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Facebook, Zuckerberg Criticized For Allegedly Undermining Democratic Institutions

Legal documents reviewed by Reuters show how the investigation by British lawmakers has led them to seize documents relating to Facebook.

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a House Energy and Commerce hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington about the use of Facebook data to target American voters in the 2016 election and data privacy. VOA

Facebook came under fire on Tuesday from lawmakers from several countries who accused the firm of undermining democratic institutions and lambasted chief executive Mark Zuckerberg for not answering questions on the matter.

Facebook is being investigated by lawmakers in Britain after consultancy Cambridge Analytica, which worked on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, obtained the personal data of 87 million Facebook users from a researcher, drawing attention to the use of data analytics in politics.

Cambridge Analytica, zuckerberg
The nameplate of political consultancy, Cambridge Analytica, is seen in central London, Britain. VOA

Concerns over the social media giant’s practices, the role of political adverts and possible interference in the 2016 Brexit vote and U.S. elections are among the topics being investigated by British and European regulators.

While Facebook says it complies with EU data protection laws, a special hearing of lawmakers from several countries around the world in London criticized Zuckerberg for declining to appear himself to answer questions on the topic.

“We’ve never seen anything quite like Facebook, where, while we were playing on our phones and apps, our democratic institutions… seem to have been upended by frat-boy billionaires from California,” Canadian lawmaker Charlie Angus said.

“So Mr. Zuckerberg’s decision not to appear here at Westminster [Britain’s parliament] to me speaks volumes.”

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Avaaz campaigners hold a banner in front of 100 cardboard cutouts of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington. VOA

Documents

Richard Allan, the vice president of policy solutions at Facebook who appeared in Zuckerberg’s stead, admitted Facebook had made mistakes but said it had accepted the need to comply with data rules.

“I’m not going to disagree with you that we’ve damaged public trust through some of the actions we’ve taken,” Allan told the hearing.

Facebook has faced a barrage of criticism from users and lawmakers after it said last year that Russian agents used its platform to spread disinformation before and after the 2016 U.S. presidential election, an accusation Moscow denies.

Allan repeatedly declined to give an example of a person or app banned from Facebook for misuse of data, aside from the GSR app which gathered data in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Also Read: Social Media Laws Should Be Tightened: Germany

Legal documents reviewed by Reuters show how the investigation by British lawmakers has led them to seize documents relating to Facebook from app developer Six4Three, which is in a legal dispute with Facebook.

Damian Collins, chair of the culture committee which convened the hearing, said he would not release those documents on Tuesday as he was not in a position to do so, although he has said previously the committee has the legal power to. (VOA)

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Factors to Consider When Hiring a Defense Attorney in New York City

If you can’t afford to hire an attorney, the court will appoint a public defender for you

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Hiring, Defense Attorney, New York
If you have a good income and you’re capable of hiring your own attorney, then you’re bound to be fine. Pixabay

It’s important for you to know that your income plays a major role when you seek legal representation. If you have a good income and you’re capable of hiring your own attorney, then you’re bound to be fine. However, if you can’t afford to hire an attorney, the court will appoint a public defender for you. The constitution guarantees you the right to be represented by a defense lawyer.

Before you hire a lawyer to represent you in the case, you need to discuss with that attorney about their billing structure, as the cost is one of the major factors to consider. When you explain your case to the lawyer, he/she can be able to determine the amount of money that the case will cost you. The following are other factors you need to consider when hiring a New York City criminal lawyer.

 

  • The skill of the lawyer

 

If the attorney you’re about to hire has much experience in cases such as yours, the attorney will charge you more for the legal services. In most cases, you’re advised to look for the most qualified attorney to present you in a case because you will have higher chances of winning the case.

Hiring, Defense Attorney, New York
It’s important for you to know that your income plays a major role when you seek legal representation. Pixabay

 

  • The seriousness of the case

 

If you have committed a serious offense, you need to hire a competent attorney to represent you. Serious cases such as rape, murder, and drug trafficking are taken very seriously in court, and if you’re found guilty, the penalties are very harsh. You can get a life sentence or face the hangman’s noose very easily. A New York City criminal lawyer who is capable of making you run away with murder will demand a higher cost than compared to petty crime such as trespass.

 

  • The complexity of legal issues in the case

 

When you have a case with complex issues that may require expert witnesses or private investigators, it will attract a higher cost to build a strong defense. For example, you want to raise the defense of legal sanity; you can hire a psychologist to prove that fact. Such experts require an average retainer of up to $300/hr, depending on the circumstances of your case.

Also Read- Google Remove Stalker Apps That were Available on its Play Store

 

  • Whether the attorney charges by the hour or a flat fee

 

Attorney charges are different. There is a defense lawyer who normally charges a flat rate, and you may find another who prefers to charge by the hour. You should consider your case, and if you find that your case will go to trial or take a long period of time before it’s determined, you should seek the services of an attorney who charge a flat rate. However, if you find that your case will not take a long time before it’s determined, you should go for the attorney who charges by the hour.

Conclusion 

You should always hire the most qualified defense attorney to take you through the court proceeding. The attorney has the experience and influence in a court of law because he/she understands the technicalities of the case before the court.