Cybersecurity & Tech Surveillance & Privacy

The Lawfare Podcast: An Interview with Meta’s Chief Privacy Officers

Quinta Jurecic, Alan Z. Rozenshtein, Erin Egan, Michel Protti, Jen Patja
Friday, April 28, 2023, 12:00 PM
It’s been four years since the Cambridge Analytica settlement, and Facebook is now Meta. So how much has really changed within the company?

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In 2018, news broke that Facebook had allowed third-party developers—including the controversial data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica—to obtain large quantities of user data in ways that users probably didn’t anticipate. The fallout led to a controversy over whether Cambridge Analytica had in some way swung the 2016 election for Trump (spoiler: it almost certainly didn’t), but it also generated a $5 billion fine imposed on Facebook by the FTC for violating users’ privacy. Along with that record-breaking fine, the FTC also imposed a number of requirements on Facebook to improve its approach to privacy. 

It’s been four years since that settlement, and Facebook is now Meta. So how much has really changed within the company? For this episode of Arbiters of Truth, our series on the online information ecosystem, Lawfare Senior Editors Alan Rozenshtein and Quinta Jurecic interviewed Meta’s co-chief privacy officers, Erin Egan and Michel Protti, about the company’s approach to privacy and its response to the FTC’s settlement order.

At one point in the conversation, Quinta mentions a class action settlement over the Cambridge Analytica scandal. You can read more about the settlement here. Information about Facebook’s legal arguments regarding user privacy interests is available here and here, and you can find more details in the judge’s ruling denying Facebook’s motion to dismiss.

Quinta Jurecic is a fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution and a senior editor at Lawfare. She previously served as Lawfare's managing editor and as an editorial writer for the Washington Post.
Alan Z. Rozenshtein is an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota Law School, a senior editor at Lawfare, and a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Previously, he served as an Attorney Advisor with the Office of Law and Policy in the National Security Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and a Special Assistant United States Attorney in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland.
Erin Egan is a co-Chief Privacy Officer and heads the global privacy and data public policy team at Meta.
Michel Protti is a co-Chief Privacy Officer and leads the implementation of privacy efforts across product and engineering teams at Meta.
Jen Patja is the editor and producer of The Lawfare Podcast and Rational Security. She currently serves as the Co-Executive Director of Virginia Civics, a nonprofit organization that empowers the next generation of leaders in Virginia by promoting constitutional literacy, critical thinking, and civic engagement. She is the former Deputy Director of the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier and has been a freelance editor for over 20 years.

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