Mark Zuckerberg will testify before U.S. lawmakers in two separate hearings next week

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He’ll testify before two Senate committees on Tuesday, and a House committee on Wednesday.

Mark Zuckerberg is officially headed to Washington.

The Facebook CEO has accepted an invitation to testify before lawmakers from the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on the company’s recent Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal, in which personal data from some 50 million users ended up in the hands of an outside research firm that worked with the Trump campaign, all without those users’ permission.

Zuckerberg will testify on Wednesday, April 11, at 10 am ET, according to a release, “regarding the company’s use and protection of user data.”

“This hearing will be an important opportunity to shed light on critical consumer data privacy issues and help all Americans better understand what happens to their personal information online. We appreciate Mr. Zuckerberg’s willingness to testify before the committee, and we look forward to him answering our questions on April 11th,” committee chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore., and ranking member Frank Pallone, Jr., D-NJ, said in a canned quote.

Update: Zuckerberg will also testify before two Senate committees in a joint hearing that was announced late Wednesday. The hearing, which will take place at 2:15 pm ET next Tuesday, April 10, is titled, “Facebook, Social Media Privacy, and the Use and Abuse of Data.” Zuckerberg will answer questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee.

Zuckerberg was invited to testify before three separate congressional committees to discuss the company’s privacy policies, including the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. Facebook has been working behind the scenes to schedule his appearance for almost two weeks, though would not commit to anything publicly until today.

Back in mid-March, Zuckerberg told Recode in an interview that he was open to testifying “if I’m the right [person].”

“You know, I’m open to doing that,” he said when asked if he would testify. “I think that the way that we look at testifying in front of Congress is that … We actually do this fairly regularly, right? There are high-profile ones like the Russian investigation, but there are lots of different topics that Congress needs and wants to know about. And the way that we approach it is that our responsibility is to make sure that they have access to all the information that they need to have. So I’m open to doing it.”

Zuckerberg’s appearance will be a big deal — in part because Zuckerberg has never testified before, and in part because the company’s Cambridge Analytica fiasco has become a symbol of sorts for how big tech companies like Facebook are not doing enough to protect user privacy.

The concern, if you are a Facebook investor, is that lawmakers will walk away from a Zuckerberg testimony with the belief the company needs to be regulated. Facebook’s entire business relies on collecting personal information from people and using that information to show those people targeted advertising.

When Facebook testified in front of Congress last fall about Russian groups using the service to try and influence the 2016 presidential election, Facebook sent its top lawyer, Colin Stretch, instead of Zuckerberg.

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to Testify Before Congress

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has reportedly decided to testify before Congress, according to a new report on Tuesday. Sources at Facebook told CNNMoney that Zuckerberg has “come to terms” with the fact that he will need to testify within a few weeks. In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, there has been intense […]
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Senate committee asks Facebook, Google and Twitter to testify on privacy

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The list of people that want to hear from social media giants in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal keeps getting longer. Senator Ron Wyden wants to know how the data collection happened in the first place, and Facebook talked to Congression…
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Calls for Mark Zuckerberg to testify before Congress are getting louder

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The House Energy and Commerce Committee sent Zuckerberg a formal letter Friday asking for testimony “in the near future.”

Mark Zuckerberg said this week that he’d be “open to” testifying before members of Congress on the company’s latest privacy scandal involving Cambridge Analytica.

Congress really really wants that to happen.

Top lawmakers at the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, which has subcommittees focused on communication and technology and consumer protection, sent a formal letter to Zuckerberg on Friday asking him to appear on Capitol Hill “in the near future.”

“In comments to the press, you stated that the person with the most knowledge at Facebook about what Congress is trying to learn is the most appropriate witness for a congressional hearing,” the letter, which is signed by six members of Congress, read. “As the Chief Executive Officer of Facebook and the employee who has been the leader of Facebook through all the key strategic decisions since its launch, you are the right person to testify before Congress about those decisions and the Facebook business model.”

A Facebook spokesperson confirmed the company received the letter and is reviewing it.

The call to testify caps what has been a busy week for Facebook. It was learned late last Friday that Cambridge Analytica, a data firm that worked with Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, gained access to the personal data of roughly 50 million users without their permission.

Facebook spent the week trying to explain what happened, and Zuckerberg finally did a press tour Wednesday apologizing and trying to smooth over concerns that the social network can no longer be trusted.

In an interview with Recode, Zuckerberg said he was open to testifying before Congress on the matter “if I’m the right [person].”

Numerous politicians in both the U.S. and U.K. have called on Zuckerberg to testify about the company’s data practices.

Most recently, when Facebook was summoned to Capitol Hill to explain how Russian sources used the social network to try and influence public opinion ahead of the 2016 presidential campaign, Facebook sent its top lawyer to the hearing, not Zuckerberg.

The big concern for Facebook investors is that Congress will impart stricter regulations on the social giant. Facebook has built a big business by employing personal data in order to target users with advertisements. Any restriction on collecting, storing or using that data could hurt Facebook’s business.

In an interview with Wired this week, Zuckerberg said it was more a matter of when, not if. “The question isn’t, ‘Should there be regulation or shouldn’t there be?’ he said. “It’s ‘How do you do it?’” Facebook is open to regulation, it just wants to ensure that any new rules are administered industry-wide and not targeting the social giant exclusively.

Public testimonies and potential regulations are not the only possible punishments for Facebook. Lawsuits from shareholders and Facebook users have also been filed.

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Canada forces Apple and Primate Labs to testify in iPhone battery scandal

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Though lawsuits and government investigations into Apple’s iPhone battery debacle multiplied and went international in January, Canada’s government escalated its investigation today, bringing representatives of Canada’s Competition Bureau, Apple, and Primate Labs — the Toronto, Canada-based company that unearthed the issue — to testify before the House of Commons’ standing committee on industry, science, and technology.

Faced with charts from Primate Labs’ Geekbench that showed dramatic performance reductions across multiple iPhones, Apple admitted last December that it had been slowing down certain iPhones based on declining battery performance. The company publicly apologized, then dropped the price of replacement iPhone batteries to $ 29 in the U.S. ($ 35 in Canada) through the end of 2018.

The members of parliament (MPs) seemed primarily concerned with ensuring that Canadian customers were being treated fairly by Apple, both prior to and after Apple’s admission. Representing the Competition Bureau, Alexa Gendron-O’Donnell explained that the organization’s interest was in protecting consumers from false or misleading advertising and that a U.S. company operating in Canada must comply with Canadian civil and criminal laws, including the truth in marketing requirements of the Competition Law. Responding to questions from the MPs, she noted that there was not as yet a law prohibiting planned obsolescence in Canada, and that based on Competition Bureau policy, she isn’t able to comment on whether the agency was already dealing with Apple in this case.

John Poole of Primate Labs noted that although his company had received consumer complaints of slowdowns in iPhones, he originally believed that they were attributable to an issue with iOS 11. However, a Reddit post noting performance improvements after a battery replacement led Primate Labs to investigate further. Based on additional research, Poole determined that the cause of the slowdown was introduced in iOS 10.2.1, though he didn’t know exactly why.

MPs asked Poole whether the issue affected Canadian and U.S. iPhones differently — after checking Geekbench data, and to the best of his knowledge, Poole said he didn’t think so. They also asked whether Poole felt the battery issue was evidence that Apple engages in planned obsolescence, and Poole said that while he originally might have thought so, Apple’s explanation that it slows devices rather than letting them become unstable made more sense. Still, he felt Apple’s lack of transparency in the matter was an issue.

Poole was also asked if Apple had misrepresented the iPhone to the public. While Poole noted that the public knows Apple’s claims tend to be “up to” and ideal case scenarios, consumers wouldn’t have expected their devices to get slower over time due to battery issues. Additionally, he said that Apple representatives at stores would tell people nothing was wrong with their batteries.

In a separate panel, Jacqueline Famulak and Simon Potter represented Apple Canada, initially reading from prepared remarks before answering questions. Famulak explained Apple’s prior public statements on battery performance, saying that the company’s power management software was designed to enable customers to keep using flagging devices, rather than forcing them to replace phones that would otherwise face the risk of unexpected shutdown. She said that software updates always come with a “readme note” that the customer can read before installation, and that the 10.2.1 note disclosed the power management solution. Beyond offering discounted batteries, she mentioned that the latest version of iOS includes battery management tools.

MPs aggressively questioned Famulak, noting that Poole’s work had seemingly established that unexpected shutdowns can happen at 30% battery life, yet Apple’s slowdowns can begin at 70% remaining battery power — if Apple wasn’t interested in degrading the user experience, why would it slow phones before they hit that 30% point? Famulak said that if other conditions are established, such as a very low temperature or chemical aging of the battery, the phone would manage its power and slow down even if it wasn’t at 30%. She later said that the 30% number wasn’t necessarily accurate.

Another MP asked Famulak what Apple is doing to educate customers about the problem. She responded that they’ve put out statements, and moreover, the company is still selling the affected models, not pulling them from the market. The MP noted that it’s not prominent on the company’s web site, and he wouldn’t have known about it but for news reports.

In a particularly testy exchange, MP Brian Masse asked Famulak why she thought the governments of so many countries were investigating Apple — wasn’t there a cause? Famulak responded that she didn’t believe Apple had done anything wrong.

For the time being, there appear to have been fairly few complaints — only 20 — to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, though the Competition Bureau couldn’t disclose the number of complaints it had received regarding potential false marketing by Apple.

Apple – VentureBeat

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Facebook and Google will testify to Senate over terrorist content

It's not just European countries who aren't satisfied with internet giants' ability to curb online terrorist content. The US Senate has summoned Facebook, Google (or rather, Alphabet) and Twitter to testify at a January 17th Commerce Committee hearin…
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Former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has been subpoenaed to testify to Congress about the company’s 2013 security breach

So she’ll testify at a Tuesday hearing after all!

Senate lawmakers quietly subpoenaed former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer in October in order to compel her to testify before a key committee that’s investigating a 2013 security breach at the tech giant that has affected three billion of its users.

Initially, Mayer’s representatives declined to make her available to appear before the powerful Senate Commerce Committee, which is set to convene a hearing on Tuesday that explores the attack on Yahoo as well as a separate, later 2017 incident at credit-monitoring agency Equifax, which affected more than 145 million Americans.

Both the panel’s chairman, Republican Sen. John Thune, and its top Democratic lawmaker, Sen. Bill Nelson, agreed on the subpoena, according to a panel spokesman. In response, Mayer told the committee she would testify at the hearing, the spokesman said, but the subpoena remains in effect.

The Hill first reported on details of the subpoena. Spokespeople for Nelson as well as Mayer, Verizon and Yahoo’s new entity, Oath, did not immediately respond to emails from Recode seeking comment.

That brouhaha could result in an especially uncomfortable grilling for Mayer at the Senate’s data security hearing. Thune initially called the session after Yahoo, now part of Verizon, revealed that a 2013 cyber attack on the company affected three billion of its users — three times its initial estimate.

Lawmakers’ other target is Equifax: The Senate Commerce Committee is focused on a 2017 incident at the credit-monitoring agency in which malefactors stole 145 million Americans’ sensitive data, including their home addresses and even some credit card numbers.

For some on the panel, though, the added issue with Equifax is its slow, widely criticized response to the security breach, not to mention later revelations that Equifax’s own consumer-help websites had been affected by malware.

In a statement this October, Thune stressed the hearing would give “the public the opportunity to hear from those in charge, at the time major breaches occurred and during the subsequent response efforts, at two large companies who lost personal consumer data to nefarious actors.”

Some lawmakers, however, are sure to use the hearing to call for greater regulation — not only in the way that companies collect and secure data but also the means by which they inform and help consumers in the event of a security breach. In recent months, Equifax and its peers in the industry have ramped up their lobbying efforts in Washington, D.C. to stave off such rules and restrictions.


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Watch live now: Facebook, Google and Twitter testify to Congress about Russia and the 2016 election

The first of three hearings begins today.

Senior executives from Facebook, Google and Twitter will submit on Tuesday to the first of three grueling grillings before U.S. lawmakers who are investigating Russia’s suspected interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Kicking it off is the Senate Judiciary Committee’s top crime and terrorism panel, chaired by Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham. The focus is on the extent to which Kremlin-backed agents and trolls sought to spread disinformation and extremist content on major social media platforms — and what, exactly, the U.S. Congress should do about it.

Representing Facebook at the hearing is Colin Stretch, the company’s general counsel; from Google it’ll be Rich Salgado, the search giant’s director of law enforcement and information security; and standing in for Twitter is Sean Edgett, the company’s acting general counsel.

The hearing officially begins at 2:30 pm ET/11:30 am PT, and you can watch live here. We’ll update this post with embedded video once it becomes available.

Lawmakers on two other committees — the House and Senate Intelligence Committees — will press tech executives at two back-to-back hearings beginning tomorrow morning.

Update: You can also watch a PBS livestream of the hearings live on Twitter right here or below on the Washington Post’s Facebook Live.

Facebook, Twitter, and Google testify

Facebook, Twitter, and Google representatives are about to testify before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee about Russian disinformation online. Political anchor Libby Casey talks to Silicon Valley correspondent Elizabeth Dwoskin and video reporter Jordan Frasier about the first of three Senate hearings focused on Russian meddling in the 2016 election. http://wapo.st/2iMVJTG

Posted by Washington Post on Tuesday, October 31, 2017


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Live updates: Facebook, Google and Twitter testify before Congress today

A live look at the Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing on Russian election interference.

Facebook, Google and Twitter are in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday for the first of three public hearings with congressional committees to discuss Russia’s attempt to influence last year’s U.S. presidential election by spreading misinformation online.

The three companies have already admitted that, unknown to them, Russian-backed accounts used their respective sites to share and promote content aimed at stirring political unrest. On Facebook, as many as 126 million people may have seen content from accounts tied to Russian sources.

Now Congress is trying to determine how that happened, and what impact those misinformation campaigns may have had on last year’s election, in which President Donald Trump surprisingly beat Hillary Clinton.

The first of the three hearings starts Tuesday: All three companies will testify in front of a Senate Judiciary subcommittee led by Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham. The hearing starts at 2:30 pm ET, and here’s who you will be hearing from, and how you can watch it live.

We’ll also provide live updates right here — please follow along!


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