Talking Data Podcast

Mar 22 2018   8:00PM GMT

Facebook data privacy missteps seen in light of GDPR

Jack Vaughan Jack Vaughan Profile: Jack Vaughan

Tags:
Big Data
GDPR

C-suite folks and others have taken notice this week as Facebook finds itself in a sack of woe. Data privacy is at issue.

The Silicon Valley high flyer has gained the kind of publicity you don’t want, in the wake of news that its social media platform was used to gather up Facebook profile information of thousands (or millions — the full details of the story are still coming in) of users for political consultancy Cambridge Analytica for still to be determined purposes.

Cambridge Analytica did its gathering via a third-party that fielded a “thisisyourditigallife” survey app that walked users through personality quizzes and, incidentally, scraped info from their and their friend’s profiles.

Facebook in its responses to this news at first stridently held this was not actually a data breach, but was instead a rogue third-party developer’s wandering from company data policy. Let’s call it a “data faux pas of the developer kind.” In the face of general uproar, that somewhat dismissive response was somewhat dialed back.

Which brings us to GDPR. Facebook’s latest egg-on-its-face moment comes only a month after COO Sheryl Sandberg had assured a Brussels, Belgium crowd that the company was ready for the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, which is the EU’s comprehensive data privacy edict, due to go into enforcement in late May.

GDPR is intended to give web users more control over their on-line data profiles – that is just the type of control that seems now to have been lacking in the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica episode.

Data professionals have been grappling of late with GDPR which, by some measures, is meant to bring about a firm style of data governance — one that might have gone missing during the big data gold rush of which Facebook was a big part.

How ready data professionals are for GDPR is a matter of conjecture, and it is the topic of this edition of the Talking Data podcast, recorded after Sandberg’s Brussels pronouncement, but just before the news on Facebook and Cambridge Analytica broke.

The podcasters discuss GDPR, and the different uptake rates it’s likely to exhibit in different industries and departments within companies. Marketing, they suggest, may be a little late to the GDPR party but starting to get involved.

Whether you call the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica event a data breach, a data faux pas, or what have you, it is fair to say the latest doings will quickly bring data privacy and GDPR to more people’s attention. Many viewers expect Facebook will be among the first to hear the GDPR enforcers knocking. – Jack Vaughan

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