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The Facebook crisis: the improper use of personal data

The Facebook crisis: the improper use of personal data

There is no talk of anything else in the technological world. It is a public scandal caused by the improper use by an analyst company of the personal data of 50 million Facebook users. Once again, but on a large scale, the responsibility of the North American multinational for the violation of data protection regulations.

How it all started

The prelude to what happened was an experiment carried out by Global Science Research, a company founded by a Russian-American researcher: Aleksandr Kogan.

This professor of psychology, professor at the University of Cambridge accessed the profiles of millions of users They downloaded an application for Facebook, called “thisisyourdigitallife”. This application, which offered a personality prediction service, was a gateway not only to the data of the users who had downloaded the application but also to all their contacts.

In this way, they were able to access a huge amount of information without needing the consent of the majority of users.

Thus, while the application was only downloaded by 270,000 people who had given their consent for the application to access their personal information, the company accessed the data from 50 million people. Yes, fifty million.

The use made of these data was, curiously, political. The academic provided the more than 50 million profiles that he had obtained with this method to Cambridge Analytica, who used the data of these Facebook users to develop a computer program designed to predict the decisions of voters for the presidency of the United States and influence in them.

The commercial analyst obtained information that made it possible to design the electoral campaign of the current president of the White House.

Facebook's responsibility

The question is obvious: how far does the Facebook liability?

Well, the first thing we should take into account is that Facebook transferred personal data of its users for an academic investigation, and from that moment a special was generated in the transferring company duty of vigilance. The social network had an obligation to save and protect the data of its users, and apparently it did not.

Social platforms such as Facebook, must have strong implemented in their daily operations protectionist policies in order to avoid the misuse of data. Your obligation is ensure the privacy of users of the social network.This is what failed and what the famous social network will be prosecuted for.

The authorities will be in charge of judging what happened, however, of what there is no doubt is that the greatest collection of personal data has taken place without authorization or consent from history, which implies a violation of the regulation of the Data Protection.

What in principle was an authorization from Facebook for a specific purpose, has ended up being essential and especially valuable information that has even served to achieve several objectives, including political ones. The actions carried out by the North American giant whose implantation is more than notorious in our society are not always the correct ones.

However, for another post on this blog, we will leave an aspect that nobody is focusing on: the incidence of users in the harmful result. Indeed, the factor that is always forgotten when dealing with these issues is the indiligence of some users of social networks. Some transfers of personal data, for example answering surveys, may be reckless.

But we will leave that for another day.

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