Online privacy concerns in a post-Cambridge Analytica scandal era

Following the privacy story of 2018 — the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal — it became apparent with time that despite all the government hearings, it requires special efforts and initiatives from the public to make technology companies realise it’s high time they made genuine amends.

When the European Union passed the GDPR, it was more about regulating the way personal data could be used these companies. It would still not allow users to entirely stop how someone could collect their personal data.

Despite all the furore surrounding Facebook’s scandal, only about 8% people surveyed claimed that they would stop using the social network. Around 20% expressed their views about reducing their use of the site.

What the Cambridge Analytica scandal means for big data

Individual data elements may be inert, but when different elements are combined together, they can create a toxic mix. As a result, should businesses be treating data like dangerous chemicals? Read here

Facebook’s settings do allow you to control a lot of the information you share with the site and third-party sources. But there is still a grey area that needs lots of explaining to do from these tech companies.

With technology companies vying for your personal data, you can never be sure how secure your passwords are. Surveys by Pew Research show that almost 4 in 10 people have same or similar passwords for different accounts across different websites.

You should not only use different passwords for different websites, it is recommended to note them down in a diary to make it easier to remember. Today, it is considered safer to use a pen and paper to save your passwords than to save them in notepad or MS Word files on your device.

It is also recommended to check your email every now and then whether its security has been compromised or not.

Mark Zuckerberg passes first test after Cambridge Analytica scandal

This week, Facebook’s CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg faced questions from US senators in the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Read here

It is not just the technology companies that want to gain access to your data. Governments and potential hackers may also be keeping track of what you do online. Using a powerful VPN can be another step in the right direction for individual users and businesses.

It is also time for governments to propose and pass stronger privacy laws. When Cambridge Analytica and Facebook were caught harvesting and exploiting user data, it made it clear how easy it was for the industry to access information about people.

Even when the world is in a shock on how these companies have been ‘playing’ with user data, many governments are still showing no signs of taking these events with genuine gravity. Whilst individuals can take their own steps to protect their privacy, it is high time that governments proposed stronger privacy laws to make up for the relaxations they showered on these companies for over two decades.

The consumer data is unsafe not just when they log into their social media account. Their online privacy is under constant threat whether they are using their smartphones, smart watch, or driving their smart car. The scope of data protection required from governments goes beyond. Modern devices can even listen to what people are saying from within the confines of their homes.

Twitter the latest to be engulfed in Cambridge Analytica scandal

Twitter is the latest social media platform to be caught up in the Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal. Read here

Technology companies and data brokers are constantly keeping track of and selling information about personal habits, finances, religion, politics and other stats related to individual users. And there are never any assurances as to whom they are selling this information. Things have become so sophisticated that all this user data is being used by companies to charge different prices to different consumers.

And it is not just Facebook that is out there in this race. There have been hundreds of such data breaches in just the last decade. And no matter what these companies are doing, the lawmakers have continued to give them a leeway. Until there is a grinding effort from the public’s end, it is not expected that any groundbreaking effort will be made from the government’s end.