SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, joining a bipartisan coalition of 37 Attorneys General, today sent a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg calling for answers to reports that millions of Facebook users’ personal data was provided to third parties without their knowledge or informed consent. In the letter, the Attorneys General demand to know about Facebook’s role in the manipulation of users’ data by Cambridge Analytica —without those users’ knowledge — as well as Facebook’s policies and procedures for protecting users’ private data.
“Facebook left millions of Californians’ personal information vulnerable. At the California Department of Justice, we will continue to fight to make sure that consumers’ personal information is kept private and secure,” said Attorney General Becerra. “My fellow Attorneys General and I demand answers on behalf of all those whose trust and personal data has been compromised.”
The letter requests that Facebook produce information regarding their business practices and safeguards to protect users’ privacy. The Attorneys General raise a number of pressing questions regarding the recent news of Facebook’s actions, including whether users were properly notified of how their personal data would be utilized, and whether Facebook had protective safeguards in place to ensure that data were not misused.
According to recent reports, information from at least 50 million Facebook profiles was given to third-party software developers without users’ knowledge or informed consent. Reports also allege that Facebook’s previous policies allowed developers to pull the personal data of the “friends” of users who accessed third-party applications on Facebook.
Since he assumed office, Attorney General Becerra has made protecting consumers a top priority. Among other actions, he secured a record $18.5 million multistate settlement against Target over data security failures that contributed to the compromise of 40 million customers' payment card information and a $3.5 million multi-state settlement against Lenovo to resolve allegations that it illegally pre-installed ad-injecting software that compromised the security of its computers. He furthermore reached a settlement with Cottage Health System and its affiliated hospitals in California over their failure to implement basic, reasonable safeguards to protect patient medical information. Attorney General Becerra also opened an investigation on the Equifax data breach that affected 148 million Americans and over 15.5 million Californians.
A copy of today’s letter is attached to the electronic version of this release at oag.ca.gov/news.