Data Privacy & Security: What Tech Companies Can Learn from the Cambridge Analytica & Facebook Scandal

Data Privacy and Security Cambridge Analytica Facebook Scandal.

Data is being shared by businesses by both large and small all the time. In many ways, users appreciate this sharing because it delivers a better experience, higher efficiency and more relevant ads. Yet, there are also important security concerns about data sharing, as the recent Cambridge Analytica and Facebook scandal has highlighted. The public discussion on these security issues is just beginning, but there are already takeaways every business can learn from this ongoing scandal.

Be Honest with Your Customers

Users feel betrayed by Facebook because their information was collected (which many didn’t realize) and released to third-parties they hadn’t authorized. Trust is a huge priority for any business. When a customer gives you data based on their behaviours and preferences, it is ultimately the company’s responsibility to safeguard and ensure users are aware of what data is archived, what is the purpose or intentions of that data, and who has access to it.

However, when you’re using big data some argue this ideal is not possible. An AI-based non-invasive consumer data marketing company Demografy points out on Medium, data marketing relies on circulating large amounts of non-opt in personal information. And few people can visualize a future where our everyday technologies and marketing decisions will not rely on big data.

Data Sourcing Ethics

One way to maintain user trust is to know where your data comes from, and that means not using data brokers and instead using first-party data that you source yourself. If you’ve used data brokers in the past it is likely some of your information was gained from inappropriate sources. The further in the past, the higher the chance the “wild west” of the first days of the internet allowed for practices that many would frown upon today.

Some practices, like opt-in forms, seem to lend data companies legitimacy, but not all of the data may come from those who have opted in – and those who have opted into data collection may still be disturbed to realize their data has been sold to third-party after third-party. At the very least, having the opt-in forms is a step forward.

Elections & Politics

The Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal also drew much attention because it was connected to the results of a controversial election. Facebook’s ads focus on serving up content, but this scandal shows that Facebook’s data may have been involved in not just driving fake news, but also in helping to create a social environment that antagonized people and highlighted the differences among us.

If your business is in politics or you are stepping into it for the first time, it’s particularly important to avoid leveraging big data that could impact elections or other political matters.

Data Privacy & Security Solutions

With data privacy and security problems on the rise, what can your business do? The first step is to use first-party data when you can. Give your customers the option to understand what you’ll be doing with their data, what safeguards have been put in place and who will have access to their data. Essentially, let them know you can serve them better content and ads if they opt-in.

If you find a problem, as Facebook did with Cambridge Analytica, face it immediately and look for solutions. Solutions can be developed and there’s always room for innovation, such as how Demografy is paving the way in the area of information-masking technology.

At Live Assets, we can connect you with IT professionals who are experienced with big data, distributed frameworks and real-time security and compliance tools. If you are looking for staff to innovate and create solutions for these privacy challenges, call us at (416) 572-1020 or contact us for a business consultation.