Assemblymember Wallace Requests State Hearings on Facebook and Other Tech Giants, Calls for Renewed Focus on 21st Century Consumer Protections

Wallace will be available for on-camera comments regarding her request on Friday, December 21st between 11:00am and 12:00pm. Please contact Patrick Kennedy at (716) 525-0788 or at to arrange

Wallace’s letter to Assemblymember Michael DenDekker and Senator-elect Kevin Thomas, the respective chairs of the Assembly and Senate committees on Consumer Affairs

The December 19th, 2018 New York Times article reporting on Facebook’s use of personal information that is cited by Wallace is attached

In light of recent reporting showing a pattern of egregious misuse of personal data by Facebook and other tech giants, Assemblymember Monica Wallace (D-Lancaster) is calling on the state Assembly and Senate to hold hearings regarding the tech industry and its relationship with New Yorkers’ private internet data.

“For years, companies like Facebook have capitalized on their popularity among consumers,” said Wallace. “However, these massive tech companies go relatively unchecked by government regulations and have free reign over our personal data, selling it to the highest bidder without regard to the consequences of their actions. This must stop, and New York State must lead to protect consumers.”

Wednesday’s New York Times printed a detailed investigation into Facebook’s improper partnerships with other tech companies that focused on private data of users. Companies like Netflix, Spotify, Microsoft, and Amazon forged multi-billion dollar partnerships with Facebook to mine personal information, including direct messages and friend lists. The report alleges that Spotify, a music streaming company, has access to the private messages of more than 70 million users each month.

In response, Wallace is sending a letter to the chairs of the Senate and Assembly Consumer Protection committees regarding the urgency to hold hearings and to advance new.

“I believe that the New York State Legislature must act by holding hearings and exploring regulations that will protect New Yorkers from harmful bad actors,” said Wallace in a letter addressed to Assemblymember Michael DenDekker and Senator-elect Kevin Thomas. “As the incoming chairs of the Assembly and Senate Consumer Affairs committees, it is my sincere hope that you both will help facilitate these hearings and New York’s response to aggressive privacy breaches and betrayal of trust.”

Last session, Wallace spoke out against egregious attempts by corporations to mine and sell consumer data. Her bill, a.7191 (2017), would give New Yorkers control over whether their personal data may be disclosed and shared by internet service providers (ISPs). It would require ISPs to obtain the express consent of each customer prior to disclosing any personally identifiable information of that customer. The bill would also prohibit ISPs from denying service to customers who do not give consent to disclosure. Wallace’s bill gained strong bipartisan support and passed the Assembly overwhelmingly, but it died in the state Senate. Wallace will be reintroducing the legislation once session begins in January.