Let’s put this Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal into context: You get what you pay for when it comes to privacy.
The fact that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg may see himself as the modern-day incarnate of Don Draper, he really is more of a data miner than anything else.
Do you think this is the first time Facebook data have been utilized for government purposes?
The 2016 presidential election is a red herring and a cover for all the darts being thrown Facebook’s way. Raw data have been given to numerous advertising and marketing firms for targeting products and perhaps utilized by sitting governments for messaging policy-related themes like, um, ObamaCare.
Zuckerberg sells access to data and data output. Period.
Selling data is a big business, and a very profitable one. How else can you explain Facebook’s $40-plus billion in revenue with only 25,000 employees? Selling user data has afforded the company a $490 billion market cap.
But there are also examples of Silicon Valley firms doing the right thing when it comes to privacy.
Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook is famously fierce about protecting his users’ privacy. Nobody had to misuse or co-opt Apple’s customer data under any pretense for him to stare down Congress and the FBI when it came to user information.
Cook has drawn the ire of the government for Apple’s advanced encryption, and that takes guts. Microsoft has been known to also be ultra-protective with its customer information.
With Facebook, however, the user is the customer and the platform is free.
Now would Apple’s stance change if gave away its phones? Probably. Again, you get what you pay for with online privacy.
As ex-FBI Director James Comey famously said at a Boston College cybersecurity conference in March of last year, “There is no such thing as absolute privacy in America.”
Damn the Fourth Amendment.