Snowden Calls Upon Facebook Naming It Surveillance Company
Can You Protect Your Data?
Facebook’s stock still on a downward trajectory after the news of a data mining company handed personal information of roughly 50 million Facebook users to the Trump campaign in 2015-16 has gone viral. There has been an almost $50 billion decline in Facebook’s market cap since Friday.
Cambridge analytica, the data mining firm based in the UK involved in the scandal has placed CEO Alexander Nix on suspension after he was recorded in an undercover documentary by Britain’s Channel 4 boasting about the firm’s work for Trump. Then Facebook said it was suspending Cambridge Analytica after finding data privacy policies had been violated. Interesting that it took this story for these suspensions, because obviously both companies were aware what was going on.
This isn’t the first time this has happened either. The Obama campaign gained access to just about every profile on Facebook through around 1 million ‘Obama backers’ in 2012 using a Facebook app. According to Carol Davidsen, former director for media analytics for Obama’s 2012 campaign, she revealed in a Time article in 2012, Carol spotlighted the Obama campaign’s Facebook targeting campaign, which she said was codenamed ‘Project Taargus’.
Although that particular app was not allowed again, the Democratic party still had all of that data going into the 2016 election. Who knows what else they were able to get in 2016, if they did it in 2012, and the Trump campaign was able to do it in 2015, why could they not do it again?
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden tweeted Saturday, that Facebook is a “surveillance company” that sells its users’ personal details.
Snowden added, “Businesses that make money by collecting and selling detailed records of private lives were once plainly described as ‘surveillance companies’, their rebranding as ‘social media’ is the most successful deception since the Department of War became the Department of Defense.”
We already wrote about how the crypto community should be showing more support for several cryptocurrencies amid more revelations the NSA has been tracking cryptocurrency users, namely Bitcoin. The NSA was recording their private data using a programme called MONKEYROCKET, a sub-programme of OAKSTAR, which collected data from the Middle East, Europe, South America, and Asia, according to the documents released by Edward Snowden, and reported on by Glenn Greenwald.
Blockchain as an Answer to Selling Our Data
We have all been asleep at the wheel, letting social media companies get away with selling our data for the perceived convenience of a ‘free’ social media platform. There is an obvious answer to our problems, and yet again, it is blockchain. It is time that users of facebook and other social media platforms take back their power, and demand their information stay private unless they choose to give it out, or in some cases actually make money from their content. With blockchain, users who take social media seriously, and produce quality content, could stop giving away their hard work to facebook leaving them with no financial gain, a bunch of likes, and 10 minutes of fame as compensation.
Content on Facebook has been a massive financial boon for the platform, and not for the creator. That is due to the design of the platform, most social media is centralized and completely in control of the social media company. With blockchain, it is decentralized and in your control. You could set permissions, potentially receive monetary compensation to view content you create. Just like how YouTube pays content creators, blockchain would grant creators a form of passive income, plus address the problem with our personal information getting into the wrong hands, or being shared without our permission, and/or knowledge.
There are social media startups working on this right now, companies like Nexus, Aktie social, and Steemit. Weather they are the answer is neither here nor there, but It is up to us to explore these ideas, and to create meaningful change.
Author: Steven Johnson