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Facebook's Latest Data Breach Reveals Silicon Valley's Fortunes Are Built on Pilfering Privacy

March 21, 2018 in Blogs

By Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet

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Facebook has the keys to our personal lives. And that's just the beginning of the end of our privacy.


One of the worst weeks in Facebook’s history—its stock tumbled, Congress and Parliament demanded top executives testify and explain, and the Federal Trade Commission opened a new investigation—is due to a simple fact: the company shares and sells privacy-breaching profiles of millions of users.

Facebook’s latest troubles rose to the top of the news this weekend when a series of investigative reports in the U.S. and Britain found that private political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, created by Trump’s former political guru Steve Bannon, had stolen 50 million Facebook user profiles. The profiles were intended to be used in the 2016 election for the electoral equivalent of psychological warfare: to push, prod, play on prejudices, you name it, and provoke millions of Americans in swing states to vote for Donald Trump—or not to vote for Hillary Clinton.

It turns out Trump’s campaign didn’t use Bannon’s psychological warfare machine after all. Cambridge Analytica's data simply wasn’t as good as Facebook’s own customized advertising platforms, in conjunction with the Republican Party’s voter files. Beyond that takeaway, to stop giving Bannon credit where it's not due, Facebook’s problems stem from the fact that it's a privacy-busting social media platform.

But this feature, which some people find deeply disturbing, isn’t unique in Silicon Valley. Rather, it is indicative of what’s coming under the rapidly developing Internet of Things. That realization puts Facebook’s latest political turmoil, and the various governmental responses, into an odd category: what’s noisy today isn’t likely to change what’s coming tomorrow, as the loss of privacy is a given for the touted benefits of a wired world.

“This is not a story about hacking or data breaches, but about Facebook’s privacy policies,” …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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