In Short: Fight For The Future founder Evan Greer authored a scathing Tumblr post in the wake of Facebook's latest major data breach that points to widespread backlash among consumer rights and privacy advocacy organizations. In her post, Greer calls out Facebook and other big data companies on what she sees as prolonged and uncontrolled over-gathering and mishandling of user data. She proceeds to point to a pledge that she and other organizations like the ACLU and Open Media authored back in April that lay out guidelines for big data organizations to follow in handling user data. The pledge's tenets include things like liming data collection and ensuring that users have access to their own data. To date, none of the companies that are named on the pledge's web page, including Google, Facebook and Microsoft, have signed.
Background: There have been numerous large-scale data breaches among tech companies in recent years, and the most recent of those is one of the larger ones on record. It comes from Facebook, and saw user details for some 90 million users potentially compromised in one form or another. Facebook took immediate precautions after the breach was discovered, and reported it in a timely fashion as defined by law. Still, disclosure as to exactly what data was compromised was considered inadequate by many, including Greer and her peers in the consumer advocacy space. This latest breach comes not long after the company had to deal with an even larger one that stemmed from its dealings with data processing entity Cambridge Analytica, a scandal that saw Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg testifying in court and ended in the shuttering of Cambridge Analytica's United States operations.
Impact: If this latest callout gains momentum and publicity as Greer and others of her ilk hope it will, it could lead to large-scale data handlers like Google and Facebook taking a second look at the data protection pledge that they proposed. At the very least, they're likely, at this point, to at least acknowledge it, and possibly explain why they're choosing not to subscribe to it. Since many of these companies have operations and data collection spanning the globe, it's quite possible that this push could end up having a worldwide impact on data privacy practices, laws and related matters. For now, nobody besides the consumer protection organizations seem to be saying anything about the pledge. As news of Facebook's latest breach spreads and "sinks in", the inevitable backlash, in whatever form it will eventually take, is going to get more publicity, bringing more attention to the issue and perhaps helping to drive the principles and ambitions behind the aforementioned pledge.