Data leaks permeate discussions at the cultural level. One that’s currently making headlines is Cambridge Analytica’s harvesting of private information from the Facebook profiles of 50 million users. The firm extrapolated voter behaviour based on the US electorate’s social media activities. Regardless of who benefitted during the campaign, which is to say let us set aside politics in this write-up, the most important point not to miss is that Cambridge Analytica did it without the permission of the users.
At a time that the likes of Facebook and Google hold the key to real people’s online activities, it is crucial to not only report about data breaches but also to remind users of their ownership rights. It’s the same principle that belies what also seems an unfair practice in the offline world: making people pay to get access to their personal information, such as an individual’s medical history in the healthcare sector.
Amidst such issues, the business sector is the likely place to look for solutions. After all, it is in this sector that consumer behaviours are tracked, presenting a potential dilemma for society if left unchecked. It is also in this sector that innovations sparking accountability are expected to spring up.