It appears we reached a global level of moral outrage surpassing a high warp factor during the week commencing 19th March 2018 with widespread news coverage of the machinations of Cambridge Analytica (CA). [I write as a long-time cynic who did not need to experience  last week to know that “I am the product”.] We are all making choices daily – for example, allowing the location features to be turned on so that our devices can more easily orientate us in various applications. There is a wealth of data being gathered about our preferences on a daily basis – unless, of course, you have entirely abstained from not just social media but also online shopping, cloud-based email services, map applications etc.

Everyone appears to have a left hand vs, right hand challenge, actively participating in trivial, nonsensical surveys, quizzes, games through online social media fora and yet expressing extensive indignation at the very notion that the resulting data might be mined, shared, and utilized for nefarious purposes. Many of today’s applications and services appear to be suffering from a level of neediness that feeds the immaturity of the non-paying users. Picture Audrey II, the big flower in the basement of the Little Shop of Horrors; these systems need constant feeding in order to hit usage targets and data volumes sufficient to please shareholders. Without sufficient caution, users are actively feeding Audrey II daily by responding to and sharing these applications. Repeat after me: we are the product.

To recap, a breach at Facebook did not occur, though knowledge has existed of what was, in fact, clearly a breach of contract since 2015 (the activities themselves having taken place in 2014, four years ago) when Facebook discovered that Professor Alexsandr Kogan, having utilized its application (Read more...)