24 Mar 2018

Bits+Bytes: Facebook's data disgrace

From Bits+Bytes, 12:45 pm on 24 March 2018
Data security breach

Photo: https://www.blogtrepreneur.com/ (Flickr user blogtrepreneur.com CC BY 2.0)

Peter Griffin and Datacom's Emily Wang join us to analyse the big tech story this week: the allegations that personal data from 50 million Facebook users was obtained and used by a data analysis business called Cambridge Analytica for social media manipulation to influence elections throughout the world.

The latest claims come from Christopher Wylie who told The Guardian that he helped found the company and came up with the technique.

The user data was harvested using a personality test app developed in 2013 that appeared in people's feeds. If you completed the survey you gave permission for the app to mine your information as well as that of your network of friends, and it's claimed everything from likes to private messages were harvested in this way.

So who's to blame?

Well, Facebook is blaming Cambridge Analytica and Cambridge University researcher Aleksandr Kogan, who developed the app that was used to obtain the user data.

But there are claims that Facebook provided Mr Kogan with anonymised, aggregated data about Facebook friendships for a study published in 2015 which had 2 Facebook employees named as co-authors.

In other news, another player enters the movie streaming market, a trial of 5G mobile technology gets underway in Wellington, and the latest on battery problems affecting a model of Nissan's popular electric car, the Leaf.