Facebook's Cambridge Analytica’s unbridled use of the profile data of 50 million Facebook members during the 2016 election must have opened the eyes of at least some of those out there that give up their personal data at an alarming rate. This practice has virtually abolished the word privacy to another planet. The Nation says...
"Nearly the entire Internet is based on the following trade: You give us intimate personal data, and we give you magical services for free. This is the original sin, and almost every major website you visit (except Wikipedia) commits it. (Yes, dear online Nation reader, there are at least five trackers running on you as you read this.)"The Internet is a wonderful invention, no doubt something we could not do without these days. My wife and I were talking today about all the books on our shelves we could get rid of since every bit of information in them can be found on the Internet. What we have collected over the years includes a large amount of reference, which we plan to give to used book stores and library sales, along with fiction, which is comprised of several of the classics. Most of the fiction, especially the classics, we will keep. In many homes a well stocked library was always considered a necessity.
Just this May the General Data Protection Regulation took effect in Europe, and we will all see a subtle shift in how big platforms deal with our data. Already I have had a notice from Blogger that they are updating my blog to confirm with the new European regulations. The purpose in all this is transparency of what personal data companies collect about you online. In the case of Cambridge Analytica it was all about politics, how they determine the right location on Facebook to place a political ad.
A Democratic firm by the name of DSPolitical claims to have invented a “political cookie,” an online tool for targeting individual voters, a new technology online much like direct mail was in its infancy. It's supposed to spare you from being flooded with useless political ads that you would prefer not to see. But to do that, it must know everything it can about you to make the decision. And there lies the problem. At least for those of us conscious of our privacy rights. Unfortunately the rest of you will fling your private information at anyone that promises you "magical services for free." Duh?