EPIC Challenges FTC's Withholdings of Records Regarding Irish Audits of Facebook

EPIC has submitted a Freedom of Information Act appeal challenging the Federal Trade Commission's withholdings of 42 pages of records about the Irish Data Protection Commissioner's inquiries regarding Facebook's compliance with the FTC Consent Order In response to EPIC's FOIA request the FTC released 413 pages of publicly available documents but withheld 42 pages in full under several exemptions, including an exemption protecting records compiled for law enforcement purposes. In 2011 the Irish Data Protection Commissioner initiated an audit of Facebook Ireland, a subsidiary of Facebook that is responsible for data protection for all Facebook users outside of the U.S. and Canada, to assess its compliance with both Irish Data Protection law and EU law. The 2011 audit found that the safeguards for third party applications did not ensure security for user data. The 2012 re-audit found a "satisfactory response" from Facebook regarding preventing third party applications from accessing unauthorized user information. Following the 2012 re-audit, the FTC and Irish Data Protection Commissioner signed a Memorandum of Understanding to mutually assist and exchange information to protect consumer privacy. Two years after the Irish Data Protection Commissioner determined a "satisfactory response," Cambridge Analytica improperly harvested the personal data of millions of users to use for political purposes. The FTC announced that it was reopening the Facebook investigation after the Cambridge Analytica scandal but to date, there has been no announcement, no report, and no fine. EPIC is holding FTC accountable to its 2011 consent order enforcement obligations in EPIC v. FTC seeking the full release of the Facebook Assessments and related records.


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