Protect Privacy

Jul 04, 2018

To the Editor:

Once there were the good old days when complete privacy was still possible. Nowadays, privacy is almost nonexistent. This is because of media outlets such as online news sources that are readily available within seconds and the oh-so-dreaded social media. To be more specific, Facebook has made headlines with its recent data scandal.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been questioned on whether he allowed a UK-based political data firm, Cambridge Analytica, which worked on Donald Trump’s election, access to data on millions of people.

According to Peter Bruce from the Scientific American blog, we abandoned any pretense to privacy when we accepted the free service model of Google, Facebook, Twitter and others. But how were users of these media outlets to know of the underground data-selling consequences of using these sites? Surely many people did not realize that by using these sites, they were surrendering their right to privacy. Having your privacy invaded should not be a consequence of using Facebook.

For the CEO of Facebook to allow Cambridge Analytica access to data to millions of people without permission can never be seen as morally correct. However, maybe it’s the fault or lack of substance of the privacy law itself.

There are so many loopholes in the privacy law that make it easier for these sites to collect and store data on their users. The controversial practice of data mining is largely unregulated under current law.

Congress needs to update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act because it’s over three decades old. This act may have protected people back in 1986, when it was first enacted, but it has not evolved with the technology we have today. Without such an update, we will keep running into scandals like the one involving Facebook.

Lainey McCabe-Plenge



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