Facebook 'show of remorse' not enough in data scandal: German official

Updated 2018-03-29 10:40:04 Xinhua

Johannes Caspar, the German government official responsible for policing the activities of Facebook, on Wednesday criticized the U.S. social media company's reaction in the ongoing Cambridge Analytical data scandal.

"In so far it must be feared that this scandal will not result in any concrete consequences beyond Facebook's apology statement and show of remorse," Caspar told the newspaper "Handelsblatt".

"It is and will remain Facebook's business model to collect data and make it accessible to people with the right profiles in exchange for money," he said.

Caspar attended a high-level meeting between German Justice Minster Katarina Barley (SPD) and senior Facebook representatives in Berlin on Monday.

The data protection officer subsequently lamented that no convincing proposals had been made on behalf of Facebook to redress the situation.

Barley has demanded a "comprehensive investigation" into whether German users were affected by the illegal use of information from millions of Facebook profiles during "electoral strategy" work by the company Cambridge Analytica for the U.S. Trump presidential campaign and the British Leave campaign during the Brexit referendum.

The justice minister went as far as to describe the social network as a "threat to democracy and the rule of law". She further emphasized that it was the responsibility and right of the European Union (EU) and its member state governments to determine the rules of the game by which tech companies must operate in the bloc.

According to media reports, Cambridge Analytica used an application designed by the Russian academic Aleksandr Kogan to illegally access the data of around 50 million Facebook users. The information was used for targeted campaign advertisements, "micro-targeting" to sway voters in favor of casting their ballot for U.S. President Donald Trump or to vote Leave in the British referendum.

In a recent appearance before the British parliament, ex-Cambridge programmer Christopher Wylie shocked delegates by stating that he had not doubt that his former employer had manipulated the Brexit referendum and broken the law.

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