A US federal judge has ruled that the 29 million Facebook users affected by the September 2018 data breach may not seek damages as a remedy, but can only pursue the enforcement of better security practices at Facebook, according to a report by Reuters. Judge Alsup of the US District Court stated that Facebook’s repetitive losses of users’ privacy indicated a long-term need for supervision, which comes in addition to prior judgment which indicated that Facebook’s views about user’s privacy expectations were “so wrong”.Read More
In his cautionary tale, 1984, author George Orwell spoke of a paradigm where the unregulated use of powerful technology, referred to as “telescreens”, manifested a society beholden to the ethics of the controller. This paradigm is perhaps more real than ever, according to an article by Reuters.
By exploring the views of Cambridge Analytica whistle-blower Christopher Wylie, the article advises that the deep, multifaceted involvement of big tech companies in consumers’ lives, the ultimate dependence that arises from such involvement and the overwhelming vulnerability of such consumers renders tech companies “too big to fail”. Wylie argues that the vast imbalance of power and information in favour of these companies over users is resulting in a constant scrambling by regulators to control the rapid adoption of such technology forms.Read More
Until recently, a security vulnerability in the social media platform Instagram, allowed Hyp3r to illicitly harvest millions of Instagram users’ data and track their locations.
In a similar manner to the Cambridge Analytica scandal that plagued Facebook following the 2016 US presidential election, this latest example of Hyp3r’s mass data collection was discovered through a journalistic investigation and was not uncovered by the social media platform.Read More
Cameron Abbott and Georgia Mills
The UK Information Commissioner has ordered UK-based firm Cambridge Analytica to hand over all the personal information it holds about an American academic, confirming the right of people to access the personal data held about them by a UK firm. The academic initially approached Cambridge Analytica for it to explain what information it had gathered on him, and later complained to the Commissioner that the consulting firm had failed to share the entirety of its data on him nor explained how it accumulated the information it held.
In another blow to embattled Facebook, British and US lawyers have launched a class action lawsuit against the social media giant, along with Cambridge Analytica and two other companies for allegedly misusing the data of over 87 million people.
Over the last few weeks we’ve been blogging about the data “sharing” scandal that has rocked Facebook, and has lead to a boycott of the popular social media site, and sent CEO Mark Zuckerberg to face the music on Capitol Hill.
In case you’d missed the story (which you can read about here, here and here), Facebook estimated 87 million people globally, including 300,000 Australians, had their data shared with Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy firm used by US President Donald Trump in his 2016 election campaign.
By Cameron Abbott and Georgia Mills
News of Facebook’s involvement in the United States’ elections is nothing new, especially with the ongoing Cambridge Analytica scandal, so it should come as little surprise that the social media giant has extended its reach into the Australian electoral sphere.
Facebook approached Australia’s major political parties during the 2016 Federal election offering a powerful data matching tool. This “advanced matching” tool would allow parties to match data they had collected about voters- including names, dates of birth, contact details, and postcodes- against similar information provided by users on their Facebook profiles. The combined data would allow parties to identify swinging voters and target them with tailored ads when they use Facebook.