Durbin questions Zuckerberg on right to privacy, Facebook data breach

Kristina Karisch, Development and Recruitment Editor

At a joint Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committee hearing Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) brought up the issue of data privacy by asking Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg if he would publicly disclose private information to the committee.

Zuckerberg testified to lawmakers about Facebook’s role in a data breach involving Cambridge Analytica, a UK-based firm that harvested private data of up to 87 million Facebook users through an outside researcher. Additionally, senators investigated Facebook’s role in alleged foreign meddling in the 2016 presidential election, following the discovery of Russian-operated sites that had distributed partisan political content.

To make a point about the information Facebook allowed third-party organizations to make public, Durbin asked Zuckerberg if he would share personal information with the committee.

“Mr. Zuckerberg, would you be comfortable sharing with us the name of the hotel you stayed in last night?” Durbin said.

Zuckerberg hesitated before telling Durbin he would not be comfortable sharing the information publicly, and similarly would not want to publicize the names of people he had messaged in the past week.

“I think that may be what this is all about: your right to privacy — the limits of your right to privacy, and how much you give away in modern America in the name of, quote, connecting people around the world,” Durbin said.

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