The Cambridge Analytica scandal is opening the world’s eyes on the need for Internet privacy. Reports that the UK data firm has harvested data from over 87 million Facebook users were met by outrage from people all over the world. But the scandal could just usher in a new era of a previously forgotten community of internet privacy experts and researchers.
This would not be the first time that privacy experts have warned against the privacy risks that companies like Facebook are exposed to. However, their warnings have been ignored for years. But after the data scandal at Facebook, it now seems that people care about what privacy experts have to say. The main concern here is simple. Collecting massive amounts of user data and sharing it with third-party companies without any regulation is dangerous.
The Cambridge Analytica scandal might have started the entire debate about privacy issues on Internet data but it was just a question of when and not if. The data privacy issues have been so strong that they have forced Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify before Congress on the matter. Zuckerberg acknowledged in his testimony that Facebook has in fact done very little to protect user data from inappropriate third-party use. He outlined the measures that his company is now taking to prevent such incidents from happening again in the future.
Experts strongly believe that this is the right time to act on privacy. There’s clearly enough momentum in the tech community to test and implement advanced privacy tools including sophisticated ad blockers. In addition to this, there’s a lot of concern among users regarding online privacy after the Cambridge Analytica data breach. Right now, they wouldn’t mind a little inconvenience in their online experience if it means protecting their data.
In fact, the A.C.L.U. is considering a new legislation that would give consumers more power over their data. In his testimony before Congress, Zuckerberg said that he is open to the right legislative regulation when it comes to privacy. The company also confirmed that it is investigating apps that previously had access to huge amounts of data on its platform to see whether there were any breaches.
For many privacy experts, the most important thing right now is the fact that the world is finally talking about Internet privacy. According to them, the fact that people are starting to admit that there’s something wrong is the first step towards better privacy solutions in the future. However, many are still skeptical. They still feel that despite the current momentum, tech companies will still find a way to mess things up.
Besides, it won’t be the first time this has happened. Google was also involved in a similar privacy scandal as Facebook a few years ago when it inappropriately harvested Wi-Fi data to build Google Maps. Despite the outrage at the time, the company didn’t make any meaningful changes to privacy policies and its data business continued as usual. However, it’s clear that there’s enough commitment this time, especially from Facebook, to respond to the data breach.