In recent months, Facebook has faced intense public scrutiny over its privacy policies and data collection. However, one lawmaker escalated the rhetoric in a major way this week, floating the possibility that Mark Zuckerberg could face prison time for Facebook’s repeated privacy violations.
“Mark Zuckerberg has repeatedly lied to the American people about privacy,” U.S. Senator Ron Wyden said in an interview with Willamette Week. “I think he ought to be held personally accountable, which is everything from financial fines to — and let me underline this — the possibility of a prison term. Because he hurt a lot of people. And, by the way, there is a precedent for this: In financial services, if the CEO and the executives lie about the financials, they can be held personally accountable.”
While this may seem extreme, Wyden’s word carries weight — the senator played a prominent role in the creation of early legislation that ensured a free and open Internet.
Of course, it’s highly unlikely that Zuckerberg would ever be faced with this kind of legal jeopardy. But still, Wyden’s point stands. When tech giants leave their users vulnerable or even invade their privacy themselves, these companies should not be immune from the consequences.
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