NDP minister calls for Facebook investigation following UK media reports

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TORONTO — NDP MP Charlie Angus is calling for an investigation into Facebook’s conduct following U.K. media reports that alleged a former federal infrastructure minister was pressured into making privacy commitments in order to land a Facebook data centre in Canada.

In a letter to the federal lobbying commissioner Nancy Belanger, Angus says he would like the government to look into reports from The Observer and Computer Weekly that allege former Conservative minister Christian Paradis assured Facebook Canada the government would not seek jurisdiction over non-Canada data if a data centre was constructed in Canada.

The Canadian Press has not viewed the documents or been able to independently verify the contents, and requests to Paradis for comments have gone unanswered.

Angus outlines in his letter that he cannot find any record of meetings between Paradis’ office and Facebook and says this is part of a “pattern of avoidance” for disclosing meetings that he previously complained about to Facebook Canada’s head of public policy Kevin Chan.

Angus says he fears this case is the “tip of the iceberg” and is particularly concerned because of the “huge economic power” of Facebook and its ability to have government policies bend to meet their preferences.

A Facebook Canada spokesperson said in an email to The Canadian Press that the company can say little about the allegations because the stories are based on documents that were sealed by a California court and are designed to “tell one side of a story and omit important context.”

 

Tara Deschamps, The Canadian Press

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