The world is changing at a quick pace. The fact of the matter is that every year we have new technology on a previously unimaginable level, and we are slowly beginning to lack behind the time when it comes to our laws. As we all know a few days ago, there was a Congressional hearing where Mark Zuckerberg, the C.E.O. of Facebook, was supposed to answer any and all questions that the Congress had prepared for him due to a recent event that happened with Cambridge Analytica.
For all of you who are not in the loop, Cambridge Analytica is a private corporation that has paid Facebook, to gather and use private information of thousands (read 90 million) of people, which in turn, they used to influence the presidential election where Donald Trump won.
It was previously thought that there was no chance that somebody might meddle in the USA elections, but technology has again proven how far we have come, and how we are lacking in security and understanding when it comes to that front. Find more and similar topics on technology check out CTT Tech News.
In this article, we will try to explore what happened at the congressional hearing and how we might have avoided these situations that we have found ourselves in, and what Facebook will change, so situations like these don’t happen in the future.
– The problem
When looking from a broader perspective, the problem is hiding in the fact that our laws have not yet caught up with the level of technological advancements we have achieved in a short amount of time. Not even one lifetime ago, we did not have internet, only a few decades ago we began to shape some rules and regulations on what is acceptable on the internet. Those laws included the protection of sensitive information for both, private users and companies, but nobody could have seen the impact that social media would have on our society in the past few years.
Facebook was founded in February 2004 at Cambridge, Massachusetts in the United States which is only 14 years in the past. During that time laws regarding, hate crimes, privacy, and the modern fake news have almost been non-existent on social media. The very few we have seen were due to the platforms policing themselves, but states and countries have not taken a firm stance and set some guidelines. Which is what brought us to this situation today.
– What actually happened at the hearing
Well, there were two days and two different styles of talking points. During the first one, the senators were more geared towards Facebook explaining how this happened, and how they can protect the users from this kind of issues in the future. And while Mark had some corporate slang ready for these types of questions, it all boiled down to Facebook promising to offer more protection for its users in the future.
When asked if Mark would like to share his personal information like in which hotel he was staying he answered:
“No. I would probably not choose to do that publicly here,” Mr. Zuckerberg said.
The senator continued:
“I think that may be what this is all about,” Mr. Durbin said. “Your right to privacy. The limits of your right to privacy. And how much you give away in modern America in the name of, quote, connecting people around the world.”
That hit the nail on the head and resonated with many of Facebooks critics and users.
The next day did not start out with such mild questions as the first day. Mark was questioned by the House Commerce and Energy Committee, and oh boy did they demand answers. Questions about privacy and enforcement of personal privacy protection were the main topic.
Representative Kathy Castor from Florida grilled mark about Facebook’s ability to collect data from users that were not even registered on Facebook. The second day was ended with Marks promise to better regulate his platform, to stop sharing data with certain applications, and to better moderate the requests for information sharing on many apps.
– What happens now?
Well, besides the fact that Mark did not testify under oath, and that there were many other important issues that they failed to point out, it all comes down to two things. Either Congress will start writing laws that will limit what private firms and social media platforms can request from their users, or that the platforms need to start being more transparent and with tighter laws about privacy.
The big problem is that many people are not tech literate, so they opt for things that they don’t understand and share things that they are not even aware they are sharing. This has been the way the internet has been making people like Mark Zuckerberg millions of dollars in the past, but it only remains to be seen what the future will bring, after these events took place.