Facebook Data Breach – 200 Apps Suspended

Crimson Hexagon’s pledge to monitor its customers echoes demands by civil rights advocates for more oversight and transparency. “We need these companies to tell us how they’re doing without activists having to work day in and day out to remind them of their obligations to their users and to society,” Malkia A. Cyril, the founder and executive director of the Center for Media Justice, told Wired in March. “We need the will to come from within to take transparency one step further, document your enforcement, and tell us how enforcement is going through independent audits.”

Sandy Parakilas, a former Facebook operations manager focused on privacy and policy issues, questioned the existing protocols for protecting user data from surveillance. Facebook can do investigations and companies can conduct their own audits; government agencies dealing with US personal data are subject to certain privacy guidelines. Still, he said, “there’s no external oversight of third party companies collecting data on U.S. citizens for analysis on behalf of the government. The ‘new safeguards’ are presumably internal to Crimson Hexagon, ie, grading their own homework.”

Not that Cambridge

Like Cambridge Analytica and other data-focused firms, Crimson’s techniques have links with universities. Crimson Hexagon’s approach was initially developed in Cambridge, Massachusetts, at Harvard’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science, as the “hyper-accurate estimation, classification, and quantification of unstructured data,” then-CEO Scott Centurino told Fast Company in 2010. The company’s name derives from Harvard’s official color but also from Jorge Luis Borges’s short story “The Library of Babel,” in which the speaker describes a “Crimson Hexagon,” a special, possibly mythical room that’s key to decoding the astronomical library.

Cambridge Analytica had no official ties to academic institutions, but its techniques, like its name, were derived from research that began in Cambridge, England, at Cambridge University’s Psychometric Center. The deceased data company relied upon Kogan, then a university researcher, to collect data on millions of Facebook users. Facebook and British regulators have said they are investigating the university’s role.

Crimson co-founder Gary King, who holds a distinguished University Professorship, is also the cofounder and leader of Social Science One, an initiative created in partnership with Facebook in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The project’s aim is to provide researchers with Facebook and Instagram data in order to improve research around disinformation and social media’s impact on elections.

The project’s researchers will have access to a “privacy-protected” petabyte of Facebook data as part of a new model King has helped develop to boost academic-industry partnerships. Findings will be published without review by Facebook, he says, and the social network will receive no funding from the social network. “The data collected by private companies has vast potential to help social scientists understand and solve society’s greatest challenges,” King wrote in a blog post. “But until now that data has typically been unavailable for academic research.”

Source : https://www.fastcompany.com/90219826/why-did-facebook-re-friend-a-data-firm-that-raised-spying-concerns

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