At the backdrop of the Facebook’s Cambridge-Analytica controversy, the social media giant is now taking a strong stance with protecting user’s data. Facebook’s Director of Product Management, David Baser revealed the company’s intensified drive to prevent data from being accessed by unauthorized individuals and organizations. In his recent blog post, he stated: “These changes push us in the right direction, but protecting people’s information is never-ending work. And the entire tech industry must work together since both sides of a data-sharing handshake need to be private. Nearly every day, news comes out from a different company about personal data that got into the hands of the wrong people. Even if we’re all taking steps to shore up our privacy protections, we won’t find the answers in a silo. Companies are connected and our technology ecosystem can’t be reversed. So we need to work together on standards and best practices to make data portability a reality while also prioritizing people’s privacy and security.”
The statement is consistent with what the Facebook Outgoing Chief Security Officer, Alex Stamos said in a memo: “We need to build a user experience that conveys honesty and respect, not one optimized to get people to click yes to giving us more access. We need to intentionally not collect data where possible, and to keep it only as long as we are using it to serve people.”
This drive motivated Facebook to partner with Twitter, Microsoft, and Google in creating the open source project dubbed DTP (Data Transfer Project). The project is still in its infancy, however, once fully developed, industries and users using the newly created standard will have seamless interoperability access to various supported online web services. The access privilege is with the use of just one user credential, with built-in industry-leading encryption.
“Some argue that the best response to Cambridge Analytica would be to lock Facebook down completely so apps can’t get access to this kind of information. But limiting people’s ability to share information would erase the conveniences we enjoy. After all, the ability to share your contacts with Venmo or Spotify, or move your digital profile en masse between services with tools like Download Your Information, has tremendous value. And at the end of the day, you should be able to move your information where you want.” Baser added.
Many vendors and web services are now inquiring about the current development of the project, as the interest of adapting the technology is substantial in moving the web forward. For its part, Facebook recognized the lessons they have learned from the Cambridge-Analytica fiasco, the DTP initiative, they hope will be the springboard necessary to prevent a future similar incident from reoccurring.
Baser further explained: “Bad actors can gather information from people and use it in ways that they aren’t aware of and didn’t agree too, like selling personal data to marketers. Facebook has clear policies against this, but as we saw with the Cambridge Analytica situation, bad actors are more than willing to ignore these policies in pursuit of their own objectives. We need to find the right balance, giving people control over data sharing and preventing abuse without hampering people’s experiences or hindering innovation.”
Facebook has all the motivations to perform well to meet the expectations of their users, in an attempt to recover from the $120 billion stock value they lost recently.
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