“Revelations about how Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm that worked for Donald Trump’s campaign, amassed data about more than 50 million Facebook users without their consent has forced the social media company to tell anyone who will listen that it takes privacy very seriously. Last week, Facebook said it was simplifying and centralizing privacy settings, making it easier for its more than two billion users to change how much personal information they share. That was an important and necessary change, but what we have learned about the data collection practices of social media firms, advertisers, political campaigns, online publishers and other groups suggests that company-specific changes like Facebook’s will be insufficient. What is needed is for Congress to adopt rigorous and comprehensive privacy laws.
The technology and advertising industries have long resisted such rules, and neither this Congress nor the Trump administration has shown any interest in privacy. But someday new politicians will be in charge, and now is as good a time as any to begin a serious examination of how American privacy regulations can be strengthened.”
Yes. Here is the top comment, I supported.
Palo Alto, CAApril 1
The concept of collecting “only as much customer information as needed to perform a function” does not provide the privacy one might expect. Because of the way modern database technology works, it’s relatively easy, and cheap, to aggregate information about a person from multiple sources.
One web site may ask for only your birth month, another, only your birth year. In isolation it seems like OK information to give up, but when it’s aggregated together by data brokers it’s possible to get an individuals exact birth date.
Sites may only ask for the last 4 digits of your SSN, but the first 5 digits can be easily constructed from your place and year of birth.
Opt-in, opt-out approaches are not solutions to privacy for this reason. We need to establish, in law, that the individual person “owns” his or her “data”. “Privacy” should be based on that fundamental “right”.