Washington, D.C., Suing Facebook Over Data Privacy Violations

Today’s topics include Washington D.C., suing Facebook over data privacy, and AT&T making 5G services available in some U.S. cities.

According to The New York Times, Facebook allowed other companies essentially unrestricted access to user data, including private messages, at least through late summer 2018 despite Facebook executives promising that it would never sell or allow access to personal data, and despite sworn testimony in hearings before Congress saying the same thing.

On Dec. 19, the Attorney General of the District of Columbia announced that Washington, D.C., is suing Facebook for damages as a result of the Cambridge Analytica data sharing from earlier this year. Karl Racine, the District of Columbia’s AG, said the “lawsuit is about making Facebook live up to its promise to protect its users’ privacy.”

The suit is likely to be followed by more lawsuits brought by attorneys general in a number of states. Eventually, these lawsuits could yield some compensation for Facebook’s victims within that jurisdiction.

AT&T is making 5G services available to a limited number of select business and consumer customers in parts of 12 U.S. cities using a special Netgear 5G hotspot device.

According to a Dec. 18 announcement from AT&T, the 5G hotspot services are available in parts of Atlanta; Charlotte, N.C.; Dallas; Houston; Indianapolis; Jacksonville, Fla.; Louisville, Ky.; Oklahoma City; New Orleans; Raleigh, N.C.; San Antonio; and Waco, Texas.

The initial launch is starting small and is limited at this point, but as the 5G ecosystem evolves, customers will see enhancements in coverage, speeds and devices, the company said.

Mobile 5G services will come to seven additional cities in the first half of 2019, including in Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Nashville, Tenn.; Orlando, Fla.; San Diego; San Francisco; and San Jose, Calif.