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Making the Case: Enforcing Harsher Penalties for Data Debauchery

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As the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica data scandal cools down somewhat, the revelation that yet another tech giant has mishandled user data is still fresh in the minds of regulators and senators as CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s recent meeting with Congress wraps up.

Where this meeting will lead the tech and data industry is anybody’s guess. For data protection advocates, this could be the dawn of a new and hopeful day, heralding the birth of tighter regulations and penalties for tech giants involved in data debauchery. On the other hand, this could just be another drop in the bucket, a going-through-of-the-motions, so to speak.

The latter is believable, because this isn’t the first time that the CEO of a major corporation was made to testify in front of Congress. Richard F. Smith, the former CEO of Equifax, was in a similar situation as the head of the company when a data breach exposed lifetime data of over 146 million Americans. He found himself, much like Zuckerberg was, grilled by a council of Washington lawmakers.

In his testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, he apologized repeatedly,  “But he also sought to play down the severity of the problems that had led to the …

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