Are our concerns valid about our data when issues like Cambridge Analytica happen, does the EU’s GDPR help us to protect our data from leaks happening again?

The Netflix documentary, “The Great Hack” has been watched all over the world by tens of millions of people most of whom were shocked to hear of how experts, journalists and whistle-blowers and former employees at Cambridge Analytica, the Data firm that came to the world’s attention for its work with both President Trump’s campaign and the Leave campaign during the BREXIT referendum, gave accounts of just how far the firm went to use people’s information to manipulate and coerce people into voting in a certain way.cambridge analytica GDPR MW Keller

The documentary highlighted for the public how innocent people willingly gave their information to Facebook in the belief that it was to be used for light entertainment on Facebook, such as personality quizzes, but that the information was actually being used to delve very deeply into the psyche of hundreds of millions of people worldwide and the information then used to manipulate these people into voting in a certain way. The main thrust of Cambridge Analytica’s perspective is that you don’t need to change everyone’s mind you just need to change the minds of those who can be persuaded.

This was done by identifying them through harvesting personal data from Facebook and using this data to influence them. The use of one’s personal data and the absolute flagrant flouting of GDPR rules and regulations is astonishing.

It has now been reported that Facebook will pay a record $5 billion penalty in the United States for deceiving users about their ability to keep personal information private following the investigation into the Cambridge Analytica Data breach. This is a phenomenal penalty – the previous largest fine for a data breach was, by comparison, a mere $275 million penalty. The scale of the fine is representative of the level of the breach that Facebook engaged in wrongly using people’s personal data and the effect that it has had.

If you have any questions on GDPR please contact us here or email thomascarroll@mwkeller.ie

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