Social media and tech firms are in hot water
Senator Mark Warner reported on Thursday that his office sent a letter to Alphabet to inquire about its relationship with Chinese technology firms like Huawei, the world’s third largest smartphone manufacturer.
Twitter and Facebook will also be investigated. According to CNNMoney, the Senate Intelligence Committee will ask Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey, and Larry Page about their data-sharing policies with these firms.
Even before this investigation, intelligence officials viewed Huawei as a privacy threat. In fact, the FBI, CIA, and NSA have all stated that US consumers should not buy smartphones from Chinese manufacturers Huawei or ZTE. FBI Director Chris Wray stated,
It provides the capacity to maliciously modify or steal information… And it provides the capacity to conduct undetected espionage.
However, no tech firms have spoken about the allegations. Chinese tech firms Huawei, Xiaomi, and Tencent have all been unreachable or unwilling to comment.
Facebook recently reported that it shared data with multiple Chinese manufacturers so that these companies could make the device most suitable for the app. However, Zuckerberg announced that most of these partnerships would be coming to a close, including their ties with Huawei.
No results have come from the Google or Twitter investigations, but Senator Warner believes that many social media firms have relationships similar to Facebook-Huawei.
Data-sharing has opened a Pandora’s box of allegations and investigations by US lawmakers. Although data helps these firms make better products and expand their companies, they must respect the privacy of their consumers. They ride a fine line between data analysis and exploitation.
Featured image via Flickr/Karlis Dambrans