Amid reports that Facebook has been asking large banks for detailed financial information about their customers, Sens. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and John Kennedy (R-La), both members of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, sent a letter to Facebook’s chief executive officer, Mark Zuckerberg, expressing their concerns over data security and demanding to know what Facebook plans to do with the data.
Citing Facebook’s troubles with Cambridge Analytica, the senators wrote that they were concerned Facebook would not properly secure the data. "Data privacy and cybersecurity are more important than ever, and we believe that you owe it to the American people to properly secure the data you currently possess, before you obtain data from a third party."
In addition, if reports are true that Facebook asked banks "for information about where its users are shopping with their debit and credit cards outside of purchases they make using Facebook Messenger," but Facebook does not intend to use the information for ad-sharing, the senators asked what purpose does the information serve. "This raises the question as to what exactly you plan to do with the data," they wrote.
Specifically, the senators requested that Zuckerberg respond to the following questions by Oct. 19, 2018:
- Information about potential data sharing deals Facebook has entered into or plans to enter into with a financial institution.
- What if any extra security measures your Facebook plans to implement to ensure that any shared information is scrubbed of personally identifiable information?
- What steps you plan to take to ensure that users may opt out of having their data shared?
- What, if any, additional data privacy measures do you plan to implement prior to acquiring consumer banking data?
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