Forget privacy. The Facebook data harvesting scandal is about manipulation. It illuminates how our data can be used against us, not just to pry into our personal lives, but to change how we think.
Everyone’s asking: what can be done to make sure this never happens again?
Right now, tons of articles and thought-pieces are floating around calling for change in the wake of the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica data harvesting scandal. But we need more than an outcry.
The Security Pledge — developed by tech and human rights experts from groups like Fight for the Future, Demand Progress, and the ACLU — outlines specific steps that companies must take to ensure that our data is not weaponized and used to undermine democracy.
Big tech companies are feeling the heat from this latest scandal. But if we don’t get concrete about what we’re asking them to do, they’re going to try to sweep this massive problem under the rug with a few minor changes and some good public relations spin.
The Security Pledge calls on all tech companies to:
- Ensure that users have access and control over their data.
- Make technology and policy changes to protect the data we entrust them with.
- Limit the amount of data they collect in the first place.
- Ensure all communities receive equal protections.
- Resist improper government access to data and fight for strong privacy laws.
Just in the past several months, a fitness app exposed U.S. military bases by publicly sharing its users’ data, a popular dating app was caught sharing the HIV status of its users with third parties, and 150 million people were put at risk when their driving licenses and social security numbers were exposed because hackers successfully exploited an Equifax security flaw.
We simply can’t trust technology companies to “do no evil,” and we can’t wait on out-of-touch politicians to pass laws that protect us. To survive, tech companies need us, their users, to trust them.
If millions of people sign this open letter demanding change, we can pressure tech companies to build our privacy and safety into their business model. Companies that refuse to take the pledge cannot be trusted.
We’ll write back with updates soon,
The FFTF team.