Like a crisp fall evening where the chill in the air instinctively tells you the season is about to change, the data industry feels like it has just hit its tipping point.
And despite the odorous smell coming from Facebook and it’s questionable ties to Cambridge Analytica, and the manipulation of the American election, this is not a single issue that is driving things – rather a culmination of years of hubris and mismanagement.
Put simply, we’ve been had by technology firms gathering and selling data on us. It’s being used to manipulate our behavior down to who we vote for and beyond.
A backlash is about to occur which will likely result in the regulation of firms harvesting and selling data. And quite frankly, it’s about time.
“Facebook makes their money by exploiting and selling intimate details about the private lives of millions, far beyond the scant details you voluntarily post”. Edward Snowden
Ask yourself this… What right did Facebook have, to allow a firm access to intimate profile data and messages, which enables the micro-targeting of people who have given no access whatsoever to the data (eg. Friends of friends)?
What right does Equifax have to maintain and sell data on you? Data that you had no choice but to give up in return for a mortgage or credit card application. Data that is frequently incorrect and virtually never corrected. Data that can and will be used as a reference when you apply for a job. Data that just sits there waiting for hackers to steal when incompetent management decide not to encrypt it at rest in their databases and forget to patch servers resulting in millions of people being at risk of identity theft.
The answer, which is painfully obvious, is that they don’t have the right to sell you out. Or at least they certainly shouldn’t have.
So the backlash is coming in the form of Governmental inquests, #deleteFacebook campaigns and ultimately regulation. It may hit high tech stocks and the market in general. But regardless, it’s high time that the abuse of our data is reigned in.
Update: April 11, 2018
Here is a great video about how Facebook collects data on you and matches with other info from around the web.
You can download the data that Facebook has on you here.