The co-founder of a software company who released a series of sensitive documents regarding Facebook to a parliamentary committee has been commanded by a judge in the United States to turn in his electronic devices for inspection.
V. Raymond Swope, a San Mateo County judge, ordered the founder of Six4three, Ted Kramer, to pass over the said devices last Friday evening. Six4three is a now-defunct bikini-related app company that app that enabled its users to search for images of their friends in bikinis.
Kramer is at the centre of an international controversy over a cache of documents concerning the social media giant. The documents had been kept secret as part of an ongoing court case in the United States.
A lawsuit was launched by Kramer. He claims that Facebook destroyed its business model and broke its promises by revoking various elements of the access to data of the app developer on the platform.
Facebook has endured immense criticism over its handling of the personal information of its users after the revelations that one developer was able to acquire and sell a trove of information to a political consultancy firm called Cambridge Analytica.
Kramer released the said files. Reportedly, they were acquired by the Six4three app, to the chair of the Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Select Committee, British MP Damian Collins.
According to a court filing by his lawyer, Kramer met with Collins in the UK office of the MP, where Collins informed Kramer that he was in contempt of parliament. The filing says that Kramer “panicked” and handed over the files on a USB stick.
The Observer reported that the documents “contain significant revelations about Facebook decisions on data and privacy controls that led to the Cambridge Analytica scandal.”
Collins has said that the DCMS committee plans to release the internal records that were passed over by Kramer in the coming week, after eliminating personally identifiable information.
The social media giant was founded by Mark Zuckerberg. It moved to have Kramer ruled as being in contempt of court last week. It said that they were “extraordinary circumstances.”
During a hearing that was held last Friday, Swope told Kramer and his lawyers: “What has happened here is unconscionable.”
He added: “Your conduct is not well-taken by this court. It’s one thing to serve other needs that are outside the scope of this lawsuit. But you don’t serve those needs, or satisfy those curiosities when there’s a court order preventing you to do so.”
The lawyers of Kramer complied with the order and forfeited the electronic devices.