Major Data Breach May Affect You

Emily Blount, Editor

Facebook recently admitted that up to 87 million people may be affected by the Cambridge Analytica data breach. Cambridge Analytica is a data analysis firm that worked on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

Aleksandr Kogan, a professor of psychology at the University of Cambridge, was given permission by Facebook to collect data from users that downloaded the app, “ThisIsYourDigitalLife.” The data he collected included location, friends, and likes. Kogan then sold the information to Cambridge Analytica, so they could build a system to target U.S. citizens with political ads.
Christopher Wiley, a contractor for Cambridge Analytica, gave information to the “New York Times” and London’s “Observer” about the company’s data collection. Facebook has suspended Wiley from the site.

In 2015, CEO of Cambridge Analytica, Alexander Nix, was asked to purge the information. Cambridge Analytica said they did not use the information for the 2016 presidential election. Nix has also come under scrutiny for discussing political bribery and entrapment of politicians on a report aired by a British television channel.

Facebook started notifying users at the top of their feed if their data may have been compromised on April 9. However, three Illinois Facebook users have decided to file a lawsuit. They are filing a suit under the Biometric Information Privacy Act. The act affords individuals protection over information like fingerprints and facial recognition data. If the suit ends in the plaintiffs favor, Facebook could owe every Facebook user in Illinois millions in damages.

Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, testified in front of congress about the scandal. Over 100 legislators asked Zuckerberg questions for over 10 hours, many asking about how Facebook plans to protect users data in the future. A Republican lawmaker warned Zuckerberg saying, “Be careful, or we might just have to regulate you.”

This data breach could affect you. If you had a notice at the top of your feed, that means your data was accessed by Cambridge Analytica. To avoid having your data accessed by any social media app, including Facebook, in the future, make sure you are reading the terms of service when using an app. Also, avoid downloading apps that make you give personal information, or, if you have the option, give as little personal information to apps as possible. Even though the internet can be fun and useful, it is always good to practice safety and not give too much of your information out. You never know who can access it.