Wednesday, 11 April 2018

The Facebook-Cambridge Analytica fallout and user privacy

Dear readers, this time we need to refer to slightly less usual sources to report on some rather interesting developments concerning themes that have been often brought up on this platform. 

First, yesterday Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg had the chance to exchange views for over five hours with a number of US representatives and said something interesting about privacy policies. In the most extensive coverage I could find on the issue, ie on Vice (!) he is reported to have responded to a question on data privacy and what the company intends to change going forward that 

“This  gets into an issue that we and others in the tech industry have found challenging which is that long privacy policies are very confusing,” Zuckerberg said. “One of the things we’ve struggled with over time is to make things as simple as possible so people can understand it. We don’t expect that most people will want to go through and read a full legal document.
While making disclosures more effective is certainly a theme which is dear to many of us, the conundrum which Facebook seems to struggle with would probably best be addressed by means of more stringent rules on what data can be shared by social media and other service providers, with whom, and for what purposes. According to the Vice piece, Facebook is also taking a number of other steps to improve its practices in data use and encourage whistleblowing on "abusive" advertising.

Meanwhile, quite appropriately it seems, the GDPR will enter into force next month! While previously much criticism had been raised by the industry about the new and somewhat more restrictive rules introduced by the regulation, Zuckerberg has recently announced that Facebook will - with adaptations - seek to comply with the regulation's standard across its worldwide operations (see coverage on Gizmodo). In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, it seems that somewhat more privacy protection is in fashion after all. 

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