While $5 billion may appear a hefty fine for data leak with Cambridge Analytica accessing Facebook user accounts, remember that $56 billion was the company income for 2018! Does it mean that Facebook can well afford to pay? US Justice Department has yet to approve the fine.
The case is not so recent, and the American Federal Trade Commission (FTC) commenced investigations way back in March 2018. Marc Zuckerberg appeared before the American parliament too. Facebook was deemed guilty of neglecting to safeguard the security and privacy of its active user base that runs to billions internationally. What exactly happened? Former British Consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica used the private data of 87 million Facebook users illegally. The users did not know that their data was being accessed.
Data leak scandals abound the world over
How is secure your personal and official data? That is a sensitive question hard to answer though the software experts are continually talking about greater security online. Let us hope that such claims are valid. Meanwhile, data theft is getting routine and ransom threats to abound. God only knows how many scandals are hushed up to save the company reputations.
Further, software systems breaking down are conventional enough too. When an airline or bank server fails, it disrupts the company programs and results in mighty losses, perhaps paid by insurance companies. When will the software security system become accountable and secure as they claim to be?
As digital technology invades the daily life of several billions of people regularly, it is a vulnerable situation. Who knows what dark purposes are served with the stolen data? Google faced a similar situation earlier in 2012 for the same reasons and had to pay the FTC fine of Rs 154 crores in neglected privacy matters.
Google and Facebook make up two of the biggest internet companies around. If they are guilty of snooping around and playing the fool with user data, it is probably inevitable that the small fish are up to mischief too, through undiscovered. According to the laws of demand and supply, internet fraud and crime would pay good money for such sensitive data like user banking information.
FTC Commissioners vote positively
Republicans supported, and Democrats opposed the penalty 3-2. Facebook may be at the losing end, but the fine would hardly dent them economically. Perhaps the taint would be felt morally.
Facebook has bigger business plans soon, like launching its digital currency. Many are the criticisms aimed at Facebook. Each time Marc comes forward with assurances that the complaints would be rectified.
Controversies never end in a company that encompasses the world and is highly sought after by the masses and businesses, particularly the youth. Some countries do not allow Facebook experience, yet it is said that a VPN identity helps to avoid such restrictions.
One can only hope that such routine infringement into private lives and information is avoided in the future, and citizens can breathe freely.