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The Greyhound

The Greyhound

We can no longer put personal data online


On Wednesday, April 4th, Facebook revealed that up to 87 million people may have their data accessed by Cambridge Analytica. This political analytics firm that worked on Trump’s campaign obtained personal data without user consent through third-party apps from 2011-2015, collecting information such as name, gender, location, political views, religion, etc. of both users and their friends. Facebook’s chief technology officer stated that Facebook is implementing updates to avoid similar data leaks in the future, but this data collection is part of a growing trend of privacy and personal data concerns.

Last year, Facebook announced that 146 million people were reached on its platform by a Kremlin-linked internet research agency’s chaos campaign. Other platforms have been affected as well, including the popular gay dating app, Grindr. Grindr had been providing two companies, Apptimize and Localytics, with information included in users’ profiles, including their HIV status. Once again, the app has promised to no longer share this information and tighten security, but all these incidents raise the questions of whether it is smart – or safe – to share information online.

I have social media, including Facebook, but these recent information leaks have led me to consider deleting some profiles, or at least reducing the amount of information and data available on them. Sure, you can set your profile to private and try to limit how much you share, but these third-party apps and information-collecting companies can still access even your most basic information.

This information can be sold to companies for marketing purposes, or for targeting voters in a political campaign, as in Cambridge Analytica’s case. It’s up to individual users as to whether or not they trust sites and are willing to submit information. After all, nothing on the internet is completely private, but these recent events might make you second-guess before posting your political views, current location, or even gender.

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  • Greyhound OpinionsApr 8, 2018 at 5:20 pm


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We can no longer put personal data online