UK parliament

The U.K. parliament seized a set of internal documents from Facebook ahead of a major hearing with seven countries scheduled later this week regarding the ongoing, now outlawed, practices of user data by the company.

The documents reportedly feature several confidential emails between Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and several senior executives at the company on the topic of privacy and data controls.

The head of a now-defunct software development agency named Six4Three was compelled to provide the documents while in London on business, which were initially obtained as part of the discovery process of their own legal battle with Facebook. The documents themselves were surrendered on threat of fines and imprisonment.

This use of parliamentary power to seize a company’s internal documents is rare, and was in part driven by mounting criticism of Facebook as well as Zuckerberg’s refusal to appear before this week’s hearing or to answer questions to the Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport Committee’s (DCMS) satisfaction regarding the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Addressing this latest development, DCMS head Damian Collins said, “We are in uncharted territory. This is an unprecedented move but it’s an unprecedented situation. We’ve failed to get answers from Facebook and we believe the documents contain information of very high public interest.”

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