Facebook data years ago, but new reporting has brought that claim into question. Facebook said recently it was working with a firm to conduct its own audit of Cambridge Analytica, but the investigation…

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Facebook hires digital forensics firm to audit Cambridge Analytica

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Days ago, Facebook suspended the parent company of political analysis firm Cambridge Analytica after news broke that it allegedly harvested personal data from some 50 million users. While the social network reportedly tried to sue The Guardian before…
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Facebook will audit Cambridge Analytica to see what Facebook user data the firm still has

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Facebook has hired Stroz Friedberg, a digital forensics firm focused on cybersecurity, to run the audit.

Facebook has hired an outside auditing firm to figure out if Cambridge Analytica, the analytics firm used by President Donald Trump during the 2016 election, still has Facebook user data it promised to destroy back in 2015.

The audit, which Facebook says Cambridge Analytica will comply with, is the latest move to stem a controversy that erupted over the weekend.

The gist: The social giant suspended Cambridge Analytica from Facebook on Friday, claiming it was suddenly unsure if the firm had deleted data for millions of Facebook users it had obtained in 2015 in a way that violated Facebook’s terms of service. Cambridge Analytica told Facebook the data was deleted at the time — and still maintains that it was — but reports in both The New York Times and The Observer on Saturday found otherwise.

Now Facebook is actually taking action to determine if user data for roughly 50 million people still exists. The company has hired Stroz Friedberg, a digital forensics firm focused on cybersecurity, to run the audit.

“If this data still exists, it would be a grave violation of Facebook’s policies and an unacceptable violation of trust and the commitments these groups made,” Facebook wrote in a blog post Monday. “We are moving aggressively to determine the accuracy of these claims.”

Regardless of what Facebook finds, there are still issues with its data policies. Many third party developers have access to Facebook user data through the company’s APIs, and it is only after these developers knowingly break the rules that Facebook can punish them. While an audit will hopefully help clear up the situation with Cambridge Analytica, it doesn’t mean that other developers aren’t abusing Facebook’s systems in the same way.

Facebook says it takes pains to ensure developers who use its APIs do so appropriately, but as the Cambridge Analytica story shows, companies with negative intentions can still find ways around the policies.

“We also want to be clear that today when developers create apps that ask for certain information from people, we conduct a robust review to identify potential policy violations and to assess whether the app has a legitimate use for the data,” Facebook’s post continues. “We actually reject a significant number of apps through this process.”


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In an audit of supply chain partners, Apple found increased labor violations in 2017

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Enlarge / An iPhone assembly worker works with Apple supplier Pegatron in an image distributed by Apple. (credit: Apple)

Each year, Apple releases a report called the Supplier Responsibility Progress Report detailing its audits of the labor practices of its suppliers around the world. Apple reports violations it finds at various categories of severity and gives its suppliers ratings based on how they treat their workers.

The 12th annual report was released this week, and in it, Apple says it found more violations than it did last year, at least in part because of new suppliers and partners added to supply chain.

Out of 757 suppliers included in the audit across 30 countries, 197 were being audited for the first time. Apple found twice as many “core violations” in 2017 as it did in the previous year. Core violations are those that Apple “considers the most serious breaches of compliance” and for which it claims to have “zero tolerance.”

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Apple axed 10 smelters and refiners from supply chain in 2017, maintains 100 percent participation in conflict mineral audit

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Apple issued its annual Conflict Minerals Report for the 2017 calendar year to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday, noting the removal of 10 smelters and refiners that failed to participate with third-party audits in a timely manner, while another 6 were axed by partner suppliers.
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Apple Slapped with £136 Million Tax Bill After Extensive Audit in Britain

Apple has been ordered to pay £136 million in taxes after an “extensive audit” was conducted by HM Revenue and Customs, Britain’s tax collector.

According to the BBC, the company’s British subsidiary (Apple Europe) has agreed to comply with “corporate income tax adjustment.” The tax covers the years leading up to September 26th, 2015.

In a statement, the company said it’s committed to paying its fair share of tax. “We know the important role that tax payments play in society,” commented Apple.

“Apple pays all that we owe according to tax laws and local customs in the countries where we operate.”

The firm explained that HMRC has just completed a review of its British accounts. “As a multinational business and the largest taxpayer in the world, Apple is regularly audited by tax authorities around the world,” said the firm.

“HMRC recently concluded a multiyear audit of our UK accounts and the settlement we reached with HMRC is reflected in our recently filed accounts.”

Apple added that this tax sum “reflects the company’s increased activity”. It said: “As a result of this adjustment, the company’s corporate income tax payments will increase going forward.”

In the past, Apple has been criticised over taxation. And currently, it’s embroiled in a bitter battle with the European Commission, which has ordered the company to pay a hefty €13 billion tax sum.

The Commission has slammed the Irish Government’s decision to give Apple a hefty tax break. It’s been paying Ireland 1 percent of corporation tax.

In 2016, European Union officials accused Ireland of providing illegal tax relief to Apple. The tech giant is currently paying the sum, but Ireland is fighting the decision.

At the time, Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said: “Member states cannot give tax benefits to selected companies – this is illegal under EU state aid rules,” said Commissioner Margrethe Vestager.

She added: “The Commission’s investigation concluded that Ireland granted illegal tax benefits to Apple, which enabled it to pay substantially less tax than other businesses over many years.”

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Apple forks over another $184M to UK tax authorities after ‘extensive audit’

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The world’s most valuable company now has a bit less in the bank after Apple was forced to settle up with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs to the tune of $ 184 million in additional taxes.
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