[…] the U.S-based content industry largely has itself to blame for the EU’s draconian new rules, as well as those now being reconsidered at home. Internet companies have had over a decade to integrate basic data collection and use safeguards into their operations, including limiting the data they collect and adopting international information security standards. These efforts have mostly failed. Today nearly 40% of all cybersecurity incidents involve insiders, not hackers.Regulation of Facebook (a point I speculated on in my post last month about the data scandal) is a topic that governments have started talking about more. In his session with congressmen on April 11, Mark Zuckerberg even suggested that regulation might be “inevitable” for Facebook and other such companies:
“The internet is growing in importance around the world in people’s lives and I think that it is inevitable that there will need to be some regulation,” he said.
Be sure that a debate on this and every related topic will be deep and wide in scope and scale, once it gets underway. When would that be? “Soon” :)
A Deal with the DevilWhile we can be outraged at what Facebook has let happen, all of this is only one part of the picture. The other part concerns that group of people known as ‘users’ – the people who signed up to Facebook and use it as a means of connecting with others, sharing news and experiences, discovering new things and new friends, etc. There are more than 2 billion such people worldwide. I’m one. When it comes to data protection and privacy – that’s our data and our privacy – what role do we have in this sorry saga? When it comes to agreeing the rules of the game – terms and conditions of use, agreeing to privacy policies, cookies, data sharing, it’s a long list – what’s our responsibility before we hit that ‘Sign me up!’ button? Here’s the New Yorker shining a spotlight on our failure:
We’ve known the dangers of Facebook for years. We certainly knew of them before social media, with and without Cambridge Analytica, twisted and fractured the political information that ultimately led to the election of Donald Trump […] It’s not like we weren’t told that using Facebook could have serious consequences for our digital privacy. They wrote on the wall at Facebook that they were going to break things. What did we think they were going to do? The dream of a world of total connection has resulted in unprecedented alienation. The dream of a world of instantly accessible knowledge has drifted into stupidity and lies. We blame Zuckerberg because we can’t stand to blame ourselves. The truth is that we made a deal with Facebook; we gave up our information for free. Unable to bear our own responsibility for the world we have chosen, we have turned the technologists into monsters we can blame.
So we knew the dangers yet still we signed up. Did we read those t&c and privacy and cookie policies? Like hell we did! Gimme free access, now! And the deal the New Yorker mentions, along with the “Grand Bargain” the Harvard Business Review talks about, look so much like a deal with the Devil, a Faustian bargain. So let’s apportion blame every which way. It isn’t equally shared – we trusted Facebook, after all, no matter how blindly or foolishly. And while we wait for the politicians, the regulators, the business people to actually agree on what’s next – not only for Facebook but also other platforms such as Twitter, Google, Amazon – let’s make some suggestions including on what each of us can do right now. Start with the five points suggested in the Internet Society’s call to action, embracing:
- Related: The broad topic of Facebook and the Cambridge Analytica affair since it broke was a primary topic for discussion in both recent episodes of two monthly business podcasts I co-host – The Hobson & Holtz Report as episode 130 of the For Immediate Release podcast with Shel Holtz; and The Small Data Form podcast episode 17 with Thomas Stoeckle and Sam Knowles.
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