Washington D.C. government sues Facebook over Cambridge Analytica scandal

Posted:
in General Discussion edited December 2018
The attorney general for Washington, D.C. itself announced that the region is suing Facebook for its role in Cambridge Analytica's illicit collection of private data.

Cambridge Analytica voter data


Facebook could be asked to pay $5,000 per violation of D.C.'s consumer protection law -- potentially putting the total near $1.7 billion, Reuters reported. The latter figure stems from the accusation that data was collected from 340,000 people in the D.C. area.

Facebook misled its users as it knew about Analytica's data scraping for two years before making it public, charged Attorney General Karl Racine. He added that while the social network promised it was keeping watch on third-party apps, it made relatively few checks, and used deceptive privacy settings.

The company reportedly tried to settle before the lawsuit was launched, and Racine even described its participation as "reasonable." The case was filed anyway to "expedite change" in practices.

Facebook is facing a barrage of legal actions in the U.S., including investigations by six states into privacy practices, and a Federal Trade Commission investigation into whether it broke a 2011 consent decree. The FTC case alone carries the threat of thousands of dollars per day in fines.

Cambridge Analytica and Cambridge University researcher Aleksandr Kogan used a quiz app to collect data on Facebook users and their connected friends, the latter without their consent, enabling Analytica to build voter profiles for some 71 million Americans and a smaller amount of people overseas. The harvesting was discovered in 2015, but only made public by Facebook in March 2018. This drew the scrutiny of governments in both the U.S. and the U.K.

Some clients of Analytica -- now mostly defunct -- included the Presidential campaigns for Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, and the Institutional Revolutionary Party during Mexico's 2018 general election.

Facebook is under intense fire for its privacy practices in general, the latest revelations being that it signed special data-sharing agreements with companies like Microsoft, Netflix, Spotify and Amazon that let them bypass normal privacy policies, and that it allowed Apple devices to obfuscate indicators that it was asking for personal data, even giving access to the contact and calendar entries of users who disabled sharing in Facebook's account settings. Apple claims that it didn't know of this, and that any shared data was kept on-device.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 8
    steven n.steven n. Posts: 1,093member
    I'm puzzled over this. Really I am.

    In 2008, the media lauded the Obama campaign for using the growing social media platforms to create a grass roots campaign by scraping data from its users and user's "friends". Obama even had a special app for the 2012 campaign requiring FB login and it collected (without clear notification) very similar data as the CA data.

    Personally, I think they are both reprehensible invasions, but why was it lauded by the media in 2008 and 2012 as a wonderful use of the new social media platforms and fully demonize in 2016?
    gatorguymacseekerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 8
    Wow
  • Reply 3 of 8
    dewmedewme Posts: 1,898member
    steven n. said:
    I'm puzzled over this. Really I am.

    In 2008, the media lauded the Obama campaign for using the growing social media platforms to create a grass roots campaign by scraping data from its users and user's "friends". Obama even had a special app for the 2012 campaign requiring FB login and it collected (without clear notification) very similar data as the CA data.

    Personally, I think they are both reprehensible invasions, but why was it lauded by the media in 2008 and 2012 as a wonderful use of the new social media platforms and fully demonize in 2016?
    No need to ad lib with half true information. May as well link to the full story to compare and contract the differences, and there are clear differences that AI readers can decide for themselves: https://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2018/mar/22/meghan-mccain/comparing-facebook-data-use-obama-cambridge-analyt/

    Like you, I'm not a fan of either form of surveillance and data mining, whether they ask permission from clueless participants or use a survey/personality test ruse against the same group. I personally have no need nor desire for anything that Facebook is selling, but I can only speak for myself. Facebook is obviously filling a void in some people's lives and despite all the bad publicity, security breaches, and dire warnings Facebook still has a huge following. At some point you just can't stop people from engaging in activities that are detrimental to their health and well being. Freedom of Stupidity is the de facto 0th Amendment to the US Constitution. The fact that nobody was smart enough to have written it down doesn't really matter, and is ironically par for the course, but it absolutely exists and is universally accepted and followed.

     
    baconstangwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 4 of 8
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,589member
    steven n. said:
    I'm puzzled over this. Really I am.

    In 2008, the media lauded the Obama campaign for using the growing social media platforms to create a grass roots campaign by scraping data from its users and user's "friends". Obama even had a special app for the 2012 campaign requiring FB login and it collected (without clear notification) very similar data as the CA data.

    Personally, I think they are both reprehensible invasions, but why was it lauded by the media in 2008 and 2012 as a wonderful use of the new social media platforms and fully demonize in 2016?
    Because then we were innocent but now we know better. Then it was political activists being media savvy, now it is advanced tech operators being paid to actively spread false information and to suppress votes. This is all just the beginning in my opinion. I don't think it is realistic to believe that social networks can self regulate in the future. As more and more people get their news and information from facebook and twitter these organizations may have to become editorially accountable. Perhaps they will no longer be able to hide behind the 'We are just a technology company' mantra. I am not sure, but leaving it to Facebook and Twitter to sort out the 'fake news problem' equates to burying ones head in the sand. 
    charlesgresdysamoriawatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 8
    ronnronn Posts: 312member
    steven n. said:
    I'm puzzled over this. Really I am.

    In 2008, the media lauded the Obama campaign for using the growing social media platforms to create a grass roots campaign by scraping data from its users and user's "friends". Obama even had a special app for the 2012 campaign requiring FB login and it collected (without clear notification) very similar data as the CA data.

    Personally, I think they are both reprehensible invasions, but why was it lauded by the media in 2008 and 2012 as a wonderful use of the new social media platforms and fully demonize in 2016?
    Republican whatabout-ism & whining. The two are distinctly different. CA's campaign was always a nefarious data grab and they were told to stop their actions. They didn't and in fact ramped up their data mining operations. If Meghan McCain is making an accusation about Democrats, you can be assured she's lying/exaggerating.
    dysamoriabaconstangGeorgeBMacwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 8
    Good. I hope they are forced to pay up and change their ways. I expect that won’t happen.
    ronnmac_dogbaconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 8
    dysamoria said:
    Good. I hope they are forced to pay up and change their ways. I expect that won’t happen.
    Whatever the fine is, Facebook will make more by ignoring it.  We learned in the last financial crisis, that the executives won’t be held accountable so the dirty deeds will continue.
    baconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 8
    ronn said:
    steven n. said:
    I'm puzzled over this. Really I am.

    In 2008, the media lauded the Obama campaign for using the growing social media platforms to create a grass roots campaign by scraping data from its users and user's "friends". Obama even had a special app for the 2012 campaign requiring FB login and it collected (without clear notification) very similar data as the CA data.

    Personally, I think they are both reprehensible invasions, but why was it lauded by the media in 2008 and 2012 as a wonderful use of the new social media platforms and fully demonize in 2016?
    Republican whatabout-ism & whining. The two are distinctly different. CA's campaign was always a nefarious data grab and they were told to stop their actions. They didn't and in fact ramped up their data mining operations. If Meghan McCain is making an accusation about Democrats, you can be assured she's lying/exaggerating.
    Well, yeh...  But it didn't stop with data mining and proceeded on to support the massive disinformation campaign that helped determine the outcome of the 2016 election.    CA wasn't just a collector of data.   They were hired guns employed to alter the course of elections.   They had been using their skills in third world countries for years before they focused on the U.S.     
    watto_cobra
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