Cambridge
Dr.
Natural Language Processing
Strategic Communication Laboratories
University of Cambridge

Why firms are keen to collect, control your online data

Private companies now control the social media platforms on the Internet where we gather, and they’re mining the information we leave there for their own benefit.

Why firms are keen to collect, control your online data

Corporations and governments alike have an insatiable appetite for our data. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Last week, in a statement from its newsroom, Facebook announced the suspension of Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL), including their political data analytics firm, Cambridge Analytica, from its social networking platform. In the statement, Facebook gave an account of how in 2015, a psychology professor at the University of Cambridge named Dr. Aleksandr Kogan lied and violated their Platform Policies by passing data from an app that was using Facebook Login to SCL/Cambridge Analytica, a firm that does political, government and military work around the globe.It went ahead to state that despite giving data integrity certifications to the firm, they recently received reports that, not all data was deleted in violation of trust and the commitments they made. This risk lies in the way we are wired. There are few secrets we don’t tell someone, and we continue to believe something is private even after we’ve told that person. We write intimate letters to lovers and friends, talk to our doctors about things we wouldn’t tell anyone else, and say things in business meetings we wouldn’t say in public.

LUESBY: Owning up to our mistakes the way to go

TUMBO: How to effectively combat healthcare fraud in country

We use pseudonyms to separate our professional selves from our personal selves, or to safely try out something new.As data scientists, we have previously pointed out Cambridge Analytica’s work in mining data and Facebook’s move to suspend it was long overdue and appears to be motivated by the ongoing investigations into voter interference in the 2016 US presidential elections. The problem is, however, two- fold, the effects of their work will remain undone and secondly that there are a myriad of other apps out there still mining information from our phones and modeling nuanced targeted advertising that influences our decisions subliminally.The psychological tool in question here is applymagicsauce.com which uses Natural Language Processing to determine personalities. It uses the OCEAN model to classify our personalities and has its algorithm in open source for exploitation by app developers.If you need to be convinced that you’re living in a science fiction world, look at your cell phone. Cell phones really are great, and they can’t work unless the cell phone companies know where you are, which means they keep you under their surveillance.Your cell phone tracks where you live and where you work. It tracks where you like to spend your weekends and evenings. It tracks how often you go to church (and which church), how much time you spend in a bar, and whether you speed when you drive. It tracks since it knows about all the other phones in your area whom you spend your days with, whom you meet for lunch. Data about our phone calls, e-mails, and text messages, plus all the webpages we read, our financial transaction data, and much more. Most of us don’t realise the degree to which computers are integrated into everything we do. Most of us also underestimate just how easy it has become to identify us using data that we consider anonymous.Corporations and governments alike have an insatiable appetite for our data. Private companies now control the social media platforms on the Internet where we gather, and they’re mining the information we leave there for their own benefit.

Share this Post

by

Search