So did you get affected by the recent Cambridge Analytica Scam? Facebook has been into a lot of controversies regarding data breach in past many years. But with the latest data breach, Facebook has been dragged heavily as it is said that around 87 million users are going to get affected. Here in this blog, we will be giving you a thorough Cambridge Analytica scandal guide in order to be secure from Cambridge Analytica scandal. Cambridge Analytica privacy security has been questioned after this episode.

Facebook says most of the affected users (more than 70 million) are in the US, though there are over a million each in the Philippines, Indonesia and the UK.

In addition, all 2.2 billion Facebook users will receive a notice titled “Protecting Your Information” with a link to see what apps they use and what information they have shared with those apps.

If they want, they can uninstall apps individually or turn off third-party access to their apps completely.

What is Cambridge Analytica Scandal

Cambridge Analytica is a British political consulting firm which combines data mining, data brokerage, and data analysis with strategic communication for the electoral process.

It is said that a researcher from Global Science Research named, Aleksandr Kogan is the man behind sharing the acquired data through his application “thisisyourdigitallife”. It is a personality app that told users the information was anonymous and for physiological research.

Like the other apps, the users started downloading this one as well. When you open an application, it usually asks you few things. Whether you want to log in from Facebook or Google. If you say Facebook then it asks for allow the app to access all your Facebook profile information. This is the usual screen pop-up that everyone gets after downloading a particular app.

So here what happened, the users downloaded the application. And the data was all stored with this third-party application. After this, the Global Science Research allegedly sold that data to Cambridge Analytica.

The application was accessed by around 270000 people. Not only them, even the friends of those who were accessing the “This is Your Digital Life” were also affected.

Their data was also captured by this app and it was sold to Cambridge Analytica. In this way the app had the access to the data of millions of users.

But then many number of users have been affected by this. New York Times estimated that 50 million users were affected. Facebook says in a blog post that Kogan gained access to this information in a legitimate way and through the proper channels that governed all developers on Facebook at that time, he did not subsequently abide by its rules.

By passing information on to a third party, including SCL/Cambridge Analytica and Christopher Wylie of Eunoia Technologies, he violated Facebook’s platform policies.

How was the Timeline

The data breach was firstly observed by The New York Times and a UK observer and they started reporting about it. When Facebook came to know it suspended Cambridge Analytica’s account. This led to Facebook’s scrutiny from US’ privacy watchdog Federal Trade Commission.

Lawmakers and regulators from US and Europe started calling for investigations. Members of British Parliament sent a letter to Mark Zuckerberg to appear in front of their committee.

In this tussle, Facebook lost around $9 billion in stock market.

Facebook’s Take

Facebook released a statement on March 16 saying that, they are suspending Cambridge Analytica from Facebook. The social media giant is firm in saying that, it is  constantly working to improve the safety and experience of everyone on Facebook.

In the past five years, they have made significant improvements in its ability to detect and prevent violations by app developers. Now all apps requesting detailed user information go through its App Review process, which requires developers to justify the data they’re looking to collect and how they’re going to use it – before they’re allowed to even ask people for it.

Mark Zuckerberg on March 22 in his Facebook post explained,

“Last week, we learned from The Guardian, The New York Times and Channel 4 that Cambridge Analytica may not have deleted the data as they had certified. We immediately banned them from using any of our services. Cambridge Analytica claims they have already deleted the data and has agreed to a forensic audit by a firm we hired to confirm this. We’re also working with regulators as they investigate what happened. This was a breach of trust between Kogan, Cambridge Analytica and Facebook. But it was also a breach of trust between Facebook and the people who share their data with us and expect us to protect it. We need to fix that.”

Breach played a “Trump” card

There are no second thoughts that social media played a huge role in 2016 US presidential elections.

According to Cambridge Analytica lead data scientist David Wilkinson, the company advised Trump’s campaign to allocate time and resources to rural voters, especially in Florida, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.

Cambridge Analytica was successful in receiving an investment of $15 million from Robert Mercer, a Republican donor. He in return wanted to recognize the personalities of American voters and influence their behavior and thinking. But then at that time, the firm had no data.

Therefore, it entered into Facebook’s network, accessed more than 50 million users without their permission. The information has been given by the Cambridge employees and associates.

This is one of the biggest data leaks in the history of the social media network. The data was used in the Trump presidential elections in 2016.

According to New York Times, in Britain, Cambridge Analytica is facing intertwined investigations by Parliament and government regulators into allegations that it performed illegal work on the “Brexit” campaign.

The impact

Now that the whole issue is under investigation, if the allegation about playing with elections via “electronic brainwash” turns out to be true, then there are high chances that the people will stop believing in democracy.

Cambridge Analytica is just stuck from all the sides now. It is facing an inquiry from London and US. Also, Facebook has demanded an audit report from the firm.

This has led to the suspension of CEO of Cambridge Analytica, Alexander Nix. Moreover, a hashtag of #DeleteFacebook is now trending everywhere. Facebook has been summoned by Germany and Brazil. Facebook’s market shares have crashed badly.

And to cope up with the situation, Facebook has come up with a list of precautions it will take to prevent any such misuse in the future.

political viewsFacebook has also given the list of what kind of information is stored with them and how you can download the copy. In order to download what information Facebook has about you, just o to settings and click on “download a copy”. And you can see what all Facebook has. Therefore, always make sure that you do not use Facebook for disclosing any personal information.

Facebook also has your political views stored if you have given it.

 

Mark Zuckerberg has been called for oral evidence by Digital, Cultural, Media and Sport Committee of UK.

What about India in this situation

Taking into consideration this scenario, then India has not yet been affected by the data breach scandal. But India has already given a warning to the Facebook founder in this regard. According to News18, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “Mr. Mark Zuckerberg you better know the observation of IT Minister of India. If any data theft of Indians is done with the collusion of FB systems, it will not be tolerated. We have got stringent powers in the IT Act including summoning you in India.”

20 crore Indians are accessing Facebook on a daily basis. This counts in the company’s largest market outside US. The Union ministry has questioned Congress party of deploying Cambridge Analytica in the 2019 elections by manipulating data. And calling it as their “Brahmastra”. But now that scam has come out and has ruined all the possibilities, there are hardly any chances that it will be used by any Indian political party.

Conclusion

Now that the whole situation is taking a bad turn with Facebook facing a backlash, it is the responsibility of the users to be careful. This truth is known to all that if you are updating any information on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, it is bound to be gathered and used.

Also, it is always recommended not to use any kind of applications that don’t make any sense. And think twice before accepting any privacy policy of the application. The main aim of such apps is to gather the personal information of the user.

So delete the apps that can be a trouble for you in the future. Let’s hope this data breach becomes an eye-opener for everyone.

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