App maker’s equip­ment to be seized over Face­book leak

The Sunday Telegraph - Money & Business - - Business - By Lau­rence Dodds

A JUDGE in Sil­i­con Val­ley has or­dered the con­fis­ca­tion of lap­tops, emails and mo­bile phones that may have been used to leak se­cret Face­book doc­u­ments to Bri­tish MPS last week.

Judge V Ray­mond Swope or­dered Ted Kramer, a US app maker at the cen­tre of a stand-off be­tween Face­book and Par­lia­ment, to hand his de­vices to in­ves­ti­ga­tors in a rul­ing that may shed light on how dam­ag­ing Face­book emails were given to a Com­mons com­mit­tee in de­fi­ance of a US court or­der.

The emails have al­ready been used by Damian Collins, head of the Com­mons dig­i­tal, cul­ture, me­dia and sport select com­mit­tee, to grill Face­book about how early it knew about abuses of its sys­tem by Rus­sian agents.

On Fri­day, Mr Collins’ use of a rare Par­lia­men­tary mech­a­nism to seize the doc­u­ments sent new rip­ples through a long-run­ning dis­pute be­tween Face­book and Six4three, Mr Kramer’s app firm, which is su­ing Face­book for “de­stroy­ing” its busi­ness.

Mr Kramer claims he was dra­gooned into hand­ing over the doc­u­ments dur­ing a trip to Lon­don, say­ing that he “pan­icked” when Mr Collins told him that he was in con­tempt of Par­lia­ment.

Face­book al­leges that he de­lib­er­ately en­gi­neered a sit­u­a­tion in which he could leak the doc­u­ments. Its le­gal team also sug­gested that their op­pos­ing coun­sel might have re­quested the dis­clo­sure of doc­u­ments not rel­e­vant to their law­suit to one day make them pub­lic to make a “tac­ti­cal gain”.

“[They] cre­ated a dec­la­ra­tion with hun­dreds of pages of exhibits, many of which... had noth­ing to do with this case,” said Joshua Lerner, coun­sel for Face­book. “And lo and be­hold, it all gets dis­closed when [Mr Kramer] de­cides to walk over to Par­lia­ment.”

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