There are many threats prevalent in today’s world. Cybercrime is one of the threats which act as a ‘sweet poison’. It slowly enters into our world, pickpockets the relevant information and flies away like a puff of air. According to Forbes, in a month, at least 59% of Asian organizations face a security breach.
This security breach reached its zenith when an issue of data “leak” from Facebook by a firm, named Cambridge Analytica bombarded the digital world.
Who is Cambridge Analytica and what do they do? On visiting their website, their tagline explained everything they do- “Data drives all we do” and it clearly states that they use data to change the audience behavior. It is their job to find the voters and move them to action.
But the big question is about the major tool they used to extract the data. The tool is none other than the “Social Media”.
The Bitter Reality…
While Cambridge Analytica has stirred the storm, the reality is that almost every app you download, no matter what the genre is, seeks the access to your contacts, location, calendar, camera, etc. What is the motive and relevance behind this move? Why is it allowed? The most important fact is that if you deny the app to give access to your personal information, it will simply not work.
Although it is important for any food delivery app to know where you reside, they have no right to store the information and pass it on to someone else for targeting us in future with various advertisements.
The technology behind third-party access…
Let’s understand in brief about the working of the detrimental technology behind the third-party apps.
a) A delegated access is provided to an app which is registered with a Facebook platform to:
- Gain its users;
- Access the resources of the user. Resources can be the friend list.
And this is possible only if the user provides “consent” to do so. One of the most important reasons behind the success of third-party apps is that user does not need to share its Facebook userID or password, hence a user gets trapped easily, thereby giving consent to third-party apps.
b) The provided consent is called token in the digital All the third-party apps are managed by tokens (consent) as specified in inline technology standard called OAuth. It means that the authorization at Facebook is managed by Access Token. Show your token and get the access to user account.
c) After clicking the checkboxes about the allowance of information given to third-party app, we allow the app to access our personal information and Facebook is least interested about it because at the end users are using their services through the third-party
So it’s a win-win situation for both platform and third-party app, leaving the user vulnerable to all the mishaps.
Even earlier, Facebook miscalculated the metrics that really fluffed up the marketers trust.
How Facebook got affected by Cambridge Analytica Scandal?
One of the main reasons behind the following official response of Facebook is that they have signed legal agreements with third-party apps to safeguard against any illegitimate use of the user data.
Facebook may come up with many more statements but it’s sure-shot that this scandal has given a huge blow to its reputation as can be seen from the following happenings:
- In the US a Facebook user has filed a legal complaint against Facebook for its use of her data and is suing for damages. Even lawyers have suggested that others may follow.
- Apart from filing cases against Facebook, #DeleteFacebook movement has been growing and is backed by the founder of WhatsApp, Brian Acton. The #DeleteFacebook appeared more than 10,000 times on Twitter within a two-hour period according to the analytics service ExportTweet.
- The #DeleteFacebook created a buzz and feeling of fear amongst the investors that the incident will soon lead to new regulation. Hence, Facebook shares fell by 8.5%.
- Apart from Brian Acton, many other celebrities like Cher joined the movement to quit the Facebook.
However, deactivating a Facebook account is not as easy as it seems to. HuffPost explains that your data remains intact even after deactivating the account. It’s possible to permanently delete your account—and with it, all the information Facebook has gathered about your political leanings, relationship status, and shopping habits—but it’s a long and complicated process.
- In the context of Cambridge Analytica, even government of India stated that it is strengthening its data protection laws and a task has been provided to Justice BN Srikrishna to come up with a tough privacy law as soon as possible.
- Anand Mahindra, Chairman of Mahindra group, invited startups to bring the idea to build ‘own social media platform’ which is “professionally managed and willingly regulated”.
Amid all the controversies, Zuckerberg came up with his sorry for the “breach of trust”. He even took Facebook as a platform to share his response in a post: “We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can’t then we don’t deserve to serve you”.
Further Hearings by Senate Judiciary Committee…
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley invited the CEOs of Facebook, Google, and Twitter to a hearing on April 10, seeking testimony from them on data privacy issues, ignited by Cambridge Analytica Scandal.
In this digital era, where democracy is on the verge to be hacked by few unknown sources, it becomes a responsibility of each and every individual to get aware of such threat. According to Warren Buffett, “Cyber attack is the number one problem with mankind”.