Since 2008, the U.S. Congress has been without a moral voice of Tom Lantos's power. Lantos, the Representative and Holocaust survivor who notoriously called Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang and his cohorts moral pygmies for helping the Chinese government capture and imprison journalist Shi Tao, was relentless in criticizing repression.
But in this post-Lantos age, Congressmen Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Joe Barton (R-Texas) have done their best to push, kidney-punch, brow-beat and shame Facebook and other such companies into a semblance of responsibility. Their latest act in that vein is to demand an explanation regarding the company's latest in a long line of security breaches and privacy problems.
Symantec discovered a flaw in the social network that gave advertisers and third-party developers access to users' personal information.Recently, the computer security company
Markety and Barton sent Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg a letter [PDF] demanding an explanation for the breach by June 2.
"While Facebook reportedly now has fixed this particular issue, we remain concerned about how the problem arose in the first place, was allowed to persist undetected for such a long period of time, and could recur some time in the future...This issue is one that cannot be ignored and our concerns about Facebook's privacy policies are continuously increasing."
The questions they have sent include duration of the vulnerability (possibly years), Facebook's awareness by of the problem, the methods they used to determine that no user information allegedly wound up in the hands of a third-party and how the problem could have come to pass in the first place.
Markey and Barton's previous Facebook inquiry was over its plans to do purposefully what it allegedly did accidentally with the recent security flaw, share personal user information with third parties.
Other sources: LA Times