It’s not even close to being Halloween, but we’re living through some pretty scary times for social networks/data collectors. Wired has written a detailed recap of what has taken place with Facebook and Cambridge Analytica.
What I find surprising is that while this has become news, not much of it is really new. Carole Cadwalladr at the Guardian wrote an in-depth piece just over a year ago about Cambridge Analytica and the Trump campaign. It was fascinating then and is still fascinating to me. It made me think that Trump’s ramblings, repetitions, and missteps were not accidental but strategic. ( I KNOW!) There is an intriguing footnote to this article now. It was the subject of a lawsuit against the Guardian by Cambridge Analytica! I wonder how likely that is to proceed any further based on what has come out in the past couple of weeks.
Never Miss a Story
What I can’t help concluding is that this is a big data story and it doesn’t end here. There are a lot of data-use grey areas out there. Think about how Target or Amazon use sales data. Consider all of the ad-retargeting that we get? How often have you shopped for something to then have it haunt your web browsing for weeks afterward? Have we entered the age of the end of privacy? For most of us probably yes, but for blissful others living off-grid, probably no. I think we can all agree that privacy as we knew it a decade or two ago is now an artifact. If you’re a Walking Dead fan, then privacy is a beloved family member that is now a walker (that’s a zombie for the rest of you). Spoiler alert: it doesn’t end well for walkers.