back to article Facebook spooked after MPs seize documents for privacy breach probe

British MPs have made unprecedented use of Parliamentary powers to send a serjeant at arms to the hotel where the boss of a US software biz was staying to seize potentially damaging documents on Facebook. The cache allegedly shows internal messages – including from Mark Zuckerberg – that demonstrate the social network actively …

  1. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Happy

    The irony....

    Facebook don't like other people collecting their data.

    1. EveryTime Silver badge

      Re: The irony....

      > "Facebook don't like other people collecting their data."

      I believe that you are wrong in this case.

      Facebook was looking for effective ways to monetize their users. They approached it in the Silicon Valley way -- encourage a bunch of start-ups to try different things, and then copy or buy the ones that gained traction. In this case it also had the benefit of distancing them from unsavory practices that they didn't want to be associated with (unless it made money).

      The discovery documents presumably showed that Facebook knew exactly what was being shared through the API, and that they tracked the usage in order to evaluate what was succeeding.

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: The irony....

        I believe you may have missed the point. The irony is that data about facebook was recently obtained, but facebook didn't want that data released. So facebook violates their users' privacy but want to keep their own corporate data private.

        The rest of your comment is good though.

    2. el kabong
      Thumb Down

      Faecebook zucks

      it zucks and it sucks.

  2. Clockworkseer

    Predictably, the leftpondian response has run the gamut from "goodgood" to "how dare the UK do something like this, this justifies the revolutionary war!"

    We'll ignore the fact their Senate Committees can do more or less the same thing.

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge
      Go

      Sovereign Power applied.

      >>>We'll ignore the fact their Senate Committees can do more or less the same thing.<<<

      All countries have the same powers.

      This is what happens if you P*** off parliament for long enough. let's see how many FB execs take foreign trips in the coming months.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sovereign Power applied.

        All countries have the same powers.

        This is what happens if you P*** off parliament for long enough. let's see how many FB execs take foreign trips in the coming months.

        And like all good FBers, they'll be keeping us up to date with their travel on their public profiles...

      2. rg287 Bronze badge

        Re: Sovereign Power applied.

        This is what happens if you P*** off parliament for long enough. let's see how many FB execs take foreign trips in the coming months.

        Foreign trips is less of an issue. Taking documents with you is the issue at hand.

        There's most likely been a slew of mail going round Facebook regarding new policies on burner laptops and not crossing borders with confidential documents.

        The Serjeant at Arms could not have compelled Ted Kramer to hand over documents he didn't have.

        1. DavCrav Silver badge

          Re: Sovereign Power applied.

          "The Serjeant at Arms could not have compelled Ted Kramer to hand over documents he didn't have."

          Oh he really could, if he had reason to believe that Kramer had access to them, including online.

          "Give us the documents."

          "No, they are stored on a foreign server somewhere, under seal by US law."

          "Here is Pentonville Prison. Have fun inside until you change your mind."

          1. Spazturtle Silver badge

            Re: Sovereign Power applied.

            ""The Serjeant at Arms could not have compelled Ted Kramer to hand over documents he didn't have."

            Oh he really could, if he had reason to believe that Kramer had access to them, including online."

            If he has ever seen the documents he could be ordered to write them down from memory. Saying he can't remember the contents would not be a valid defense.

            There is a guy who has been held for a few years now because he forgot the password to an encrypted hard drive. Judges will find a way to fuck you up if you refuse to do what they have ordered you to do.

          2. Peter2 Silver badge

            Re: Sovereign Power applied.

            Concur, except it's not civil servants, it's not UK laws, and it's not the UK government. It's parliament which constitutionally is above all of those things and ad hoc can create any powers it wishes, whether appropriate or inappropriate. One of the benefits (along with the detriments) derived from not having a post-civil war written constitution.

            The UK Constitution is written, and it was also post civil war, though of course it was post the English civil war and the Glorious Revolution that followed it, not post the American civil war.

            I think you meant that the UK constitution is "uncodified" as in there aren't any documents saying "this is an important constitutional document that you can't alter", other than the important constitutional documents that do in fact say that, and provide "interesting" remedies such as absolving citizens of their allegiance.

            I suppose that technically Parliament could write a law saying that they have the right to do something incredibly objectionable, however they have to get the House of Lords to sign it off first. They then have to get the Monarch to sign it off.

            It's a bit more balanced than you might think, the UK's constitutional arrangements are the end product of the better part of a thousand years worth of evolution without somebody deciding that the particular point they have reached is the pinnacle of possible development and trying to freeze the whole thing as it is. No doubt the UK's constitution will continue to evolve such in such a manner as is required for ongoing operation.

            The right of parliament to lock somebody up for contempt of parliament is dubious, at best. Last time the commons used it was 1666 back when the commons and the lords were the final appeal courts so it was essentially a form of contempt of court under common law. Since then the commons decided that they couldn't be assed to deal with appeals and said they wouldn't do it, and the house of lords decided that wasn't quite fair, so they'd take appeals from anybody doing so in the form used by the House of Lords, and not just from Lords etc which is how the House of Lords came to be the final arbiter of laws. Up until the EU decisions that basically forced the Law lords to set up and transfer all of the remaining powers in the Lords to the UK Supreme Court.

            As a result, nobody left in parliament (either the commons or the lords) actually have the legal authority to imprison somebody on their sayso. Any attempt to do so would be effectively be via the sovereigns "divine right" to do whatever they dammed well please, and imprisonment without trial was banned under section XXIX of the 1215 Magna Carta. Anybody causing somebody to be imprisoned without trial would find that:-

            1) The person involved would submit a writ of Habeas Corpus to any court. (or somebody might do so on their behalf, Habeas Corpus allowing for the fact that the person being imprisoned may be held incommunicado) The person is then bought before a court and the jailor is required to supply their lawful authority to hold the prisoner. The jailor would have no such lawful authority, and so the court would have to order that the prisoner be set free.

            2) At this point, having set the prisoner free this immediately proves the fact that the imprisonment they were in was unlawful, at which point the person who caused the imprisonment is by default guilty of false imprisonment, which is a felony under common law. This is a criminal offense under the Criminal Law Act 1967, which means that parliamentary privilege does not apply as it's only effective for civil cases and the MP's and any staff involved can (and would) have to stand trial for false imprisonment, and also probably malfeasance in office. As there would be no possible defense to either charge, it would be a brave MP that tried to pull that as a stunt, IMO. They'd end up in prison for an awful lot longer than the chap they imprisoned!

            1. DavCrav Silver badge

              Re: Sovereign Power applied.

              "At this point, having set the prisoner free this immediately proves the fact that the imprisonment they were in was unlawful, at which point the person who caused the imprisonment is by default guilty of false imprisonment, which is a felony under common law."

              I'm not sure that that's true. (Usual 'not a lawyer' statements apply here.) False imprisonment isn't a strict liability offence. As well as actus rea you would need to show mens rea; in this case, that the person imprisoning knew that it was false. Otherwise you would be locking up people who imprisoned those who were found guilty but whose convictions were later overturned, or those that were arrested but later released without charge.

            2. Stork Bronze badge

              Re: Sovereign Power applied.

              Very interesting. How does that square with internment in N.Ireland during the troubles?

              (I love tangents)

              1. Peter2 Silver badge

                Re: Sovereign Power applied.

                I'm not sure that that's true. (Usual 'not a lawyer' statements apply here.) False imprisonment isn't a strict liability offence. As well as actus rea you would need to show mens rea; in this case, that the person imprisoning knew that it was false. Otherwise you would be locking up people who imprisoned those who were found guilty but whose convictions were later overturned, or those that were arrested but later released without charge.

                Nope. If somebody was imprisoned but found not guilty then they'd still have been imprisoned by the authority of a court under the lawful judgement of their peers.

                The police have powers of arrest, however these are limited to 48 hours without them placing a charge, and holding somebody without charge for up to 24 hours (or a max of 96 hours in case of murder, or 14 days in case of terrorism) pending investigation is legal under the police and criminal evidence act/terrorism act.

                If a court rules that you are being held in false imprisonment then firstly, your set free. The fact that you were set free from false imprisonment then proves that you were held in false imprisonment, which lets you lay criminal charges against the people holding you in false imprisonment using the previous case as established precedent for being held in false imprisonment.

                The only way for the person so charged with false imprisonment to provide a defense would be to prove they had the legal right to imprison somebody, which requires reference to a statue written by parliament, approved by the lords and signed into executive power by the sovereign. Which, notably they wouldn't have and therefore they would be unable to provide any defense. Thus, they'd be found guilty more or less immediately as there is no possible argument to make that they were acting lawfully.

                Very interesting. How does that square with internment in N.Ireland during the troubles?

                (I love tangents)

                Google knoweth all. Apparently it was allowed under the "Civil Authorities (Special Powers) Act (Northern Ireland) 1922". Habeus Corpus is only a tool to produce somebody before a Judge and demand of their jailer their lawful authority to hold the person. When they have no authority then this is useful, when they do have lawful authority then it's not useful.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. JohnFen Silver badge

      "We'll ignore the fact their Senate Committees can do more or less the same thing."

      I won't ignore this. The fact that they aren't doing the same thing is a result of the overall corporate takeover of the federal government. Ignoring this only helps our descent into tyranny.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I won't ignore this. The fact that they aren't doing the same thing is a result of the overall corporate takeover of the federal government. Ignoring this only helps our descent into tyranny.

        Well, perhaps if this makes a big splash in the USA ("FB bankrupted after UK Parliament Big Reveal"), perhaps that might act as a cue to the electorate to demand more of their senators and representatives than you think they're getting.

        Though I have to say the unique nature of the US constitution does leave it wide open to this kind of thing. With no one being definitively in charge of what happens in the country, it's easy to make sure that no-one is...

        1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

          It doesn't matter what the US constitution (and it's many, many amendments that adjust it for various lobby's purposes) reads.

          This was in the UK and despite what many US politicians may think, US laws don't apply here, UK laws do. If UK laws, even rather antiquated but occasionally useful ones, are in effect then they are usable and in this case have been. For once, UK politicians, or more likely civil servants, have done something sensible used the appropriate powers that they have in order to deal with an organisation that is treating UK laws/government with contempt. We may be a distinctly third world country (read the UN reports) however at least there is some sense remaining somewhere.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "For once, UK politicians, or more likely civil servants, have done something sensible used the appropriate powers that they have in order to deal with an organisation that is treating UK laws/government with contempt. "

            Concur, except it's not civil servants, it's not UK laws, and it's not the UK government. It's parliament which constitutionally is above all of those things and ad hoc can create any powers it wishes, whether appropriate or inappropriate. One of the benefits (along with the detriments) derived from not having a post-civil war written constitution.

          2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

            If UK laws, even rather antiquated but occasionally useful ones

            Can we still shoot Scotsmen if seen at Carlisle on a Sunday?

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            More Nonsense

            I've read the UN reports and the UK is certainly not considered a third world country, I guess you read the Guardian too much. The 2018 Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) doesn't list the UK among the 105 countries listed.

            http://hdr.undp.org/sites/default/files/table_6_2018_mpi.xlsx

            Of course there are people living on the street in the UK like everywhere country in the world, that doesn't make the UK a third world country despite what comrade Corbyn would have you believe.

            I suggest you read a book called factfulness, you may learn things are not as bad as you want to believe.

  3. colinb

    Off to the tower with Zuck

    A live stream of the torture, eh sorry, interview would be nice.

    Crime is Treason, betrayal of the country and populace via mass slurpage and sellage

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: Off to the tower with Zuck

      Whilst the sentiment here is somewhat appealing, I'm not sure you could make the case for trying someone for treason who isn't a subject of the country doing it. The last time I checked, Sugarheap wasn't a British subject.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Off to the tower with Zuck

        "I'm not sure you could make the case for trying someone for treason who isn't a subject of the country doing it."

        The USA has made a habit of trying to snatch and charge people for espionage when they haven't even set foot in that country, etc etc.

        1. HolySchmoley

          Re: Off to the tower with Zuck

          "The USA has made a habit of trying to snatch and charge people for espionage when they haven't even set foot in that country, etc etc."

          Not to mention send to outsourced torture chambers...

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Off to the tower with Zuck

            "Not to mention send to outsourced torture chambers..."

            Surely Trump should be doing something about all those exported jobs. Bring Torture Back, No More Outsourcing, MAGA!!!

      2. rg287 Bronze badge

        Re: Off to the tower with Zuck

        The last time I checked, Sugarheap wasn't a British subject.

        Indeed, just as Assange is not a US citizen. Not that that's stopped a couple of US Congress-critters accusing him of "Treason". Which tells you a lot about the standard of political discourse over there. American's can't commit treason against the UK, Australians can't commit treason against the US!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Off to the tower with Zuck

          Australians can't commit treason against the US!

          Pretty sure the Ozzies can commit treason against the US.

          Isn't Australia just a snivelling wanna-be US state nowadays?

          1. I don't know any "Spartacus", my Lord

            Re: Off to the tower with Zuck

            "Isn't Australia just a snivelling wanna-be US state nowadays?"

            That sounds a little bitter - did you find out what they actually put in your Fosters?

            <Almost-Pun intended>

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Off to the tower with Zuck

              "Isn't Australia just a snivelling wanna-be US state nowadays?"

              That sounds a little bitter - did you find out what they actually put in your Fosters?

              Nah. Just sick of pesky neighbours..

      3. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: Off to the tower with Zuck

        "Whilst the sentiment here is somewhat appealing, I'm not sure you could make the case for trying someone for treason who isn't a subject of the country doing it."

        Any person in the UK at the time of their act falls under the statute.

      4. TDog

        Re: Off to the tower with Zuck

        Strange - I thought Edith Cavell was a British citizen, along with many others. I thought that the Germans spies we shot in WW2 and WW1 were German citizens. I must have been mistaken.

        Or citizenship does not trump locality and law.

        Unless you believe in gunboat diplomacy. (Or Jenkins' ear.)

    2. Shadow Systems Silver badge

      Re: Off to the tower with Zuck

      I think it would be amusing as hell to strap a bungie cord to his ankles, shove him off the roof of the Tower, & put a very shallow ("Kiddie") pool at the bottom filled with angry Yorkies. He'd scream the entire way down, the screams would rile up the Yorkies to a fever pitch, the *barely* in time stop at the bottom would bonk his head into the bottom of the pool, at which point the Yorkies would get a moment to maul him. Then the cord would yank him back up, let him catch his breath, at which point the cycle repeats as he falls once more.

      Televise the event, put it on PayPerView to make some *serious* money, & let the world watch as Zuck gets questioned between each shove off the roof.

      "Mister Zuckerberg, did you authorize the debaucle?"

      I don't know what- *Shove* AAAAIIIIIEEEEE!

      *Yorkie mauling*

      "Once more. Did you authorize the debaucle?"

      I *sob* have no idea *sob* what yo- *SHOVE* AAAAIIIIIEEEE!

      (A digital counter to one side shows the current PPV total cash in the coffers; a second line shows the number of billions of "Likes" for the event.)

      "Hmm... it seems we've paid off the national debt five times over. We should have thought of this sooner!"

      *Cough*

      1. Huw D

        Re: Off to the tower with Zuck

        Why Yorkies? Why not Lancastrians? ;)

        1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

          At Huw D, re: Yorkies.

          Because I needed a short legged breed that yaps constantly & drives people insane. I can never remember how to spell Chihuahuahuahuahu*slap* or Dachsundundundun*smack* so I picked Yorkie instead.

          I could have picked TeaCup Poodles instead, but I'm not *that* Evil. (Doctor Evil pinkie gesture) =-D

          1. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: At Huw D, re: Yorkies.

            "Chihuahuahuahuahu*slap* or Dachsundundundun*smack* so I picked Yorkie instead."

            Could you at least stop slapping the small dogs? Yorkie is an exception though - slap that one all you like.

          2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

            Re: At Huw D, re: Yorkies.

            yaps constantly & drives people insane

            Oh - you mean children?

            I suspect that Social Services would look dimply on them being exposed to toxins like El Zuck.

            (And why not cats eh? Attach feathers and wool strands to El Zuck (and rub him with fresh tuna) and fill the pool with 8-month old kittens. Maybe not so much damage overall but better PPV income from the Cuteness Factor..)

        2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Off to the tower with Zuck

          Why Yorkies? Why not Lancastrians? ;)

          Wrong side of the Pennines.

      2. Someone Else Silver badge
        Go

        @Shadow Systems -- Re: Off to the tower with Zuck

        Just please make sure that it is broadcast at a time when those of us in the Colonies can watch...I'll gladly pay for that spectacle.

        1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

          At Someone Else, re: the broadcast.

          No worries, it'll be on Youtube soon enough! =-D

          1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

            Re: At Someone Else, re: the broadcast.

            No worries, it'll be on Youtube soon enough! =-D

            No worries, it'll be on FACEBOOK soon enough! =-D

            Fixed it for you.

      3. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

        Re: Off to the tower with Zuck

        "Televise the event, put it on PayPerView to make some *serious* money, "

        Pfft, why would I pay to watch that when I can just watch someones FB livestream?

        1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

          At Clunking Fist, re: PPV.

          Why would you pay to watch? You don't have to, the stream would be free from too many sources to stop. But by using the PPV stream & sending them your money in gratitude, might just prompt them to do the same thing with other public figures in dire need of a Yorkie mauling. The heads of AT&T, BT, Capita, Comcast, Dixons, Equifax, France (just because he's French, that's why!), Orange, TalkTalk, Verizon, Virgin, etc etc etc... Wouldn't you PAY to see them shoved off a roof & Bungied into a shallow pool of slobbering, slathering, rabbid, insane (redundant), hungry puppies?

      4. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Off to the tower with Zuck

        filled with angry Yorkies

        One of those words is superfluous and it isn't "Yorkie"..

        For true values of paranoia and violence, replace the Yorkies with Dachsunds (minitures - the standards are much more laid back).

      5. Kiwi Silver badge

        Re: Off to the tower with Zuck

        Televise the event, put it on PayPerView to make some *serious* money, & let the world watch as Zuck gets questioned between each shove off the roof.

        Suggestions.

        1) Make it cheap, so even the poorer people can get to see it and enjoy.

        2) For 1c/person/vote, also have the execs from MS, Google, Apple and various other nefarious types up there. You get to vote who gets pushed next.

        3) You may also get to vote on the contents of the pool.

        4) For $10/person/vote, you get to vote on the length of the rope......

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Off to the tower with Zuck

      Well, the person compelled did not resist. Damn American spoilsports.

      Did they explain to him that if the Parliament decides to put their words into actions they can confine him ONLY in the Tower of London and that bit also happens to be a museum nowdays. That is what the relevant law dating back to the 17th century says if memory serves me right.

      So while possible in theory, in practice that is not likely to happen.

      What a pity though. Imagine it did happen. That would have been a Christmas trip to behold. Going to the London Dungeon to see a new exhibit: Social Marketeer. Extra pay for two daily attractions when "tools of the trade" are applied.

      Bummer... Oh well... there is always a next time.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: Off to the tower with Zuck

        The Tower still has working* dungeons.

        *The floor, walls and roof remain unbroken thick stone. However, feeding and toilet facilities don't meet current standards.

        1. rg287 Bronze badge
          Headmaster

          Re: Off to the tower with Zuck

          The Tower still has working* dungeons.

          *Pedant alert*

          The Tower doesn't have any dungeons and never has (as the Beefeaters will remind you. Repeatedly). It's a Royal Palace, not a Prison.

          Only nobles were ever "accommodated" there at the Crown's pleasure. Standards of accommodation of course may not meet modern expectations.

          1. TDog

            Re: Off to the tower with Zuck

            And a bunch of commoners. And German spies. (Executed there in both world wars).

          2. The First Dave

            Re: Off to the tower with Zuck

            I seem to recall hearing that at least one of the Kray brothers spent a night or two in the cells there?

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Off to the tower with Zuck

              "I seem to recall hearing that at least one of the Kray brothers spent a night or two in the cells there?"

              Both did. They turned up for their conscription then decided they didn't fancy it, puched out a sergeant and pissed off. They were then found, arrested and imprisoned in the Tower, which was a barracks and recruitment centre at the time.

          3. AndyD 8-)&#8377;

            Re: Off to the tower with Zuck

            *Pedant alert*

            "The Tower doesn't have any dungeons and never has (as the Beefeaters will remind you. Repeatedly)."

            Would that be the Beefeaters actually known as yeoman WARDERS?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Off to the tower with Zuck

          The Tower still has working* dungeons.

          *The floor, walls and roof remain unbroken thick stone. However, feeding and toilet facilities don't meet current standards.

          I'm sure someone could jury-rig a chemical or composting toilet in there.

          As a better alternative, should zuck itself end up in such a place.. The only toilets fitted are in the floor above the cell, $5 per use.

          (Pun? What pun?)

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Off to the tower with Zuck

        "Did they explain to him that if the Parliament decides to put their words into actions they can confine him ONLY in the Tower of London"

        Um, no. These days the favoured location for detainment on the charge of contempt of parliament is the cells in the base of the clock tower - which isn't going "bong" at the moment or it'd be even more fun.

    4. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Alert

      Re: Off to the tower with Zuck

      Zuckerberg can count his lucky stars that it wasn't the Russian Presidential "Elections" that were attempted to be influenced using Facebook, with a negative campaign against Putin.

      He'd have run the risk of a close encounter of the novichok kind. I guess there's nothing to worry about unless a couple of Russian blokes come on a short visit to San Francisco to the see the world famous bridge...

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Off to the tower with Zuck

        Parliament and the King were not very happy with Guido Fawkes, and he ended up in the Tower, and probably a couple of inches taller too.

        A quick google reveals the Zuckerberg is presently 1.71m tall. Most probably the reason he does not want to come to London is he runs the risk of having to buy a whole new wardrobe after his tête-à-tête at Westminster, via the Tower

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Off to the tower with Zuck

        Zuckerberg can count his lucky stars that it wasn't the Russian Presidential "Elections" that were attempted to be influenced using Facebook, with a negative campaign against Putin.

        That was attempted for his previous elections (5 years ago) with Clinton asking for it and several of the usual suspects working on the project. It worked reasonably well, but not good enough. While the protests were significantly higher than usual, he got elected none the less.

        Zuck, however, regardless of Facebook used repeatedly and continuously for the purposes of propaganda against the "regime" in Russia is alive and will stay alive.

        You do not break a tool just because someone else has used it. That will be inefficient, stupid and spiteful.

        You use it yourself instead. Or to be more exact you give it to your henchmen to use it.

        1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

          Re: Off to the tower with Zuck

          Precisely. Russia, given their alleged use of Facebook for their own cyber influence reasons, would not want to close Facebook down. FB's influence is considerably more in Russia's "enemies" lands therefore it is an asset, albeit a little double edged at times.

    5. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Off to the tower with Zuck

      I'll settle for someone of large size and muscles kicking in Zuck's door and the large one's minion carrying a baseball bat and singing "Someone's going to get it...."

  4. big_D Silver badge

    Why?

    "However, I am also mindful that this matter is sub judice before a court in California. It may be helpful for us to discuss this matter again after we have further guidance from the court."

    A US court in California has no jurisdiction over the UK Government or UK courts or the UK in general...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why?

      sub judice is important here but in the USA? forget it. Every little detail of a case is reported in the media weeks before the case and no one bats an eyelid. Yet here is a US Lawyer crying wolf about it?

      That must mean that there is something (or a lot more than something) in those documents that Zuck and co really don't want made public.

      Proudly Facebook free and always have been.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why?

        Yes, I've always wondered about that.

        The American police seem to like making very public arrests, making sure the press get good coverage and then the prosecutors slowly leak as much salacious material as possible to make sure everyone knows the person arrested is guilty thus allowing the "jury" to come to the "correct" decision.

        Unless the "suspect" is black in which case they just shoot them......

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Why?

          "The American police seem to like making very public arrests, making sure the press get good coverage [...]"

          IIRC a certain Harry Webb obtained damages in court for a UK police force doing that without an arrest.

        2. Nick Ryan Silver badge

          Re: Why?

          Stupidly the UK police tried something similar with the raid on Noel Edmonds. Or was it some other celebrity? I've steadily lost the will to care... Whoever it was, the press should not have been along for the raid as it happened - fine for them to catch up based on public reports of something "interesting" happening but never anything more.

          1. rmason Silver badge

            Re: Why?

            The one the Beeb recently got in trouble for was the Cliff Richard thing.

            The arrest was leaked so we could all see peado-geddon live on TV.

            (he turned out to be innocent/no charges etc)

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Why?

              "The one the Beeb recently got in trouble for was the Cliff Richard thing."

              That's his stage name. Any legal actions always use a person's original name viz Harry Webb. Which means the police had to publicise their search using his stage name in order for it to have any obvious media impact.***

              ***of course he may have made his stage name his legal name by deed poll.

        3. Adelio

          Re: Why?

          you forgot to add

          "instead of arresting them!"

      2. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Why?

        "Proudly Facebook free and always have been"

        You disable all javascripts so they can't spy on you from their Facebook Like buttons plastered on other sites?

        1. big_D Silver badge

          Re: Why?

          You disable all javascripts so they can't spy on you from their Facebook Like buttons plastered on other sites?

          I have around 1500 Facebook domains set to 0.0.0.0 (unroutable) in my hosts file.

          1. Sekhen

            Re: Why?

            Care to share?

            I would love to add them to my pi-hole.

        2. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge

          Re: Why?

          @Captain Scarlet: You disable all javascripts so they can't spy on you from their Facebook Like buttons plastered on other sites?

          Yes... And you don't?

          1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

            Yes... And you don't?

            @TFM No, I would rather be in the pub (Now a Tesco Express) than compiling white/black lists

        3. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Why?

          "You disable all javascripts so they can't spy on you from their Facebook Like buttons plastered on other sites?"

          Take a closer look. There are more pernicious javascripts hiding away tracking you that don't have like buttons on them. The buttons just show that someone knows what javascript they're running.

        4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Why?

          "You disable all javascripts so they can't spy on you from their Facebook Like buttons plastered on other sites?"

          That's what NoScript's for.

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Why?

          You disable all javascripts so they can't spy on you from their Facebook Like buttons plastered on other sites?

          All of Facebook's IP addresses and domains are blocked at my firewall. My host file also denies access to everyone of them and Twitter, WhatsApp, Pinterest etc and most of Google.

          NoScript and uBlockOrigin and Adguard (over 200K trackers blocked in the past year) are also used in my browsers

          No one can use social media using my internet connection.

          So yes, I am proudly free of Facebook and all the other (anti)Social Media shite.

        6. rmason Silver badge

          Re: Why?

          They also have every text message he's ever sent to anyone who has FB messenger with "let us help you find people" enabled, and all their replies.

          The truth is it barely makes any difference.

        7. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Why?

          You disable all javascripts so they can't spy on you from their Facebook Like buttons

          Yup. NoScript is your friend..

      3. Clunking Fist Bronze badge

        Re: Why?

        "Proudly Facebook free and always have been."

        Are you sure? I've seen you in some of your friends' photos on Facebook. As I knew you, I tagged your face for the recognition feature in FB, now I can see you all over FB in other people's feeds and photos.

        See, FB is seriously worse than one can imagine.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I tagged your face for the recognition feature

          Really? What do I look like then?

          Do you really know the real me? Google does not know the real me so how can you eh?

          Care to post a picture of yourself?

    2. ST Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Why?

      > A US court in California has no jurisdiction over the UK [ ... ]

      It's a Silicon Valley lawyer. They all believe that Santa Clara Superior Court has jurisdiction over the entire Universe.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Why?

        "They all believe that Santa Clara Superior Court has jurisdiction over the entire Universe."

        An East Texas judge and his family of lawyers certainly seem to when it comes to patent cases....

      2. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

        Re: Why?

        "It's a Silicon Valley lawyer. They all believe that Santa Clara Superior Court has jurisdiction over the entire Universe."

        What do you think the Hubble was really for? Looking for radiation sources that needed a Californian health warning, that's what.

        1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

          Re: Why?

          "It's a Silicon Valley lawyer.

          Yes and no, if you are referring to Richard Allan...

          "I understand that Parliamentary privilege protects participants for anything said during a hearing of your committee," said Facebook's veep of policy Richard Allan,...

          Yes - he works for FB

          No - he's from Blighty - and given a peerage by his chum Clegg -

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Allan,_Baron_Allan_of_Hallam

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Why?

            Don't know whether it's at all relevant, but Facebook just hired Clegg:

            https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-45913587

            "With his political experience as part of the UK government, and as a former MEP, he will also be well-placed to advise how to keep the regulators away."

      3. post-truth

        Re: Why?

        "> A US court in California has no jurisdiction over the UK [ ... ]

        It's a Silicon Valley lawyer. They all believe that Santa Clara Superior Court has jurisdiction over the entire Universe."

        Actually... and this may surprise those of a boolean persuasion... but technically BOTH the UK and California have unlimited jurisdiction over the other.

        This is one reason why private international law - comity, recognition, and enforcement - has developed over the last eight centuries.To develop "customary" rules by which one or the other will decide, unilaterally, to back off.

        If neither backs off, then wham, instant trade war or shutdown of enforcement until one side or the other quietly changes its approach. It happens.

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Why?

      "A US court in California has no jurisdiction over the UK Government or UK courts or the UK in general..."

      And there have been previous rulings that something which is sub judice in a _commonwealth_ country (Australia) is not sub judice in the UK - so a non-commonwealth country isn't going to get higher priority.

  5. steelpillow Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    History lesson

    A super-rich, arrogant little twonk sets himself up against the government that invented modern democracy several hundreds of years ago and has been dealing with super-rich, arrogant little twonks ever since.

    Zo long, Zucker.

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: History lesson

      A nice idea, but I fear wishful thinking.....

    2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: History lesson

      A super-rich, arrogant little twonk sets himself up against the government that invented modern democracy several hundreds of years ago and has been dealing with run by super-rich, arrogant little twonks ever since.

      FTFY

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: History lesson

      "the government that invented modern democracy several hundreds of years ago"

      Unfortunately for the government that invented modern democracy, it doesn't (usually) resort to snatching people from the street in foreign lands in order to ensure that it gets the people it wants in front of a court where it has jurisdiction. That "honour" goes to the government that's destroying it.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: History lesson

        it doesn't (usually) resort to snatching people from the street in foreign lands

        No - the usual route for dealing with ex (and not so ex) IRA people is a quick visit from some SAS blokes, followed by a double-tap to the head..

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: History lesson

      Zo long, Zucker.

      It is just possible that this represents the beginning of the end of Facebook. An interesting thing to ask is, what happens if it does start winding down?

      Facebook, AFAIK, has the same crazy corporate constitution as Google and a lot of the other new tech companies. You can buy shares, but they're not voting shares. All the voting shares were retained by the original founders and core investors.

      So company policy is not set by the ordinary shareholders. What this means is that those who own the voting shares - the core originals - could vote to use the company cash pile for, well, whatever they please. Such as shipping it off somewhere safe, out of the way, for their own enjoyment, voted for by the only people who actually can vote (i.e. not the ordinary shareholder on the stock market).

      I have a theory that this is the exit strategy of these original founders and investors; build up an enormous cash pile. and if the going gets too tough pinch that and walk away, leaving the ordinary shareholders with the writhing and cashless remanent.

      It kinda fits; it doesn't require the company to have a viable long term strategy. When you look at the kind of trouble these ad-funded, giga-corps are getting themselves into, one does have to wonder what their long term strategy actually is. Because from where I'm sat, most of them seem to be on a highway to nowhere.

      1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

        Re: History lesson

        There have always been different classes/categories of shares. It's entirely up to the organisation involved and up to the investor to pay due care. In the UK at least there are various laws around the dissolution(?) of shares as in if you have a particular type of shares these may not be expanded upon and offered to others without being given the opportunity to purchase more at the same effective ratio. Or something similar - in any case the laws are surprisingly fair.

        I've often wondered about the exit strategy or just business model of various of these companies. I still don't quite get how FB isn't losing money at a phenomenal rate, on the other hand they have developed, and patented (start argument here) quite a few technologies and they have in their posession a very well profiled database which they can, and are free to, utilise to promote third party services. Even at its most basic level, the hosting, development and support services have to be paid for somehow. If you're ever in doubt, follow the money trail.

      2. SImon Hobson Silver badge

        Re: History lesson

        ... could vote to use the company cash pile for, well, whatever they please. Such as shipping it off somewhere safe, out of the way, for their own enjoyment ...

        IIRC there have been sueballs from shareholders over much less. Such a move would so massively devalue those non-voting shares that there'd be few holders who wouldn't head straight to court for their pound of flesh.

        Remember that the officers of the company are required by law to act in the best interest of it's members (shareholders) - and deliberately acting to personally massively enrich themselves (by making off with the cash) at the expense of all the others could not be classed at acting in the best interests of those shareholders left with nothing.

  6. ForthIsNotDead
    Holmes

    It's got me wondering...

    If there might just be a faint glimmer of hope here.

    If the public can made aware of just how pernicious this company is in terms of the effects it has had on society (the world over) could we see a backlash against Facebook to the extent where it becomes unfashionable, or (even better) socially unacceptable to use social media sites such as these? The public needs to be de-programmed from these 'social media' human-tracking psy-op systems.

    I recently got a Facebook page. Wow. What a disappointment. I'm now privy to the innermost thoughts, political persuasions, sexual orientations, private lives, and eating preferences of many friends and acquaintances.

    I never knew they were such fucking mindless idiots. Honestly. It's amazing how wrong you can be about people, isn't it?

    1. RyokuMas Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: It's got me wondering...

      Said it before and I'll say it again:

      Never underestimate the ability of a human being to be irretrievably stupid.

    2. DropBear Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: It's got me wondering...

      "If the public can made aware of just how pernicious this company is in terms of the effects it has had on society (the world over) could we see a backlash against Facebook to the extent where it becomes unfashionable, or (even better) socially unacceptable to use social media sites such as these?"

      Totally! I'm, like, soooo outraged I'm going to get on Twitter, like, right now to warn all my bestest frenemies to #GetOffFacebookNow...!

      1. ForthIsNotDead
        Pint

        Re: It's got me wondering...

        @DropBear

        Upvote #1 came from me! Your post made me laugh out loud!

        :-)

        Beers!

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: It's got me wondering...

      "I never knew they were such fucking mindless idiots."

      There are two ways to deal with Facebook's surveillance capitalism - try and avoid it (which is nearly impossible), or choke the cat with cream (ie, fill your feed with so much non-personal crap that it's useless). Think of it as Warfarin for trolls.

      1. Cpt Blue Bear

        Re: It's got me wondering...

        "...or choke the cat with cream..."

        What a lovely turn of phrase. I must drop that in a meeting later today. Its just disturbing enough an image without going full Malcolm Tucker.

        " ...(ie, fill your feed with so much non-personal crap that it's useless)"

        I used to think you could choke these systems with noise to render them useless and was an enthusiastic generator of the social data equivalent of white noise. Now I have concluded that neither those collecting nor those using this data actually care about its veracity. The former just want to get paid. The latter either take their assertions of magic algorithms revealing the truth at face value, or are engaging in a due diligence box ticking exercise. Either way, I am no longer certain that noise is the best poison for this plague of vermin.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: It's got me wondering...

          "Either way, I am no longer certain that noise is the best poison for this plague of vermin."

          It would take a massive effort to have any effect. A few noisy accounts here and there won't be significant. Just avoid them.

        2. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: It's got me wondering...

          "I have concluded that neither those collecting nor those using this data actually care about its veracity."

          I came to the exact same conclusion when it comes to data gathered and used for marketing purposes.

          Even for non-marketing purposes, spookfooding was always an effort that seemed to be of dubious effectiveness. Today, when you have a large number of powerful data mining tools available relatively cheaply, it seems even more dubious.

          1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

            Re: It's got me wondering...

            "I have concluded that neither those collecting nor those using this data actually care about its veracity."

            I came to the exact same conclusion when it comes to data gathered and used for marketing purposes.

            You will be surprised how little "useful" data needs to be in the rubbish for the Bayes grinders to work. I worked with this stuff a decade before Google and before the idea of Big Data was invented when this was used only for the purposes of (predominantly) Medical Genetics (1990 to be more exact). It constantly messed with my brain and its ideas of probability and stats which were simply refusing to acknowledge that you can make use of such sample sizes and skewed data.

            If there is even a grain of useful data in your feed it will be extracted and (ab)used.

      2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: It's got me wondering...

        choke the cat with cream

        Oi!

        I've reported your abuse post to the Feline Freedom Front of Judea. Expect incoming hairballs immediately!

        (If they can be bothered and someone turns the fire off and doesn't open a pouch of nice food)

        1. I don't know any "Spartacus", my Lord

          Re: It's got me wondering...

          "choke the cat with cream..."

          Purely in the interests of research, I did a Clarkson on the phrase above -

          "I've been on the internet, and I found THIS..."

          Strangely, the websites I found did not feature any cats, but I do now at least have several offers of a bride from the Ukraine, and some interesting "artistic" videos to watch.

    4. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: It's got me wondering...

      "I recently got a Facebook page"

      Why on Earth would you do that??

    5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: It's got me wondering...

      "I recently got a Facebook page."

      Why? Research purposes only?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just in case Zuckerberg may be hiding documents internally he needs to be given a cavity search, people with very large hands or long nails are welcome to apply for the job.

  8. rtfazeberdee

    Its about time

    the government got proactive on this front instead of making polite requests that Zuckerberg attend and answer questions and him refuse as the UK is not worth bothering about compared to the EU as a whole

    1. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

      Re: Its about time

      Indeed, and I'm kind of with you on this one - but I think you forget how important the UK is to FB. There is a good reason that its key EU offices are in two of the biggest native English speaking countries.

      So... I get that it's the British way to be polite, and to not want to offend, and wait in turn etc etc, but at the end of the day I really don't see why we're just not threatening FB with being forcibly blocked at the network edge by all UK ISPs and network providers under some other archaic old privilege, statute or charter, or something...

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: Its about time

        There is a good reason that its key EU offices are in two of the biggest native English speaking countries.

        Merely because they are English Speaking countries - maybe they were unaware a lot of European countries have lots of citizens also quite good at english as they actually encourage multilingualism in their education systems while it's mostly an afterthought in the UK.

        With a rather large segment of the public hopelessly addicted to Facebook - blocking it might bring the government to it's knees long before Facebook noticed.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Its about time

          "[multilingualism is] mostly an afterthought in the UK"

          Yes, but it's easy for pretty much anyone else. They learn their national language + English. Which other language would we choose? French? Russian? Spanish? Mandarin? Norwegian? Economically, Japanese seemed a sensible choice when I was a kid, with Chinese or Russian making sense now, but mostly when abroad I'm struggling through Italian or German.

          1. A.P. Veening

            Re: multilingualism

            "Yes, but it's easy for pretty much anyone else. They learn their national language + English."

            Generally include a third (second foreign) language and in some cases even more (I had English, French and German as modern foreign languages at school, together with Latin and classic Greek). As for which language to choose for native English speakers, I would recommend choosing easy ones like German and French or Spanish, Dutch and the Slavic languages are generally a lot more difficult for various reasons and non-European languages are a completely different kettle of fish (yes, I started on Thai and know a couple of phrases in Japanese and Vietnamese).

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. I don't know any "Spartacus", my Lord

            Re: Its about time

            "[multilingualism is] mostly an afterthought in the UK"

            I often travel abroad from England, to places like "Liverpool". I've never been able to understand their particular dialect of Klingon, even though I studied it at University.

      2. DCFusor Silver badge

        Re: Its about time

        Blocking FB at network edge would then limit the data the UK government gets from them on the side as part of the 5 eyes, silly.

        As if all of FB's servers were outside the UK to begin with...

        "It's all connected" (Total Recall)

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Its about time

        I get that it's the British way to be polite, and to not want to offend, and wait in turn etc etc, but at the end of the day

        Well just because we don't have any gun boats left it doesn't mean we can't ask a little more firmly if no one is paying attention to polite requests.

        As someone above said, I wonder how many senior FB officials will feel like making foreign trips in the near future. It's probably safe to say our parliament isn't the only one wanting some answers at the moment.

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Its about time

          Well just because we don't have any gun boats left

          Sure we do - I remember visiting HMS Belfast as a kid!

          Oh - you mean "working ones with a life expectancy of more than 30 minutes in an actual war"?

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Its about time

            Oh - you mean "working ones with a life expectancy of more than 30 minutes in an actual war"?

            Zuck doesn't have any either. Although I suppose he could afford to hire some mercenaries.

      4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Its about time

        "There is a good reason that its key EU offices are in two of the biggest native English speaking countries."

        It's not going to have any EU offices in the UK for much longer. It's a big incentive to the UK Parliament to take their own line on this one and not depend on an EU investigation. There's a certain irony in the extent to which FB might have brought this on themselves.

  9. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

    POPCORN TIME!

    This is going to get interesting.

  10. nematoad Silver badge
    Happy

    Yes!

    "... it is important not to take claims made in commercial cases like these at face value."

    Well now they don't have too. If the documents seized are as revelatory as predicted we may soon know what really went on at Facebook.

  11. A. Coatsworth

    GLad to see the UK government is taking decisive action on this issue. By ignoring the Parliament's summons, Zuckerberg was disrespecting not only the UK, but all the people everywhere who was had their data willing or unwillingly sucked in by FB.

    I sincerely hope this ends as badly as possible for the Zuck and everyone else involved

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not Government

      Strictly speaking this isn't the UK government doing this, rather it's the UK Parliament. The distinction is important.

      The UK government has no power of arrest (that's the police) nor can it order anyone to do anything (that's the courts); it has to get the police and courts to enforce laws passed by Parliament.

      Parliament has some powers of its own, specifically designed to deal with situations like this. No doubt there's a few lawyers out there doing some rapid research as to the extent of these powers... Any lawyers seeking to challenge this, good luck; who passes the laws in the first place?

      Anyway, nice to see the Parliamentarians not rolling over and saying that there's nothing to be done about Facebook's intransigence. This is an imaginative and opportunistic thing to have done; good thinking. I wonder how they learned he was in London. What's his public FB profile showing?

      Facebook's life has now become very complicated, and if there's anything in this cache it could be game over for FB. Even if there's nothing damming enough for a conviction, Parliament doesn't need that. All it needs is enough to justify to government the need to change or introduce laws to bring FB et al into line (tax, data privacy oversight, etc).

      Popcorn time indeed!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not Government

        "I wonder how they learned he was in London. "

        Remember: he's in litigation *against* Facepalm.

        So his resistance will satisfy the Californian court that he's not in contempt of whatever Orders have been made.

        Win-win!.

        1. A. Coatsworth
          Pint

          Re: Not Government

          Important difference in deed, thanks for the clarification!

          I can barely grasp how my country's government works, so understanding the nuances of the organization of UK is way beyond my depth.

          At any rate, the point is that it is refreshing seeing *action* against FB, and action that comes fro mthe highest level possible.

      2. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: Not Government

        "Strictly speaking this isn't the UK government doing this, rather it's the UK Parliament. The distinction is important."

        It is the UK government doing it, just not the UK Government, which is the name for the executive branch of the UK government. The other two branches are of course the legislature (UK Parliament) and the judiciary, which as far as I can tell doesn't have an official name as such, but consists of the Supreme Court, the Senior Court (subdivided into Crown Court, the Court of Appeal and the High Court (which is itself subdivided into the Queen's Bench, Chancery and Family Divisions)) and Subordinate Courts.

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Not Government

        "This is an imaginative and opportunistic thing to have done; good thinking. I wonder how they learned he was in London."

        I was wondering the same. What was the guy doing in London with documents under seal by a US court?

        Is either he or his company UK based? Was he legally retrieving documents from Facebook UK under US discovery to take back to the US? Does said US court have the power, even under discovery, to demand documents from Facebook UK in the first place? Even if so, why would Facebook UK accede to the demands of the US legal system? MS Ireland have already stood up to similar demands so why would Facebook roll over. Or was this guy just on holiday/business trip to the UK and decided he might like to study the documents while here? There's a lot missing from this story.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    An early Christmas?

    I've been watching this case for several months now and was waiting like an impatient kid at Christmas for April 2019 (date the case is due in California court)

    Some other interesting claims made by this shady app developer are that Facebook had the ability to remotely enable users Bluetooth and microphone on their mobile devices.

    And while I fully believe the claims that Zuck was totally aware of the data abuse, I must also consider the source of these claims is a disgruntled developer of an equally shady app.

    I would also like to know more about these documents that were handed over (or seized) by the UK's lawmakers.

    It seems odd to me that this app developer with a grudge would be in London carrying around said documents right after more daming news against Facebook has come to light.

    Seems too much of a setup for my taste.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: An early Christmas?

      "It seems odd to me that this app developer with a grudge would be in London carrying around said documents"

      Not to mention that the Committee got to know about it. Or maybe they just heard he was in town, decided to call him as a witness and got lucky. Or maybe he didn't have the documents on him but was made an offer he couldn't refuse to produce them even if he had to download them to do so.

      As Aladdin Sane said - popcorn.

      1. post-truth

        Re: An early Christmas?

        He merely has to resist. Then he's not in contempt. Win-win.

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: An early Christmas?

      "I must also consider the source of these claims is a disgruntled developer of an equally shady app."

      The source of the claims is irrelevant.

      The documentation is what matters - and the UK doesn't have "fruit of the poisoned tree" doctrine.

      "It seems odd to me that this app developer with a grudge would be in London carrying around said documents right after more daming news against Facebook has come to light."

      I doubt he was carrying them. He was told to produce them - "or else". Electronic copies are easy to FTP.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: An early Christmas?

        The documentation is what matters - and the UK doesn't have "fruit of the poisoned tree" doctrine.

        Not that that would make any difference. That doctrine only comes into play for a court verdict. What a Parliamentary Committee does is publish reports and it's quite clear that FB really really don't want this published. Perhaps it's starting to dawn on Zuckerberg that refusing to appear before the Committee might not have been the brightest idea. No matter how many LibDem peers he appoints it's not going to make up for having been uncooperative - to put it at its mildest.

        I wonder how long they'll string this out, just for badness. Drop a hint that it's not too late for him to drop by and then postpone at the last minute because they have to attend the Brexit debate. A bit of cat and mouse would be well deserved.

  13. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

    Was wondering when you'd cover this

    I think it's one of the most interesting tech stories of the year to date.

    * Will we see US companies throwing their toys out of the pram and refusing to come at all, or arriving with burner laptops/phones in the same way security-minded folk do when going to the states?

    * Will the US gummint equally throw their toys out of the pram for a foreign country daring to assert their will over a US-based money spinner?

    * Will the UK finally grow a backbone when dealing with the US? Ha, just kidding on that last one.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Was wondering when you'd cover this

      * Will the US gummint equally throw their toys out of the pram for a foreign country daring to assert their will over a US-based money spinner?

      Yes. The current precedent base for the interpretation of the 14th amendment to the USA constitution does not leave USA courts or the USA government for that matter with any choice. They are obliged to enforce American Law globally.

      That would have been fantastic if USA had the same clause in their constitution as EVERY EUROPEAN country which has one (no comment on the one that does not). Namely, all of them have a clause about the PRIMACY of International law. Even Switzerland has it - the local Trump/Farage analogues there tried to repeal it last week (or was it the week before?) in a referendum and failed.

      Unfortunately USA does not which results in a couple of natural conclusions.

      First of all, any international obligation taken by USA has roughly the value if it was embossed on Andrex and located in the bog. Even a village can put in an ordinance that makes it void. Ditto for states, House and Senate.

      Second, any treaty, deal or agreement with them always ends in I am altering the deal, pray I do not alter it any further

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: Was wondering when you'd cover this

        "That would have been fantastic if USA had the same clause in their constitution as EVERY EUROPEAN country which has one (no comment on the one that does not)."

        I don't know if it's possible, under the UK constitution, to place international law above domestic law. It would be utterly incompatible with Parliamentary Sovereignty, as whichever Parliament signed such a constitutional bill would see it struck down by the next. So Parlimentary Sovereignty would have to be removed. That's the central doctrine of UK constitutional law, and so that would, more or less, be considered a revolution.

  14. Teiwaz Silver badge

    Sergeant at Arms

    The old historically preserved title really does preserve the real truth.

    Whether you agree with the act or not or believe it justified or not,

    They sent round the modern equivalent of an armed goon to take something.

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Sergeant at Arms

      Armed goons who rock up to seize things in the US.

      Start with FBI ... then all the way down to a local cop in Hicksville. Point out a country where this wouldn't happen.

      The commons 'Serjeant at arms' has been doing this for 500 years.

    2. localzuk

      Re: Sergeant at Arms

      Think of the Serjeant-at-Arms of the House of Commons as someone akin a bailiff of a court. They are not an "armed goon". They enforce orders made by the main democratic house of government of the UK.

      I'm fairly sure they aren't armed either, unless you count a ceremonial mace which opens Parliament.

      Funnily enough, the USA has them as well. The House of Representatives has currently elected Paul D Irving, and the Senate has Michael C Stenger.

      1. Stevie Silver badge

        Re: Sergeant at Arms

        Speaker of the House (looks up from papers on desk with face like thunder): "Get me ... The Sarge!"

      2. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        Re: Sergeant at Arms

        The Serjeant-at-Arms of the House of Commons is the only person allowed to wear a sword in the chamber (oo-er).

      3. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: Sergeant at Arms

        "I'm fairly sure they aren't armed either, unless you count a ceremonial mace which opens Parliament."

        Just mentally noting that if ever Michael Heseltine is made Serjeant-at-Arms, I should steer well clear.

    3. rmason Silver badge

      Re: Sergeant at Arms

      He's about 60. He's a big fella, but he's about at retirement age!

      He will have been armed, with the threat of a fine and/or being shut up somewhere horrible for a bit.

    4. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Sergeant at Arms

      modern equivalent of an armed goon to take something

      Sargents-at-Arms are not armed (and haven't been since about the 17th century). Anything they achieve they use via the means of law, not naked force of arms..

  15. Harry Stottle

    Missing Information

    First off, brilliant stroke by Parliament. For a change, someone was awake at the wheel.

    But

    a) how and why was the "victim" of this attack carrying such sensitive data around with him in the UK or, if he wasn't, how could he be compelled, with no legal role in FB, to access and hand over the data?

    b) how did the authorities over here even learn that the opportunity existed?

    Regardless, I'm impressed.

    1. Andy 73

      Re: Missing Information

      The implication (which has to be carefully couched for fear of all sorts of consequences) is that the person in question came over here with foreknowledge that he would be compelled to hand over any documents he just happened to have on his person.

      The sergeant at arms stuff would then be theatre to legitimise the transfer of sealed documents to a foreign power.

      The interesting thing is going to be seeing how much of a deal this all is. At the end of the day, it rather depends how much actual influence a jumped up marketing company really has over its audience, and whether all of that influence was exerted only in one direction. Zuck certainly doesn't gather admirers, but whether he's actually competently evil is another question...

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Missing Information

        "The implication (which has to be carefully couched for fear of all sorts of consequences) is that the person in question came over here with foreknowledge that he would be compelled to hand over any documents he just happened to have on his person."

        This is what it looks like to me.

        In the US, it isn't that rare for someone who has access to data that is of interest to the government to tell the government that they have access to it, and that they would be happy to provide it -- but they need to be presented with a subpoena anyway, because it gives them legal cover. This smells a bit like the British version of the same sort of deal.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Missing Information

          Completely guessing, but someone who turns a buck finding and selling pictures of your mum in her skivvies (which is essentially what this app did) sounds like someone susceptible to financial inducements.

      2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Missing Information

        he person in question came over here with foreknowledge that he would be compelled to hand over any documents he just happened to have on his person

        Or on Dropbox (which Ars Technica identifies as being the source of the files - which were then copied to a USB stick).

        Which doesn't require much forethought since that's probably where they were kept anyway.

    2. Christoph Silver badge

      Re: Missing Information

      Well, quite. Why should he bring such sensitive documents into another jurisdiction? Even if he needed to work on some, why the entire cache?

      Something is very odd here.

    3. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: Missing Information

      First off, brilliant stroke by Parliament. For a change, someone was awake at the wheel.

      But

      a) how and why was the "victim" of this attack carrying such sensitive data around with him in the UK or, if he wasn't, how could he be compelled, with no legal role in FB, to access and hand over the data?

      b) how did the authorities over here even learn that the opportunity existed?

      How about the answer to both questions being "because it was a set up". The CEO of Six4Three can't release the files to the public because of a US court order. The CEO wants to release files to the public to help in his battle with Facebook. The CEO just happens to come to the UK carrying a copy of the files, which he doesn't need for the journey, and the parliamentary committee just happens to find out he's got them, and sends round the boys.

      The CEO (possibly) has a defence of force majeure against the charge he revealed sealed documents, the DCMS committee gets their hands on documents they want and look like heroes. Both parties are happy.

      1. WorsleyNick

        Re: Missing Information

        If it was a setup, then one hopes that he did not leave a data trail (email/sms etc) that led the committee to know that the package was there for the taking. Face to face after running into Newspaper man in the Hotel lobby might do, anything as long as there was no data trail.

    4. Dazed and Confused Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Missing Information

      But

      a) how and why was the "victim" of this attack carrying such sensitive data around with him in the UK...

      A couple of thoughts.

      1) Who can be arsed to clean up their PC before making foreign trips. He probably just had the stuff all over his disk. 14 copies in different emails and a few actual copies in folders he was working on at various times.

      2) He was over in London consulting with legal types for fresh approaches to the attack. He presumably allowed to discuss the stuff with lawyers. Alternatively he's talking to banking types about financing the legal case. Sure there are these services in the US, but he might be thinking it never hurts to get a second opinion.

      Beer? coz it's beer o'clock and this all sounds like a pub conversation.

      1. whitepines Silver badge

        Re: Missing Information

        I'd go with 1.) but with a modern twist. Who bothers restricting access to files they can normally access "in the cloud" before taking a foreign trip? This should be standard policy, that any employee has their account locked before a trip (after they pull the files they do need onto a clean laptop) but I know of almost no one doing so.

        Maybe that will change now?

    5. post-truth

      Re: Missing Information

      Win-win. Well played by both sides.

  16. adam payne Silver badge

    British MPs have made unprecedented use of Parliamentary powers to send a serjeant at arms to the hotel where the boss of a US software biz was staying to seize potentially damaging documents on Facebook.

    Well maybe not all of our MPs are gutless after all.

    I'm impressed and shocked at the same time.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Probably just a coincidence how this Ted bloke comes all over the way over to the U, just happens to be carrying the exact documents sought by the Committee, who just happen to know which hotel he holed up in, and then whole panto just happens to make The Observer's publication deadline under the byline of somebody who writes specifically on the topic of Facebook or big-tech privacy breaches?

    Great theatre.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "Great theatre."

      Is this the interval now? Have I got time go get an ice cream or drink?

  18. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge

    Contempt?

    So is this Ted Kramer guy now in contempt of the US court that sealed the documents? I seriously doubt the fact that he had to comply with the UK laws is a valid defence. After all, he didn't have to take the docs on an overseas trip with him. If he needed to work on them he could have accessed them remotely.

    Which begs the question: would the UK authorities apply the law that mandates disclosure of (VPN) credentials to him?

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Contempt?

      "would the UK authorities apply the law that mandates disclosure of (VPN) credentials to him?"

      No, they just tell him to produce the documents. How he does that is his problem.

  19. chivo243 Silver badge
    Happy

    It's time

    That the neighborhood bully took Marky out on the playground and stole his lunch money, for starters. Reg readers please feel free to add insult to Marky's injuries

    1. Steal his lunch money

    2.

    1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Re: It's time

      2. is obvious. Put his head down the bog and flush it, then post the pictures on Instagram, Baidu and vKontaktye.

  20. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

    I rather love the irony..

    .. of Facebook getting zuckered by the exact same method Facebook itself has used to skirt the laws: they asked the data from someone else.

    If only I could believe Parliament was capable of doing something that ironic deliberately..

    :)

  21. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Richard Allan aka Lord Allan

    RCJ on the BBC...

    Mr Allan is actually Lord Allan, a former Liberal Democrat MP given a peerage by Nick Clegg, who in a strange turn of events has now become Facebook's global public-relations and policy chief.

    On Tuesday, they hold a public hearing where Lord Allan, of Facebook, will be one of the witnesses and could face cross-examination about information the American legal system says should remain private.

    Time for some popcorn

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: Richard Allan aka Lord Allan

      I've been wondering who introduced the Political Featherweight Clegg to Zuckerberg

      1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

        Re: Richard Allan aka Lord Allan

        Clegg may be a political featherweight, but he is far more aristocratic than Cameron, Rees-Mogg or Johnson and has far more connections. I suspect it's only choosing the wrong party that prevented him from being PM. He has all the other attributes, including the ability to do handbrake turns on policy.

  22. This post has been deleted by its author

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    data hose

    I'm thinking another kind of hose, hoses.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Parliament has teeth ....... and uses them properly for once !!!

    Somewhat surprised that so many people are asking why the CEO of Six4Three had the documents on him ???

    Remember he was surprised by the House of Commons serjeant-at-arms in his hotel and after refusing to comply with the requests for the data, marched off to Parliament to be threatened with fines/prison *now*.

    Most people would give some thought to avoiding being sent to prison in a foreign country.

    He would simply obtain via email or remote login whatever was required and plead to the US courts that he was compelled by threat of imprisonment to hand over the sealed data.

    I know I would not go out of my way to defend Facebook and their so called privacy by going to a foreign prison.

    Well done parliament for keeping up the pressure and using our laws for *our* benefit rather than Mega Corporations getting their own way as per usual.

    Damian Collins should be in line for a Knighthood for services to the country, for real, rather than the usual reward for supporting some weak PM or other in an hour of need.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Move fast, break everything....

    "Facebook defrauded app developers by changing data access policies."

    In Menlo Park that's called a business model.

  26. ThatOne Silver badge
    Devil

    Naive?

    It's all a plot to be given some juicy exec jobs at Facebook too, after which the whole unpleasantness will suddenly disappear. Papers? What papers?

  27. cantankerous swineherd Silver badge

    paging nick clegg

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      paging nick clegg

      Bugger all the Bugger All Democrats will do for you.

    2. I don't know any "Spartacus", my Lord

      Reminds me of the old joke "Would Nick Clegg come to the lost property office, please, that's a Mr Nick Clegg to the lost property offfice, where we have your spine. . "

  28. GeordieSteve

    For a long time now I have felt that Europe needed its own OS's, Search engines, Social media etc.

    The thought that something like a young person posting something stupid online and thirty years later that post being used by a foreign government (currently probably the US) to black mail them to me is a real threat to Europe's security. I am surprised that the political classes in Europe have not considered such dangers to their independence.

  29. Scott 53

    Do people really do this?

    This is not what I aim to do when I mirror my screen.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In light of resent events on the use of Parliamentary powers to seize papers from Facebook and the use spying apps used to weaponize data it's not implausible that Facebook provides the data to third parties by looking the other way and therefore damaging democratic principles and constitutions of other countries as a consequences changing the outcome of future events. In the UK Parliamentary powers (As some of you have said "To the Tower") is serious.

  31. Susan Vash

    """The app dev said it had invested $250,000 in an utterly charming app that allowed users to find pictures of their friends' friends in bikinis"""

    Seriously?

    Another reason as to why I refuse to use FaceBook. I may not be missed, but at least my skimpy's are not public display.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019