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Frerichs wants Zuckerberg out at Facebook

Monday, Apr 16, 2018

* USA Today

Mark Zuckerberg’s tight grip on Facebook is under growing scrutiny as investors call for the giant social network to name an independent chairman. […]

“In essence Mr. Zuckerberg is not accountable to anyone. Not the board, nor the shareholders,” Michael W. Frerichs, the state treasurer of Illinois, who oversees investments including college savings for citizens of the state, told the Financial Times. “Right now, Mr. Zuckerberg is his own boss and it’s clearly not working.”

Frerichs is supporting a proposal from New York City comptroller Scott Stringer, who oversees his city’s pension funds which have a $1 billion stake in Facebook. Stringer has called on the Silicon Valley company to name an independent chairman and three new independent directors with “specific expertise in data and ethics.”

“They have not comported themselves in a way that I think makes people feel good about Facebook and secure about their own data,” Stringer said on CNBC. “And that’s going to hurt the brand.”

* Meanwhile, if you’ve been wondering about what’s behind at least part of the biometric bill that proponents say will give the state law a much-needed update and opponents say will “gut” the law, look no further than this lawsuit

U.S. District Judge James Donato’s decision to let the class-action case proceed means that Facebook is still potentially on the hook for fines under a unique Illinois law of $1,000 to $5,000 each time a person’s image is used without permission. A court victory for consumers could lead to new restrictions on Facebook’s use of biometrics in the U.S., similar to those in Europe and Canada.

“When an online service simply disregards the Illinois procedures, as Facebook is alleged to have done, the right of the individual to maintain her biometric privacy vanishes into thin air,” Donato wrote in [February’s] ruling. “The precise harm the Illinois legislature sought to prevent is then realized.” […]

The Illinois residents who sued under the Biometric Information Privacy Act said the 2008 state law gives them a “property interest” in the algorithms that constitute their digital identities — in other words, gives them grounds to accuse Facebook of real harm.

Facebook, which got the case moved to San Francisco from Illinois, argued the users hadn’t suffered a concrete injury such as physical harm, loss of money or property; or a denial of their right to free speech or religion.

Donato concluded that the alleged violation of the user-consent requirement in the Illinois law goes to “the very privacy rights the Illinois legislature sought to protect.”

Needless to say, $5,000 per violation could add up to a truly gargantuan payout by Facebook.

* Related…

* Illinois Biometric Privacy Law—and Effort to Carve Out Exceptions—Gets Moment in Spotlight at Facebook Hearing

* Illinois’ Cook County Sues Facebook and Cambridge Analytica for Alleged Fraud

- Posted by Rich Miller        

12 Comments »
  1. - truth - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 11:40 am:

    Better watch out Zuckerberg, the Illinois State Treasurer has it out for you.


  2. - walker - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 11:46 am:

    And I’d like no snow in April.


  3. - City Zen - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 11:49 am:

    You can show support for our state treasurer on any one of his multiple Facebook pages.


  4. - Phenomynous - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 12:14 pm:

    “I want my money back. And I want angels to give it to me. And pixies to count it out, and a gnome or a hobbit or an elf to sleep at the foot of my bed, and have - I just want them all over my backyard. But no matter what happens with any of that, I DO want my money back.”


  5. - Just Me - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 12:28 pm:

    Before our State Treasurer starts trying to run private companies, he should help Illinois get its act together first.


  6. - Driveby - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 12:39 pm:

    The Facebook stock on which Frerichs is playing activist investor aren’t even the state’s! They’re in 529 college savings accounts. Only those account holder should be deciding if they want to be social justice warriors.


  7. - cdog - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 12:46 pm:

    Of course I am not a lawyer, but I find it notable that a complaint filed which cites Illinois law, by Illinois residents, was moved to the Northern CA District with an Obama appointed judge.

    How’s that work? So a plaintiff wanting to challenge Silicon Valley’s creepy version of ethics has to fight them on their home turf?

    The little guy just hardly stands a chance as this whole digital-age keeps evolving.


  8. - Sue - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 1:08 pm:

    This would be funny if it weren’t true that Illinois has been an awful manager of its own affairs. I would rather have someone with Zuck’s Acumen overseeing our affairs rather then a guy like our treasurer


  9. - Anonymous - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 1:44 pm:

    ==How’s that work? So a plaintiff wanting to challenge Silicon Valley’s creepy version of ethics has to fight them on their home turf?==

    Federal law regarding venue requires many types of lawsuits be heard where the defendant “resides”.


  10. - Radio Flyer - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 2:53 pm:

    $1000 to $5000 per person. That would be a real boost to Illinois’ economy. Better than a tax cut.


  11. - Rich Miller - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 2:59 pm:

    ===per person===

    Per violation. Big difference. The exposure could be huge.


  12. - Radio Flyer - Monday, Apr 16, 18 @ 3:21 pm:

    Yikes. Good idea to limit exposure to Facebook stock, then.


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