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Facebook Privacy

Former Cambridge Analytica Employee Says Facebook Users Affected Could Be 'Much Greater Than 87 million' (theverge.com) 45

Cambridge Analytica and its partners used data from previously unknown "Facebook-connected questionnaires" to obtain user data from the social media service, according to testimony from a former Cambridge Analytica employee. From a report: Brittany Kaiser provided evidence to the British Parliament today as part of a hearing on fake news. Kaiser, who worked on the business team at Cambridge Analytica's parent company until January of this year, wrote in a statement that she was "aware in a general sense of a wide range of surveys" used by Cambridge Analytica or its partners, and she said she believes the number of people whose Facebook data may have been compromised is likely higher than the widely reported 87 million.
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Former Cambridge Analytica Employee Says Facebook Users Affected Could Be 'Much Greater Than 87 million'

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  • by WoodstockJeff ( 568111 ) on Tuesday April 17, 2018 @01:31PM (#56453281) Homepage

    ... how information you GAVE AWAY to unknown people is "compromised", just because it was used by someone you may not have wanted to know it?

    • by iMadeGhostzilla ( 1851560 ) on Tuesday April 17, 2018 @01:57PM (#56453513)

      It's in CA's interest to keep fanning this flame as they only profit if people -- and potential clients -- believe CA really helped change history.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        The only down side being that they could get shut down or maybe even jail time in the UK.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      This.

      Assuming I'm one of the 87 million, how am I affected by this? Why should I care?

      What I post on Facebook is public. That's why I put it on Facebook. What I don't want public I don't put on Facebook.

      Why is this so hard for people to understand?

      • by thsths ( 31372 )

        It is not about the data, it is what CA does with it. Basically they can write a different message for each of the 87 Million Facebook users, a different advert, a different party political program.

        And democracy only works if the options (the parties) are the same for everybody. Tailoring your party political program ultimately means that the winning party has no platform and no democratic legitimization to do anything.

    • The information was freely given to Facebook - not to third parties.

      When you do a pen-test you set boundaries with the client up-front. Things like "just break into the DMZ" or "leave our customer database alone" are part of the contract. If you go in and gather that customer database, then that customer data is compromised (and you are in breach of contract). My understanding is FB only sells anonymous data, so CA gathering real sheeple data is where the "compromise' comes from.

    • by Xest ( 935314 )

      It's compromised because the data was given to Facebook, therefore the contract exists between the user and Facebook. Some users also gave permission for their data to be given to an app created by Alexsandr Kogan in his capacity as a researcher, but some of the data that Alexsandr Kogan took was from friends of people who gave permission for their data to be given to the app.

      There's two issues here, one is a bit of a grey area, the other is clearly illegal, and hence reasonable to class as a breach.

      The fir

    • by Anonymous Coward

      For the same reason that talking on the telephone has a reasonable expectation that only the other person can listen to the call.

  • How many non-users did Cambridge get information on? It's been known for some time - and was admitted in congress recently - that facebook has profiles for non-users as well as actual users. For myself and ... well, I'm told repeatedly that I am the only remaining person alive between the age of 8 and 80 who doesn't have a profile there ... it would be really interesting to know if Cambridge got information on "us" as well.
    • by skids ( 119237 ) on Tuesday April 17, 2018 @01:41PM (#56453397) Homepage

      You're not alone. I wonder if we're in better standing to sue the pants off someone.

      (Congratulations, bleating sheep of America. You not only gave a huge social engineering war-chest to the evil corporations you ranted about on FaceBook, but also probably to the Evil Government you ranted about on FaceBook, and most certainly to the Evil Enemies of America you ranted about on FaceBook. I hope you are proud of yourselves.)

      • Honestly I wonder why we bleating sheep even bother. Why have we not withdrawn all our armies from the wealthy nations of Europe and used that money to help our own people?
    • Guaranteed if you had any friends or family on there, you're on there too. Probably this applies to co-workers in many situations as well.

    • by chispito ( 1870390 ) on Tuesday April 17, 2018 @02:01PM (#56453541)

      How many non-users did Cambridge get information on? It's been known for some time - and was admitted in congress recently - that facebook has profiles for non-users as well as actual users. For myself and ... well, I'm told repeatedly that I am the only remaining person alive between the age of 8 and 80 who doesn't have a profile there ... it would be really interesting to know if Cambridge got information on "us" as well.

      Citation please. Zuckerberg admitted to running analytics on anonymous users--you know, keeping web server logs--NOT to creating "shadow profiles," a term that still makes zero sense. I've read the Gizmodo article [gizmodo.com] and I really think it comes down to somebody who doesn't understand what a relational database is and how trivial it is for FB to suggest contacts based on the loads of info your friends and family have already provided. There is no need to pre-generate anything.

      Simplified example: Friend A and Friend B frequently tagged you in pictures. They also tagged Stranger C. Do you know Stranger C?

      My suspicion is that they will simply stop suggesting contacts, as they should. Unfortunately, this doesn't prevent your friends and families from tagging you all over the place and providing all sorts of details about your life.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Facebook users ran an app that asked for permission to access the profile and then asked them a series of questions.
    So the users gave consent for the app to access their information, how is that compromised?

    • by thsths ( 31372 )

      Well, for one, the app also accessed the information of all their friends, who did not give permission. That seems like a pretty significant breach to me. If 500 000 gave permission, and 87 000 000 profiles were harvested, that is a breach. A pretty big breach.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    All of these questionnaires and Facebook linked apps primarily exist to harvest your data, and sell it for ads.

    Nobody is making these things for your benefit, it's always been about corporate greed.

    Sorry people, but that's what Facebook is for, it just comes in the guise of something you think you can't live without.

    LOL, captcha: exploit

    That about sums it up.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    but 13 Russian Twitter trolls swayed your entire electoral system! Not only is your president a joke, your whole electoral process is as fragile as a paper tiger in a typhoon!

  • Why should anyone care about the kind of information farmed from Facebook. I mean, it's not all THAT sensitive. People are acting like Cambridge Analytica gained access to electronic medical records or bank accounts. This is crap anyone whose your friend, or in many cases anyone period, can see.
    • Re:Honest question (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Quantum gravity ( 2576857 ) on Tuesday April 17, 2018 @02:48PM (#56453817)
      This is what Christopher Wylie (The whistleblower in the Facebook–Cambridge Analytica scandal) has to say about it:

      "So whenever you go, and you like something, you are giving me a clue as to who you are as a person. And so all of this can be captured very easily and run through an algorithm that learns who you are. When you go to work - right? - your co-workers only see one side of you. Your friends only see one side of you. But a computer sees all kinds of sides of you. And so we can get better than human level accuracy at predicting your behavior."
      • That's a really great explanation. Honestly, it just seemed to me that Cambridge Analytics just cheated the system and got some survey-like data from Facebook that they sold off.
  • The expectation of privacy is invalid. Assume that everyone is "compromised" on FB. Live with facts. Live as though your privacy is no more. I learned this a long time ago when I got my Amateur Radio License KJ7L. I'm world-searchable via the FCC.gov website for just being a Ham Radio guy. Thus, how should I expect my privacy to be anything but a smoke screen?

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