By Jay Cook |
In the midst of the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica personal privacy and data release scandal which has dominated the 24-hour news cycle in recent weeks, one of New Jersey’s own federal representatives were questioned and challenged Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg during his second consecutive day in Washington, D.C.
U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (NJ-6), the ranking member of the federal Committee on Energy and Commerce, was given the floor and delivered a critical opening statement to Zuckerberg on Wednesday morning.
“Facebook is just the latest in a never-ending string of companies that vacuum up our data but fail to keep it safe,” Pallone said as Zuckerberg sat in front of him. “This incident demonstrates yet again that our laws are not working.”
The hearings come after Facebook came under fire for not protecting who can access its personal privacy data. A third-party app created by Aleksandr Kogan collected data from over 80 million Facebook users which was then given to Cambridge Analytica for use in the 2016 presidential election.
To prevent that from happening again, Pallone pushed for more legislative oversight.
“We need comprehensive privacy and data security legislation,” said Pallone. “We need baseline protections that stretch from internet service providers to data brokers to app developers and to anyone else who makes a living off our data. We need to figure out how to make sure these companies act responsibly even before the press finds out.”
Zuckerberg, who was questioned at length on Tuesday by representatives from both political parties, doubled down on the positive impact Facebook has had on the world. He said 70 million small businesses use the social media site to grow and it’s helped organize social movements like #MeToo, March for our Lives and Hurricane Harvey relief efforts last summer.
“It’s clear now that we didn’t do enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm as well, and that goes for fake news, foreign interference in elections and hate speech, as well as developers and data privacy,” said Zuckerberg. “We didn’t take a broad enough view of responsibility and that was a big mistake. It was my mistake and I’m sorry.”
Holmdel’s DiMaso Pushing for More Gun Legislation
Since being sworn in four months ago, Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso (R-13) is making one of her first pushes for legislation in Trenton. Last week, DiMaso, along with Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz (R-21), made a call for legislators to take action on 10 bills designed to make New Jersey schools safer.
The bills were drafted with guidance and information learned through hearings after the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The legislative push also comes nearly two months after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting on Feb. 14 where 17 students and staff were gunned down by a former student.
“Many school districts are doing everything they can to ensure their schools are as safe as possible, but the state can do more to help ensure those districts are using the best practices,” DiMaso said in a news release.
The bills call for additional supervision over student and staff identification in schools, more enhanced communication and better training for school staff.
“Everyone should feel safe at school: students, parents, and teacher alike,” said DiMaso. “Making sure that all our schools are using the best plans will ease all concerns.”
Here is a list of the proposed bills:
• Requiring the attorney general and Education Department to share best practices on school security with school districts (AR154), based on recommendation No. 4 of the 2015 N.J. School Security Task Force report.
• Training for all school employees and local police on how to handle a school emergency (A3787 and A3793), based on recommendation No. 5 of the 2015 N.J. School Security Task Force Report and recommendation No. 5.10 of the 2013 N.J. SAFE Task Force Report.
• Create a 24-hour State Police hotline for tips that must be shared with local police and school officials (A3789), based on recommendation No. 5.1 of the 2013 N.J. SAFE Task Force Report.
• Better real-time communication between school security, emergency responders and law enforcement during emergencies, and procedures to notify parents (A3788), based on recommendation No. 10-12 of the 2015 N.J. School Security Task Force Report.
• Require all school employees and students to carry identification cards (A3790), based on recommendation No. 27-31 of the 2015 N.J. School Security Task Force Report.
• The Department of Education must review and rate all school safety and security plans and school district emergency communications policies (A3791).
• Require DOE and Homeland Security to develop online forum for schools to share best practices (A3792), based on recommendation No. 5.12 of the 2013 N.J. SAFE Task Force Report.
Stoler Suspends Primary Race Against Incumbent Smith
Instead of a head-to-head race with longtime Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-4) in the June primary elections, his challenger and fellow Republican Felicia Stoler bowed out of the race earlier this month, so she can face Smith in the November general election.
Stoler is now running as The Inclusion Candidate and has focused her campaign on term limits, tort reform, family law, health care, education affordability and taxes.
“I want to give people in the district a real choice in November,” Stoler said.
“I want to hear from all of you,” Stoler continued. “I want to hear what’s important to you, I want to address your issues so that you have fair representation regardless of what party you are a registered voter for.”
Stoler, 51, is a registered dietician professional with offices in Red Bank. She’s been featured on national broadcasts with Fox & Friends, ABC News, CBS News and NBC News.
To keep Two River area residents up to date on the political movements countywide and in their respective towns, The Two River Times will be compiling local coverage and notices of different happenings from now up until the November 2018 elections. Please send additional tips, notes or information to reporter Jay Cook at JCook@TwoRiverTimes.com.
This article was first published in the April 12-19, 2018 print edition of The Two River Times.
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