From their refusal letter:
"You will appreciate that it would be inappropriate to provide personal data of our users to any third party absent a lawful basis for such disclosure."
I think this makes sense, today it's about this advertiser, but if they set this precedent, what is stopping them from requesting information on their competitors in their next election?
Plus equally important is it chilling the political speech of their opponents out of fear of state retribution.
Democracy would be in a worse place if there was no accountability.
I'm as staunch a defender of free speech as anyone, but at least take ownership of the things you are freely saying.
If the CEO of Ford was gay or pro-choice, should she be deterred from supporting such causes because many of the people who buy Ford trucks have contrary opinions?
And being forced to support marginalized causes in public rather than in private will de fact out you as a member of that class. Which means less support for marginalized people, by the full measure of what they could get in private but not in public.
Moreover, what is knowing the source of money supposed to get you? If you see some "climate change is a hoax" rhetoric, you don't need a paper trail to know who is behind it, and the answer in any case is to disprove it rather than ad hom the funding source.
Not at all necessarily - this is what allyship is all about.
> ad hom the funding source
Some funding sources may be illegal, and I would hope that tracing advertising to foreign intelligence agencies would do something to discredit it.
That doesn't really work. It means that you have to disguise support for your cause by spending most of your resources to support several other causes which may themselves already have more support than yours.
Moreover, "mix your money into a pool of money from other people that then goes where you want it without anyone being able to tell who sent what where" is basically how money laundering works. If that is allowed then you might as well abandon the pretense of tracing the money to begin with, because the "bad guys" will just do the same thing.
> Some funding sources may be illegal, and I would hope that tracing advertising to foreign intelligence agencies would do something to discredit it.
That is still basically an ad hominem attack. If the Russians get hold of Clinton's emails and release them, the fact that it was the Russians releasing them doesn't do much to disprove that she wrote them.
Moreover, if the funding source is a foreign intelligence agency, it's not as if they're going to file a disclosure statement saying "Funding Source: KGB" instead of using the name of a cutout. You have to prove it was them using some other means than what they disclosed, which makes the disclosure requirement pretty useless at catching the bad guys while still imposing real costs on people who are not doing anything wrong.
don't you? It could be that ethical supermarket that you shop at because you think it shares your values.
"If the CEO of Ford...."
I suppose as an investor, theres a good case to be made that you should know the true opinions of the CEO. If they say in public they're neutral on gay rights, shouldn't you expect them to behave that way. I'm not a lawyer so I'm not sure how that would play out.
Note I am a bit unsatisfied with the thought police aspect of that line of reasoning though.
The former, I have sympathy, and we probably need to get better as a society at dealing with it.
The latter not so much, especially if you're paying for your podium.
What issue is this stuff being out in the open?
If its hidden on the other hand, how do you enforce financing limits, hold people to account for inaccurate advertising, check that Russia isn't trying to influence your election.
And looking at it from the other side, if you don't want people to know you're funding political adverts, why not?
What's wrong with that?
This information should be publicly available. If you're running political advocacy ads, your funding sources and the ads you run should be available to all for review.
All "election material" in the UK is required to carry an imprint saying who published it. Either the unknown advertiser here or Facebook themselves are probably breaking the law, although up until now this has not been well-enforced on websites.
This law exists to prevent British politics being flooded by unaccountable lies, and this seems to have broken down quite badly just now. In fact, I don't think there was more than a tiny amount of political Facebook advertising carried out by third parties prior to 2010 elections.
Now, that's not remotely to say that imprint law isn't flouted during campaigns, I've absolutely seen literature going out that looked very like (though couldn't be proved as) party-distributed literature trying to influence an election but which didn't contain an imprint. But, this isn't a breach of that particular law.
It looks from that document like Facebook is fine; the 'social media' section is about the obligations of posters to handle their own imprinting, and the fact that a shortened link to the imprint suffices means there doesn't need to be a requirement for an on-platform imprint. Presumably it's the same rationale as not adding the printer's info to a newspaper advertisement; the 'printer' is obviously the platform running the ad.
I suppose the alternative argument is that social media posts, like newspaper ads, use Facebook as their printer, but using Facebook tools to run an ad campaign targeting a segment of voters renders Facebook the promoter for a group and therefore responsible. Of course, that wouldn't create an obligation to disclose to the committee today; if the accusation sticks the offense has already happened.
Edit: The best person to send this to is actually Carole Cadwalladr. But she has unfortunately no set-up that wouldn't eventually get you in hot water.
"in the event that Facebook receives a request for personal data from an entity which can legally require such information, Facebook will provide information in line with normal procedures. "
You are talking about Facebook higher-ups. Who on the face of it, have to abide by the law.
The OP said:
> if there is anybody out there working at facebook who has access to the info
He's talking about an activist/whistle-blower working at facebook who may have access. Who undercover can leak information.
Totally different things here.
There should be no secrecy in political advertisement funding.
But then didn't the prisoner get released?
That access would certainly be tracked and the person punished very quickly. Facebook takes user data breaches very seriously.
Are Facebook trying to taunt the ICO into breaking the GDPR provision for legal basis?
In this case someone with a history of mental illness still premeditated to commit a political assassination.
"He had searched the internet for information about the British National Party, apartheid, the Ku Klux Klan, prominent Jewish people, matricide,white supremacism, Nazism, Waffen SS, Israel, public shootings, serial killers, William Hague, Ian Gow (another assassinated MP), and Norwegian far-right terrorist Anders Behring Breivik (about whose case he collected newspaper clippings)."
He also happened to be mentally ill, but that hardly seems relevant. Suppose Hitler was bipolar (he wasn't, but suppose he was), that would hardly be exculpatory.
Good? Why on earth should governments be allowed to pressure companies to disclose who is advertising on their platform? It's not like this company is breaking into people's houses and forcing them to do things at gun point, they're just running ads. Honestly, if an ad can convince people that your position is bunk, maybe it's not that great of a position to begin with.
So why would you draw a distinction with breaking into a house? The only difference is they have not chosen to break that law, yet.
Not liking the law is an entirely different matter.
In the US, the committee would have to subpoena in order to legally force the answer. Is that not the case here?
But late last year, a select committee exercised these powers anyway: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/nov/24/mps-seize...
What's not abundantly clear is if Parliament can actually still carry through its threat of imprisonment for contempt, if the recipient of the order decides to face down the Serjeant. It's possible that the courts would swiftly issue a writ of Habeas Corpus on the basis that contempt of Parliament is defunct.
It's also possible that the European Court of Human Rights would consider legislative proceedings for contempt to be a breach of the Convention, but as actions of Parliament are outside the reach of the Human Rights Act (which makes the Convention directly applicable in the UK) they have no way of enforcing the decision even if they made it - and it would take months at least to get to the front of the queue.
Unfortunately our oversight committees depend on some fairly ancient ways and powers. Hence the cute story a few months ago of the parliamentary bailiff, which is normally a purely ceremonial role, arresting that Six Three guy passing through the UK.
Perhaps those ancient laws need modernising, as there's certainly a few relics among them. Then again it is only fairly recently they have been started to be treated with contempt.
I disagree. Ideas are powerful and propaganda, media, and advertisement are powerful idea spreaders. This power is totally irrelevant to whether or not the idea is moral, realistic, or even just factually true
This sword cuts both ways. The Remain campaign completely blew the legally mandated spending limits for campaigning in a single mailshot to every home in Britain, let alone things like unbilled time of the civil service. They spent far, far more money than the Leave campaign did.
This, we are told, is OK, because the spending happened a few weeks before the official campaigning period began, and thus the usual rules about political advertising did not apply.
Well, if these rules being applied to the letter can let the Remain campaigners flout the spirit of the spending rules (which is fine by me - that's the point of written rules) then for sure, this campaign also doesn't have to follow any of those rules, as it's outside the election / referendum controlled periods.
As benj111 points out, it was the _Government_, not the Remain campaign. Different rules apply to them (they are prohibited from campaigning _at all_ during the 28 days prior to the referendum). Furthermore, a large percentage of distribution (to England) was done at a spend time when the spending rules did not apply at all (which to my understanding means the Leave campaign could have _also_ spend more during that time).
> They spent far, far more money than the Leave campaign did.
This is an exaggeration. The cost of the mailshot was £9.3m - the Leave campaign could spend up to £7m (in the regulated time - as above, I believe it is unlimited outside of that), with UKIP a further £4m (and other groups could spend up to £700k). More, yes, as the Remain campaign could _also_ spend up to £7m, but "far, far more" feels like an overstatement.
Again, people here are finding ways to excuse behaviour for their favoured team based on legalistic readings of the rules. Which is fine, if it's applied consistently. Of course it isn't because the goal here is not to be fairly applying campaigning rules, but rather to try and stop the UK leaving the EU via any means possible.
Same with the unbilled civil service time.
During an election should the incumbent party be billed for all the extra security for the Prime Minister, Chancellor etc?
We have party politics, sometimes its hard/impossible to separate government from party.
An example of what you don't want is the heavy investment in Brexit and Trump by Russia
Should hostile nation states be allowed to advertise anonymously to influence electoral outcomes?
Do you think the people should get a say in whether hostile nations get to influence electoral outcomes?
The government is the agent of the people.
> This estimates that the UK economy would be 6.3-9% smaller in the long term in a no deal scenario (after around 15 years) than it otherwise would have been when compared with today’s arrangements, assuming no action is taken.
> Although our food supply is diverse, resilient, and sourced from a wide variety of countries, the potential disruption to trade across the Short Channel Crossings would lead to reduced availability and choice of products.
> HMRC has estimated that the administrative burden on businesses from customs declarations alone, on current (2016) UK-EU trade in goods could be around £13bn p.a.
That feels pretty extreme to me.
A no deal Brexit is literally the most extreme Brexit. There is nothing more 'Brexity'.