In a decision of a Massachusetts Superior Court, dated 18 January, 2020 the most widely used social media platform Facebook has been ordered to turn over it's material to State Attorney General, Maura Healey over thousands of suspected applications that might have distorted or misused customer data.
The judge of the superior court of Massachusetts Justice Brian Davis said that the Attorney General had revealed that there is a “substantial need” of investigating the app’s privacy policies. This probe began, when in 2018 news flashed that Facebook had let British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica access data for around 87 million users.
The scandalous issue is that Cambridge's clients include President Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign. Facebook contended that the majority of the data is secured under attorney-client privilege, regarding the apps, only Facebook knows about their identity and there is no other way that the Attorney General of the State of Massachusetts had obtained this information.
However the non-consideration of arguments by the Attorney General and the Court compelled Facebook to review its options and perhaps file an appeal against it. Further the Attorney General appreciated Davis’ decision, “Facebook simply telling its users that their data is safe without the facts to back it up does not work for us.” The judge gave Facebook a time bar of 90 days under which they have to submit the entire material Healey has asked for.
Facebook has been in the limelight due to its problematic privacy practices for countless number of times, $5 billion fine was agreed by Facebook as a cure to the U.S. Trade Commission due to the privacy violations.
In today’s time of ongoing cyber war where data and the privacy of users plays a crucial role, such loopholes in apps can result in severe consequences. Newspapers are flooded with crimes due to loopholes in privacy policies. In the internet era the user and the developer of an app should keep in mind that the world is watching closely, with eyes wide open and any single flaw could lead them behind bars.
Author: Aarya Mishra