Cambridge Analytica and Facebook – Why your privacy is under threat
The latest news concerning Facebook is the Cambridge Analytica scandal. It has been well documented that Facebook allowed another company to harvest user data for third-party companies such as Cambridge Analytica.
The effects of this are far broader than many individuals realise as user privacy is under threat from many sources. It just so happens it was the Facebook data leak which brought it to mass attention.
Facebook has moved far beyond being only a social networking tool and is being used as a highly effective marketing tool, most of which is happening without the end users consent.
Who Used Cambridge Analytica
It is hard to determine who Cambridge Analytica clients are, although it is known they were involved in the political campaign for Donald Trump.
However, the company denied its services were used. They have though been linked to other political campaigns over the past couple of years.
It was also found to be involved with the Brexit vote back in 2016. This was somewhat hidden from view as all the analysis was conducted by a Canadian company which has close ties to Cambridge Analytica.
The reach of CA has also been linked to interested Russian parties who may have used their services for the spreading of Russian propaganda.
Since all this came to light Mark Zuckerberg was questioned by Congress, although this didn’t seem to be deep enough to get to the real problem.
It also wasn’t harsh enough in correcting the chances of a Facebook data breach again. The most he replied on this matter was “I’ll get my team to look into it.”
Although the majority of user data was obtained from the U.S.A, there were huge numbers who reside in the U.K. In the U.K there are strict laws which ban the sale of any personal data without an individual’s consent.
Facebook does indicate in their terms they can have access to user data. Even with this it is not really consented from an end user.
There have been a few changes in how people are able to search for others, although, this doesn’t prevent data collection.
What Will Happen Now?
Over the years Facebook has been continually found out it isn’t strict enough about protecting user privacy. There have been a few cries for changes, and to delete, the Facebook campaign being the most current.
Since all this has come to light, the former owner of WhatsApp has shown concerns and unease of how Facebook deals with online privacy for their users.
With the scandal surrounding Facebook, users are more aware that their data is being used without their knowledge. This data gathering reaches into other areas such as governments.
It is already common knowledge ISP’s in Australia are required to hold user data for two years. In the U.K we have the Snoopers Charter which is the nickname for the Investigatory Powers Act 2016.
The government agencies in Britain have been given authority to spy on everyone and pushes the ISP’s to retain data for a rolling one-year period.
Now other authorities now have permission to spy on you such as the Department for Work and Pensions, Department of Transport, Gambling Commission, Food Standards Agency and the NHS.
All of this is accessible regardless of any individual doing anything wrong. In a way, users should thank the likes of Facebook for being caught out as it allows them to try and regain some control of their privacy while online.
What You Should Do
Now is the time for you to protect your data as it’s now apparent, the parties who should be, aren’t protecting you as well as you thought.
Some of the easiest ways users can do this are by limiting what personal data they share with the likes of Facebook and other platforms.
Tighten up their security options on social media platforms and make use of more software which helps reduce privacy leaks. Browser add-ons are available which can stop tracking websites from collecting online activity as can virtual private networks (VPN’s).
These VPN’s can mask your IP address and show you as living in another geographic location among other things.
An ISP wouldn’t be able to retain your user data as they would have no idea what you were doing while online. The best UK VPN service can go a long way to making sure no one is able to monitor what you are doing.
This can bring back some piece of mind as privacy, and the loss of it is only going to get worse once more companies like Cambridge Analytica and Facebook are involved.