Coalition of Attorneys General Opens Investigation into Facebook

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Attorneys general from eight states put politics aside today to launch a united investigation into Facebook's alleged anti-competitive business practices. 

The probe will focus on the social media giant's dominance in the industry and assess whether Facebook has stifled competition and put users at risk. 

Leader of the bipartisan coalition and New York attorney general Letitia James said in a statement: “We will use every investigative tool at our disposal to determine whether Facebook’s actions may have endangered consumer data, reduced the quality of consumers’ choices, or increased the price of advertising.”

Joining James on the leadership team investigating Facebook are the attorneys general of Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, and the District of Columbia. 

The news follows a report by machine identity protection provider Venafi that reveals the majority of IT security professionals have no faith in the government when it comes to cybersecurity.

Of the 384 pros questioned while attending Black Hat USA 2019 in Las Vegas, 82% don't trust the government to protect their personally identifiable information and don't believe their elected officials understand cyber risks well enough to develop and enact effective security regulation. 

The results also showed that 80% of respondents believe government officials do not even understand the cyber-risks targeting digital infrastructure. 

The respondents didn't think much of social media either, with 93% saying they do not trust social media organizations to protect their personally identifiable information, and 80% agreeing that more security and privacy legislation is needed, especially for social media organizations that store personal data.

Kevin Bocek, vice president of security strategy and threat intelligence at Venafi, said: "This general lack of understanding of cybersecurity is still universal in the public and private sector; it’s a common problem with regulators, in the board room and executive suites, as well as with politicians." 

Bocek described cybersecurity as a major component of prosperity and freedom for every industry and nation, on a par with economic policy, and called for governments to offer more competitive remuneration to attract top cybersecurity talent.

He said: "In cybersecurity talent is a critical asset; people set strategy and define the technology required to provide security and privacy. Governments need to invest differently and provide incentives to recruit top technical talent, because there are huge incentives to join the private sector."

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