#SocialDataBreach – This Is Just The Tip Of The Iceberg!

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Soon after it was reported that data belonging to 50 million Facebook users was misused by a foreign political consulting firm, there was a huge public outcry about privacy on social media websites and how their privacy policy was nothing, but an organised data theft.

In a nutshell, Facebook allegedly shared data of 50 million Facebook users to a researcher who worked at Cambridge Analytica, a consulting firm that worked for the Trump campaign. Apparently this data was used to build a powerful software program to predict and influence choices at the ballot box.

Facebook saw a large number of of users deleting their accounts, in addition to a marked  drop in valuation, all within a few days of this story coming to light.

While a probe has been ordered to investigate into Facebook’s data privacy protocols, we spoke to some of the experts and active social media users to gauge their opinions on the severity of this alarming data breach issue and the possible implications for all at large:

“Popular mobile operating systems, mobile app companies and several websites use a number of tactics to collect personal data from users, with or without the user’s consent,” says Rajas Pingle, City based lawyer, Cyber Crime and IPR ( Intellectual Property Rights) expert.

Pingle further adds, “What they do with that information, could range from improving user experience to selling that data for profit. Such personal data breach cases or misuse of personal data is rampant even in the US and other developed countries, though there emphasis on data protection and privacy laws are well established and stringent.

As far as India is concerned, one has noticed that we do not give significant importance to protecting our personal information.

“In this information era, our personal information has monetary value in the market and is also susceptible to misuse beyond our imagination.

Despite the Honourable Supreme Court of India having passed a judgement declaring ‘Right to Privacy’ to be a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution of India, the state of affairs in lawless India is honestly quite pathetic since, we do not even have a separate data protection and privacy regime in place.

“In the current context with our Aadhar data being linked with almost everything, It is imperative for the Government to introduce a new data protection and privacy law to protect our citizens personal information,” he adds.

“Keeping data secure in today’s digital world is just not possible,” feels Ashish Jaiswar, an NGO Manager. “It can be leaked anyhow. Better be a nomad and keep changing your identity if you really care about your data.

It’s well known that Cambridge Analytica was also involved in the US Presidential Elections last year, and influenced elections in Kenya, Nigeria, Gabon to a great extent, added Jaiswar.

“So, it didn’t came as a surprise, when there were allegations against Cambridge Analytica who in collusion with Facebook, drove all the data in favour of Donald Trump last year and now for congress and earlier for BJP from what is being alleged. Honestly, it is safer being nobody on social networking sites!

“If you go with the privacy concerns raised over the recent years, across various social media websites, nothing is private on the internet. Anyone and everyone can intercept your information in network traffic to use and abuse it as per their wish.

They say that you are not a thief, until you are caught. Currently it is Facebook that is facing the ire, but there are other whales in the ocean too,” he adds.

Purushuttam Tiwary, An Entrepreneur from Bangalore says, “The news is disturbing but almost everyone had an idea, that something like this could happen in the future. It came to light earlier than expected and that too in a bid to influence a democracy, which is considered the oldest and the most powerful.

If something of this scale can happen at a macro level, imagine the future with Artificial Intelligence. We complain about Aadhar etc yet, we do not realise the potential damage that can be inflicted by a free social media website,” Tiwary adds.

“If you have watched TVF Pitchers there is a very interesting line, “Privacy on internet, is a myth; My friend,” says Daaud Khan, a Sales Manager.

So, let’s burst the cute bubble most of the people live n. Though it’s never official, we are all being watched and monitored.

Talking about Facebook Privacy, it’s the most ironic thing I have heard in recent times. We are all letting the world know exactly what we are doing through our posts.

“Data laundering has always existed and continues to exist. Irrespective of laws we make, loopholes will always be there. So, the best way to keep your data safe, is to quit social media entirely and not worry as much about your data…

Loveleen Kaur

Loveleen Kaur

She loves travelling, dogs, sarcasm, humour and anything that spells F O O D, in that order. A writer on a journey to make positive stories a morning ritual and give society what it needs the most - optimism !!

Reach her at loveleen@pune365.com or tweet @KaurKaur18
Loveleen Kaur