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How Does The ‘Facebook – Cambridge Analytica’ Scandal Effect Us

Whenever we, as a digital world subscriber download an application in our smart-phone or open a website that require us to give certain permissions, we generally just ‘allow’ them access, rather than check and ‘deny’. We do this for the smoother functionality of our desired digital platform, that ends up sending our data, private or not, without us knowing to data collection firms far from our government’s and justice’s outreach. We are very vulnerable to these data-thefts and this vulnerability has further come to the forefront in the background of the ‘Facebook- Cambridge Analytica scandal’ and its connection to the Trump election’s furore. Sadly, our political parties including both Congress and BJP are amongst those connected with these data-centric firms. Let us first understand the details and nuances of the issue:


It all begins with Facebook, the largest social media firm in the world. It is also one of the largest marketing and API’s hosting platform in the world. With its millions of subscribers worldwide and their privacy permissions already gained, data was targeted, gathered and sold, duping the subscribers of their privacy. Aleksandr Kogan, a Russian American developed a quiz named ‘this is my digital life’(as a third-party API), that gathered data from subscribers as well as the friends of these subscribers data on facebook. Against the provisions of data usage of facebook, this gathered data of about 50 million users was further exposed to Steve Bennon, Vice-president of Cambridge Analytica. Cambridge Analytica is a political consulting firm headed by Alexander Nix as president. This is where the US elections come in. Steve Bennon then went on to approach Rebekah and Robert Mercer, conservative mega-donors of the Trump Campaign, who went on to invest in and utilize these records for Trump campaign. The electioneering campaigns could then be customized for the feeds of subscribers whose data was compromised. Their affectivity and outreach of this breach, in this particular situation are still under questions. Cambridge Analytica also had prepositioned itself as the shell-company for the SCL group, a British PR firm that helps various Governments, politicians and militaries worldwide. Thus, the data was accessed by one, shared with another, sold to the third, without any direct permission, from us,the digital user, whose data it is. The issue has been the knowledge of breaches and their possibility by Facebook.

Coming to the India aspect involved, our political parties too have been proven to access user data and their consulting ties with Cambridge Analytica as a PR firm. This company, through the applications and websites of these political parties has been able to access Indian-User data as well. Indian User and subscriber, the third largest in the world in terms of numbers, is not very aware as of now, and thus one of the most vulnerable. We should understand how it affects us.


Data is ‘King’. It is clear from all happenings in the world, and more so now. The issue mainly for us is the data permissions, access, and their affectivity that are mostly carefully worded in long ‘privacy uses’ and ‘terms and conditions’ documents. We, the normal users are mostly unaware how our online choices and permissions define us, how they are picked up by our applications and website cookies. Many of these permissions are not utilized by that application, but are then also gathered and are vulnerable to be used for and by unscrupulous elements for their gains.

It is high time, impromptu permissions be clarified and understood clearly by us and ruled in by the Government agencies and policies as well.

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