Cambridge Analytica is a private English company that deals with receiving and processing digital data for the implementation of communication campaigns, especially political ones. The Atlantic, in this paragraph, explains in an exemplary way what happened and where the earthquake that is sweeping the world of Facebook and social networks comes from:
“In June 2014, a researcher named Aleksandr Kogan developed a personality-quiz app for Facebook. It was heavily influenced by a similar personality-quiz app made by the Psychometrics Centre, a Cambridge University laboratory where Kogan worked. About 270,000 people installed Kogan’s app on their Facebook account. But as with any Facebook developer at the time, Kogan could access data about those users or their friends. And when Kogan’s app asked for that data, it saved that information into a private database instead of immediately deleting it. Kogan provided that private database, containing information about 50 million Facebook users, to the voter-profiling company Cambridge Analytica. Cambridge Analytica used it to make 30 million “psychographic” profiles about voters.” Or register 30 million voters according to their data entered in Facebook and the answers provided to the test.
Kogan, a developer of Facebook who had legitimate access to those data, did not delete them, but decided to sell them to Cambridge Analytica. These data were then used by Cambridge Analytica in electoral campaigns such as the one for Donald Trump, in support of Brexit or Ted Cruz. In short, the data were sold in a completely transparent manner to customers of the company.
So where is the problem? It is in the fact that Kogan has been able to collect and export from Facebook, despite being entitled to do so, millions of data and profiles on people with their choices and behaviors within its simple political quiz.
It has come true (or, perhaps, for the first time emerged) a giant case of mass sale of sensitive data without the direct interested person (in this case, a player of an application on Facebook), had pre-authorized the consent.
Finally it seems that institutions are moving to see each other better in this murky affair, but it seems clear that the problem of corporate entities in the hands of individuals who manage data in a more omniscient way of the national states themselves, has become a serious issue.
The Cambridge Analytica affair, to which Facebook in an embarrassing way is not officially responding, brings to the fore the issue of the security of own personal data, today well almost more valuable than oil because they are able to tell the company specific and precise preferences and tastes of the individual consumer (in the case of Cambridge Analytica, political trends).
We are witnessing the start of an epoch-making clash between the philosophy of ultraliberism that has brought enormous entrepreneurial oligarchies to dominate our lives, which clashes with an emerging concept that the world of cryptocurrencies seeks to bring to light. That is the principle that the only person authorized to manage its own data is the individual himself, who gives this possibility to Cryptocurrency exchanges, only for the purposes of crime prevention.
What today our world represents is, even in the technological advancement equal in importance to social networks, diametrically opposite to what is the heart of the business of the latter.
The victory of the battle is too early to predict it, but the scandal just broke out with Facebook, seems to scratch the monolithic and absolute idea that personal data and online behavior can be kept by an individual and used for various purposes behind the tick of trivia privacy clauses when registering for a social.
Individual freedom has a high price. We are experiencing the beginning of something new…