Facebook is under intense scrutiny again after revelations that the data company Cambridge Analytica used its platform to collect and share data on tens of millions of Americans without their permission.
For David Carroll, an associate professor at Parsons who has been monitoring this data company for months, this was a long time coming.
“I’ve been following this for more than a year,” Carroll told Cheddar Monday.
In 2017, Carroll used a British data protection law to ask Cambridge Analytica for the data it gathered on him.
Cambridge, which has a branch in England, complied but did not explain how and where it got this data.
Then on Friday, Carroll filed a lawsuit against the company to get it to hand over all the sources from which it harvested data on Carroll.
Coincidentally, on the same day, Facebook suspended the data firm from its platform.
Cambridge Analytica was created by billionaire Robert Mercer and has connections to Steve Bannon, head of Breitbart News.
It presented Facebook users with a personality test, through which it was able to access all of their data, including that of their friends and connections. That information was used to create profiles on millions of Americans, which the company then allegedly sold to President Trump’s campaign team in 2016.
Facebook says that’s a violation of its terms of service and claims it ordered Cambridge to delete the data in 2015, but the company did not listen.
Still, investors were not willing to let the social giant pass the blame. Shares fell nearly 7 percent Monday, wiping more than $40 billion in market cap from the stock. It was the worst single day percentage drop for the tech giant in almost four years.
The latest incident again raises questions about how much responsibility Facebook has for how others use its platform. And Carroll says the only way to ensure such a breach doesn’t happen again is by adopting Europe’s tough stance against tech companies when it comes to data protections.
“The U.S. has not taken privacy enforcement seriously,” he said. “The EU has been doing all the work...they consider privacy [as an] idea of dignity.”
For the full interview, click here