back to article International politicos gather round to grill Dick, head of Facebook policy, on data slurping

British MPs have teased some of the bombshell details lurking in a cache of internal Facebook emails seized last week – and challenged the social network to unseal the documents before the committee releases them. The politicians took the unprecedented step of using an archaic Parliamentary procedure to get their hands on the …

  1. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge
    Unhappy

    I'm not clear on UK law, or the specifics of this case...

    but how far can you go before you are found to be blatantly taking the piss? Isn't there some kind of "contempt of the whole f*cking nation" that can be brought up in order to get the beginning of an answer or face huge fines?

    I mean, you can be thrown into jail for forgetting your encryption key, FFS! No "I'll get back to you about that" allowed.

    (I do understand that the procedure by which the trove of docs was acquired is a step in the right direction, but it's very mild and not even directly targetted at the main defendant)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm not clear on UK law, or the specifics of this case...

      The problem is that you're partially at the mercy of the size of these companies (which, by the way, is no accident, that is a deliberate strategy), which allows them to play (geo)political games with impunity.

      If they decide to shut shop in the countries that cause them trouble, the parts of the economy that unwisely based their business on these platforms will be damaged , which translates as fewer votes. These companies merely follow a path already ploughed, surfaced and signposted by Microsoft - just look at how long it took to get *anything* actioned against their monopoly abuse and what they did as a reaction.

      WRT Facebook, I think any company that forces users to communicate with them via social media exclusively ought to be fined out of existence because they force people to accept their privacy violating terms just to get in touch with them.

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: I'm not clear on UK law, or the specifics of this case...

      "contempt of the whole f*cking nation" that can be brought

      That is usually referred to as declaration of war.

      While we are getting close to a point where nations declare war on corporations and vice versa we are not quite there yet. Yet.

      1. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

        Re: I'm not clear on UK law, or the specifics of this case...

        While we are getting close to a point where nations declare war on corporations and vice versa we are not quite there yet. Yet.

        Declarations of war are for when Nation-States disagree with each other.

        We are at at the point where corporations can bring Nation-States before the courts and extract fines out of the People. One would hope that the Govs could grow a pair and reciprocate.

  2. SVV Silver badge

    Politicians grill Facebook exec

    Then go and update their Facebook pages to brag about it before deciding to spend loads of cash on Facebook ad campaigns for the next election.

  3. YetAnotherJoeBlow

    Ahh...

    So he's the Dick head of Facebook policy. It seems that Facebook employs quite a few of his ilk.

    1. Random Handle

      Re: Ahh...

      >So he's the Dick head of Facebook policy.

      Actually he's Baron Dick Head of Facebook Policy to you, pleb.

  4. ivan5

    Call me cynical but this 'trove' of documents sounds very much like it was setup to lead the MPs up the garden path and then have them fall flat on their faces. Just the thing to have someone saying that all politicians are stupid (a truism).

  5. PhilipN Silver badge

    Efford

    Love it! Phonetically almost identical to “F-Word”.

    Think I’ll use that name as part of all my login credentials from now on.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No need to rely on Parliamentary privilege

    The documents were under legal seal in America as part of a court case brought against Facebook by app biz Six4Three – but Blighty's MPs are able to refer to the content under Parliamentary privilege.

    Let's not play along with Facebook's whiny game here - a California court sealing documents has no effect in the UK. There could be an argument that they're Facebook's copyright, but in the absence of a British court order MPs don't need to rely on Parliamentary Privilege to disclose them once they've got them.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    times a-changing

    a few years back it would have been hackers hacking corporations, and parliament voicing outrage at such ourageously hacking hacks. What next, robbers beating up cops?!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the engineers who had flagged these initial concerns subsequently

    moved on with their career elsewhere

  9. BebopWeBop Silver badge
    Facepalm

    I have wondered where fried Lib Dem politician (other than Clegg - I know who is now paying him) went....https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Allan,_Baron_Allan_of_Hallam for anyone who gives a damm

  10. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    Boo Hoo...

    "The firm is, unsurprisingly, furious that the British MPs have seen the documents."

    Shame.

    "If they decide to shut shop in the countries that cause them trouble, the parts of the economy that unwisely based their business on these platforms will be damaged , which translates as fewer votes."

    Again, what a shame. But forgive me if I decide to shed no tears whatsoever though. If I remember correctly, in the UK we try to run things on the basis of "majority rule" or a kind of utilitarian model rather than pandering to the wills of businesses that have seemingly put most of their business strategy into a single broken basket of rotten eggs.

  11. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

    'firm was "pleased about the right kind of regulation"'

    AKA "regulation that we are allowed to write that doesn't commit to anything and allows us to get away with whatever we please"..

    For an example, please see the US FCC.

  12. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Trollface

    Have We Got Questions For Zuckerberg

    They missed an opportunity to place a Tub of Lard (or a heap of sugar) behind the Mark Zuckerberg nameplate and directing all questions to that, and, in the event of no response, re-directing the question to Richard Allan

    Have I Got News For You - Tub of Lard

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