Federal prosecutors are pursuing a criminal investigation into Facebook’s data deals it made with large tech companies, The New York Times reported today.
According to the reports of The Times, a grand jury in New York has been conducting the investigation and subpoenaed records from at least two large companies that make smartphones. The companies struck deals with Facebook to access user data like friend lists and contact information, without explicit consent from its users.
A Facebook spokesperson has said: “It has already been reported that there are ongoing federal investigations, including by the Department of Justice. As we’ve said before, we are cooperating with investigators and take those probes seriously. We’ve provided public testimony, answered questions, and pledged that we will continue to do so.”
In June The Times reported that Facebook was sharing user data with manufacturers like Apple, Samsung and Blackberry. The deals were made in order to help Facebook build apps for companies’s respective devices. The move was meant to help both Facebook and the companies building the devices people used to access Facebook products.
The Justice Department also started a specific investigation regarding Cambridge Analytica-specific into Facebook. Following the scandal, US lawmakers held hearings and began to press tech company executives on their data practices. Leaders in Congress have called for overarching data privacy legislation to be passed later this year.