It has been reassuring to see the news headlines about investigations in to the illegal use of personal data by leading people and organisations.
However, it is unlikely that this kind of behaviour will stop. Curtailing the activities of a company or two will simply result in others adopting the same unethical behaviour, but hiding it better or skirting the law better. Our systems show that when we are caught, we improve our deception so that we don’t get caught again. Or we pay off the authorities. This is clearly evidenced by the lack of reform in the banking sector in the past decade.
Sharing users’ data might not even be considered illegal – it’s quite clear that it’s been going on for years. (Have a look at the extract below from How to Get Rich and Famous which discusses the original algorithms developed by Kosinski.) The concern being highlighted is that the CEO of Cambridge Analytica was caught on camera offering to bribe and blackmail. The abuse of private data is becoming acceptable as we all turn a blind eye to the gratuitous relationships we have with social media platforms and search engines.
Instead, we must each care enough to change our own behaviour.
So here is some advice from the BBC on protecting yourself, if you can’t bear to leave Facebook, Google, Microsoft et al: Continue reading Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Psychometrics and You