Category: Cambridge Analytica

June 6, 2019 Off

Protecting the integrity of US elections will require a massive regulatory overhaul, academics say

By Jill T Frey

Ahead of the 2020 elections, former Facebook chief security officer Alex Stamos and his colleagues at Stanford University have unveiled a sweeping new plan to secure U.S. electoral infrastructure and combat foreign campaigns seeking to interfere in U.S. politics.

As the Mueller investigation into electoral interference made clear, foreign agents from Russia (and elsewhere) engaged in a strategic campaign to influence the 2016 U.S. elections. As the chief security officer of Facebook at the time, Stamos was both a witness to the influence campaign on social media and a key architect of the efforts to combat its spread.

Along with Michael McFaul, a former ambassador to Russia, and a host of other academics from Stanford, Stamos lays out a multi-pronged plan that incorporates securing U.S. voting systems, providing clearer guidelines for advertising and the operations of foreign media in the U.S. and integrating government action more closely with media and … Read the rest

May 28, 2019 Off

EU-US Privacy Shield complaint to be heard by Europe’s top court in July

By Jill T Frey

A legal challenge to the EU-US Privacy Shield, a mechanism used by thousands of companies to authorize data transfers from the European Union to the US, will be heard by Europe’s top court this summer.

The General Court of the EU has set a date of July 1 and 2 to hear the complaint brought by French digital rights group, La Quadrature du Net, against the European Commission’s renegotiated data transfer agreement which argues the arrangement is still incompatible with EU law on account of US government mass surveillance practices.

Privacy Shield was only adopted three years ago after its forerunner, Safe Harbor, was struck down by the European Court of Justice in 2015 following the 2013 exposé of US intelligence agencies’ access to personal data, revealed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The renegotiated arrangement tightened some elements, and made the mechanism subject to annual reviews by the Commission to … Read the rest

May 11, 2019 Off

Facebook sues analytics firm Rankwave over data misuse

By Jill T Frey

Facebook might have another Cambridge Analytica on its hands. In a late Friday news dump, Facebook revealed that today it filed a lawsuit alleging South Korean analytics firm Rankwave abused its developer platform’s data, and has refused to cooperate with a mandatory compliance audit and request to delete the data.

Facebook’s lawsuit centers around Rankwave offering to help businesses build a Facebook authorization step into their apps so they can pass all the user data to Rankwave, which then analyzes biographic and behavioral traits to supply user contact info and ad targeting assistance to the business. Rankwave also apparently misused data sucked in by its own consumer app for checking your social media “influencer score”. That app could pull data about your Facebook activity such as location checkins, determine that you’ve checked into a baseball stadium, and then Rankwave could help its clients target you with ads for baseball tickets.… Read the rest

April 29, 2019 Off

Diving into TED2019, the state of social media and internet behavior

By Jill T Frey

Extra Crunch offers members the opportunity to tune into conference calls led and moderated by the TechCrunch writers you read every day. Last week, TechCrunch’s Anthony Ha gave us his recap of the TED2019 conference and offered key takeaways from the most interesting talks and provocative ideas shared at the event.

Under the theme, “Bigger Than Us,” the conference featured talks, Q&As and presentations from a wide array of high-profile speakers, including an appearance from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, which was the talk of the week. Anthony dives deeper into the questions raised in his onstage interview that kept popping up: How has social media warped our democracy? How can the big online platforms fight back against abuse and misinformation? And what is the internet good for, anyway?

“…So I would suggest that probably five years ago, the way that we wrote about a lot of these tech companies was

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April 29, 2019 Off

Facebook accused of blocking wider efforts to study its ad platform

By Jill T Frey

Facebook has been accused of blocking the ability of independent researchers to effectively study how political disinformation flows across its ad platform.

Adverts that the social network’s business is designed to monetize have — at the very least — the potential to influence people and push voters’ buttons, as the Cambridge Analytica Facebook data misuse scandal highlighted last year.

Since that story exploded into a major global scandal for Facebook, the company has faced a chorus of calls from policymakers on both sides of the Atlantic for increased transparency and accountability.

It has responded with lashings of obfuscation, misdirection and worse.

Among Facebook’s less controversial efforts to counter the threat that disinformation poses to its business are what it bills “election security” initiatives, such as identity checks for political advertisers. Even these efforts have looked hopelessly flat-footed, patchy and piecemeal in the face of concerned attempts to … Read the rest

April 25, 2019 Off

Facebook broke Canadian privacy law, joint probe finds

By Jill T Frey

The latest damning assessment of Facebook’s trampling of user privacy comes from the Canada and British Columbia privacy commissioners — which have just published the results of an investigation kicked off in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica data misuse scandal last year.

They found the social network company committed serious contraventions of local laws and failed generally to take responsibility for protecting the personal information of Canadians.

Facebook has disputed the findings and refused to implement the watchdogs’ recommendations — including refusing to voluntarily submit to audits of its privacy policies and practices over the next five years.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada said it therefore plans to take Facebook to Federal Court to seek an order to force it the company to correct its deficient privacy practices.

Both watchdogs have also called for local privacy laws to be beefed up so that regulators have stronger … Read the rest