Tech Execs Critical Of Facebook Over Latest Privacy Blunder

A number of tech industry executives spoke out against Facebook's practices amid the company's latest privacy blunder that saw data from millions of the social network's users circulating the Internet for years, having been gathered by Cambridge University academics who offered it for free to anyone who agreed to register as a collaborator on their project. Travis Jarae, CEO of independent privacy strategy and research company OWI, believes that should Facebook embrace "a user-centric approach that prioritizes customers rather than mining user data," it would likely become a leading force in the movement to rebuild "trust and safety with consumers."

Brian Johnson, CEO of cloud management company DivvyCloud, described the recently uncovered episode centered around a data mining app quiz called myPersonality as a result of a lack of "proper safeguards," especially given how identifiable information was often being exposed unencrypted. The researchers behind the myPersonality quiz argued their collaborators had to agree they won't deanonymize any data they receive from the project but had no way of policing them. The project ran for nine years and recorded one known breach, having now been suspended by Facebook. "Security shouldn't be left up to manual intervention," Mr. Johnson argues, adding that data safeguard policies must be accurately defined, with their compliance policed in an automated manner. Anything less than that will see digital firms be "constantly one step behind" in user privacy protection, eventually resulting in a data breach, according to the industry veteran.

George Avetisov, CEO of decentralized authentication service provider HYPR, says the disclosure model currently employed by Facebook is lacking even if its users know they're sharing their data since many of them still aren't expecting that data to be at a realistic risk from third parties. "Consumers should be wary of these ways to volunteer information over the Internet," Mr. Avetisov believes, pointing to the example of Mastercard as a more positive approach to user privacy which limits the volume of sensitive information a digital service can transfer at any point, regardless of the reason. Facebook suspended some 200 apps in the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and is still probing potential data misuses conducted through its platform. The social media giant's CEO Mark Zuckerberg will soon be appearing in Brussels to answer questions from European lawmakers after already doing the same in front of the U.S. Congress in mid-April.

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Dominik Bosnjak

Head Editor
Dominik started at AndroidHeadlines in 2016 and is the Head Editor of the site today. He’s approaching his first full decade in the media industry, with his background being primarily in technology, gaming, and entertainment. These days, his focus is more on the political side of the tech game, as well as data privacy issues, with him looking at both of those through the prism of Android. Contact him at [email protected]