Brief Analysis of Applicable Provisions
In the Cambridge Analytica Scandal, which was unearthed in the year 2016, it was found that, a major data breach had happened with one of the world’s largest social media platform Facebook. Cambridge Analytica was a political consulting firm, which helped in Trump campaign. This organization extracted the data and information from Facebook in order to create various psychological profile of the users who hailed from the United States of America. It was found that, Trump supporters were mega donors for the firm, that is, Cambridge Analytica. This organization was helped by their parent organization, SCL Group in order to create the psychological profile for the users. Primarily, Cambridge Analytica got access of the user profiles from Facebook. After that, with the help of SCL Group, they were able to track the user movements and the uploads which the users made. Also, based on the kind of posts the users have shared on the social media platform, it helped in creating the psychological profile of the users. Through the psychological profiles of the user, the election campaign benefited with the fact about the percentage of voters who would elect their candidate.
This scandal was mainly highlighted due to the fact that, there was serious data leak from the database and server of the social media networking platform. Along with that, the organization, that is, Cambridge Analytica, were able to get their hands on all the sensitive data and information which are being shared by the users on the social media networking platform. The organization analysed all the data and information which are being shared by users in order to understand their political opinion. This helped the firm to predict about the result of the election in the year 2016.
The General Data Protection Regulation contains various policies and regulations which helps in the protection of the sensitive data and information of the user which are available in any online platform. With the help of the data protection regulation, the organization is able to apply information security policies which helps them in managing the sensitive data and information which are being sent by the users to the organization. The General Data Protection Regulation 2018 (EU) 2016 / 679 contains the legislative acts which has been formed in order to protect a user which relevance to the processing of data and information, and its free movement in any online platform. Below is the analysis of applicable provisions –
- One of the regulation states that, all the data and information which has been taken from the user should used in order to serve mankind. However, in the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the organization have extracted the data and information from the social media networking platform in order to create the psychological profiles. After that, those data and information has been sent to the election campaign. This helped the election campaign organizers to understand the political inclination of the users.
- The regulation also recognised the fact that, there has been surge of availability of public data and information of the users in various online platforms. With the rapid technological development, both the private and government organization has been utilizing these data and information in order to execute their business processes. Also, the private organization can send the extracted data and information to third party sources, to process the data. However, they should ensure that, the data and information which has been extracted must be protected from the end of the third-party organization. In the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the data which were available in the social media platform, were not protected and was leaked which helped the organization to create the psychological profiles of the users.
- The data protection law, also states that, the data and information which are being sent into the social media platform, should have control on their data and information. This means that, the data and information which are being sent by the users on the social media platform, should have knowledge, as where their data is being used. However, in the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the users did not have control over their data. Furthermore, they also did not know, that their data and information were used to produce a psychological profile which will help for the election campaign.
- The regulation also states, that, if the controller of the sensitive data and information is aware of data loss or data leak, then they should notify the supervisory authority about the incident within 72 hours. However, the organization, that is, Cambridge Analytica has been extracting the data and information from the database and server of Facebook for many months. The social media platform, did know about the exposure of the sensitive data and information of the user, however they did not notify the supervisor authority about the data leak.
Identification of Source of the Problem
In this section, the identification of source of the problem will be discussed. Earlier, the applicable provisions have been discussed. The main source of the problem is due to the data leak or data exposure from the social media platform. The General Data Protection Regulation clearly states that, the data and information of the users which are available in various online platform, can be used by both private and government organizations. In the current generation, most of the organization around the world uses information system and information technology in order to provide the services and operations to their end user. However, in order for the information system and information technology to function, the organization requires data and information. These data and information are collected from the online platform. The data and information that are collected, should be used for the welfare of mankind. Here, the data and information has been used to create psychological profile of users, which will help them to understand their political inclination.
With the introduction of information system, most of the sensitive data and information are available in the online platforms. Also, the government and private organization have the permission to use that data and information in order to provide the operations and services to their end users. Along with that, the private organization also have the permission to extract the data and information from the online platforms and then send those data to a third-party organization in order to process or analyse the information that has been collected. However, in this scandal, the data leak or data exposure was done by the third-party organization. Here, the third-party organization did not comply with the regulation where they would need to protect the data within the premises of the organization.
Another problem which has been identified is that, the user did not have any knowledge, where their sensitive data and information is being used. In the social media platform, the user posts all kinds of sensitive data and information. However, it becomes responsibility of the social media platform, to let the users know where the data and information are being used. In the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the social media platform has sent the data and information to the third-party organization. However, the users were not informed where their data is being used, and for which purpose.
Lastly, when a data breach or data exposure has been occurred, then it becomes the responsibility of the controller to inform the supervising authority about the incident. Here the social media platform, did know that, the data and information has been extracted by another organization, that is, Cambridge Analytica in order to generate psychological profiles, so that, they would be able to understand the political inclination of the users.
Firstly, the social media platform applied several data protection policy and regulation within their organization. Also, according to the rules and regulation which is present in the GDPR the social media platform has been fined millions of dollars, for mishandling the data and information which has been sent to Cambridge Analytica. Furthermore, Cambridge Analytica has also under went several investigations, after which the organization has been found guilty. The organization has been defuncted since the year 2018. Adding to that, their parent organization has also been closed down, that is, SCL Group. Several rules and regulations have been formed after the scandal was unearthed. The social media platform, also updated their terms and condition during the account creation step. Adding to that, the social media platform, have also arranged a data protection department, who will manage the data and information of the users which are present in their platform. Also, if any third-party organization is using those data and information, then the organization would need to report to the social media platform, about how the data is being used and the purpose behind. Furthermore, users who are using the social media platform, are alerted whenever a third-party organization is using their data. Also, whenever the users logins with their social media credential into an application, then they receive a notification about the name of the application which has access to their data.
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