EU seeks Facebook data privacy probe
BRUSSELS, Belgium – The European Union pushed on Tuesday, March 20, for an urgent investigation into revelations that a firm working for Donald Trump presidential campaign harvested data on 50 million users.
EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova, who has called the breach "horrifying", was meanwhile to seek clarification from the social media giant during a visit to the United States this week.
Facebook has faced worldwide criticism over the claims that Cambridge Analytica, the UK data analysis firm hired by Trump's 2016 campaign, harvested and misused data on 50 million members.
The European Parliament's Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt, a former Belgian premier, called for an investigation on Tuesday.
"When is Mark Zuckerberg going to explain what happened with our data? The data breach is an absolute scandal," tweeted Verhofstadt, who heads the parliament's liberal group.
"The European Parliament must start an investigation. I will keep you updated about our progress."
The EU parliament's civil liberties committee on Monday sent a letter to Facebook asking it to testify before the body, a parliamentary spokesman told AFP.
British lawmakers on Monday also asked Zuckerberg to give evidence to a UK parliamentary committee on the data row.
Jourova's office said she had called on independent European data protection authorities who are meeting Tuesday in Brussels to probe the growing Facebook scandal.
"Commissioner Jourova would encourage setting up a taskforce to investigate this case," as the authorities had done last year with a similar breach by cab firm Uber, her office said.
Britain's Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham has already said her office would seek a court warrant on Tuesday to search Cambridge Analytica's computer servers.
Britain has voted to leave the EU but remains a member state until next year.
EU digital commissioner Mariya Gabriel told a press conference on Tuesday "we are constantly following this case as it unfolds."
Gabriel added that the EU will say "loud and clear" that "the protection of personal data is a core value for the European Union."
The EU parliament's civil liberties committee on Monday sent a letter to Facebook asking it to testify before the body, a parliamentary spokesman told AFP. – Rappler.com