Facebook and Cambridge Analytica: Is this the data wake-up call we’ve all needed?
There has been a cultural shift in the last week with regards to our personal data. Suddenly we all feel vulnerable, exposed and maybe slightly regretful. Perhaps even Mark Zuckerberg.
We’re now beginning to realize that we’ve been willing participants in what has turned into a huge social experiment rather than network. In our eagerness to connect with one another we have given away hugely valuable personal data without care for whom we’ve given it to and how it’s being used.
But have we relied too heavily on corporations when it comes to our personal data?
The regulators seem to think so. In May this year, we will see stricter controls and regulations on personal data coming into force in Europe in the form of GDPR. These regulations will introduce the following changes which would have prevented Cambridge Analytica from freely using the personal data of EU citizens or at least made sure that if they did they were on the wrong side of the law. These changes include:
- Organizations only being allowed to ask for the minimum amount of data they need eg. third parties & developers will only have access to email addresses/ user names when customers use Facebook login (This change was announced by Facebook a few days after the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke).
- Organizations will have to explicitly ask for consent for sharing your data.
- Organizations will have to tell you exactly what your data will be used for, particularly if it’s for marketing or profiling activities.
- We will have the right to ask organizations where our data is, what data is being held and how it’s being used.
These aren’t the only changes in the regulatory framework but they will directly impact and minimize this type of event happening.
It’s easy for industry to view these regulations as a nuisance and, for many, there is work to do to ensure compliance. But in the long run it will be a positive move for business as well as citizens. It will ensure a solid foundation for business, one that is built on trust.
We’re in a new data-driven world and this has been a lesson for us all in how we protect and manage our own information. Industry must learn this lesson also.
The acceleration of the digital transformation means organizations will further rely on social media marketing and digital services to communicate and interact with their customers. Building such services by embedding privacy and security by design will comfort customers who are becoming savvier about the security and use of their personal data.
Smart organizations will come to see these additional security measures and regulations as a competitive advantage.