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Two internets and the value of data and your privacy

Two internets and the value of data and your privacy
By Connected Paths (Riaz Kanani) • Issue #60 • View online
The focus remains on data and privacy this week with the fallout from the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower, the value of data and the possible creation of two internets.
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Facebook missteps
The fallout from the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower has been significant. If it has passed you by, Mother Jones has an excellent article covering a lot of the various angles.
$58bn was wiped off Facebook’s shares highlighting the impact, though if analysts are to be believed this dip is only temporary.
There has been a #deletefacebook hashtag trending on Twitter (the irony..) but in reality people are not pulling the trigger and deleting their accounts. 
The most high profile profile deletion came from Elon Musk who deleted his own, Tesla, SpaceX and the old SolarX profiles – though he was not active on Facebook and was not even aware of their presence until told.
Most of this fallout is of their own doing though, threatening to sue the Guardian if it published, not reacting quickly enough to the story as it developed.
The fallout around Cambridge Analytica, the Cambridge academic who shared the data and of course Facebook themselves will continue to play out over the coming weeks as the investigators sift through the data pulled from the Cambridge Analytica offices.
Already industry whispers about how well Cambridge Analytica performed in the first place are surfacing (they bluffed – a lot - would seem to be the summary.)
Data to enter the balance sheet?
Data remains a valuable commodity and will be increasingly so for artificial intelligence applications.
The market in data is also valuable. Back in 2012, the Direct Marketing Association found the amount spent on direct marketing was £14.2bn and employed 530,000 people.
It is also valuable enough that people suggest it should be included in a company’s balance sheet in the same way brand currently is.
Post GDPR apocalypse
GDPR (The new European data regulations which affects anyone collecting data of EU citizens no matter where they are) comes into force on May 25th. 
There are a lot of myths about it even amongst people who are very aware of the legislation. Certain parts of the legislation have seen outsized coverage and often without any of the nuance often required. 
As companies push out their privacy changes as a result of the legislation, we are starting to see this nuance though.
Slack changed their terms and explicitly outlined that for certain plans, employers are able to download all private messages without notifying the employee first. Whether this is a product change is unclear, but GDPR is forcing companies to highlight how they deal with user’s data and for now the spotlight is very much on anyone making these changes. 
The beginning of two internets?
Rather going against the flow of securing and notifying user’s about their data is the US government’s renewed push to require manufacturers to give a backdoor into their devices to allow access to individual’s data. 
So far their tact is very different to before, there are no lawsuits (yet) or demands. 
Instead they have found sympathetic ears in industry including Ray Ozzie, a former chief software architect at Microsoft; Stefan Savage, a computer science professor at the University of California, San Diego; and Ernie Brickell, a former chief security officer at Intel. These industry leaders suggest the right approach is to work with law enforcement to find a solution rather than just saying no – it is hard to argue with that reasoning.
They are also using precedent. Manufacturers (e.g. Apple) already hold and encrypted keys that are used to authorise updates to our mobile phones and the suggestion is that extending this approach would allow law enforcement access to the devices.
This will require more frequent access and therefore expose keys to a broader group increasing the chances of a leak. 
The prize of an individual’s data is also different to being able to  update a mobile phone and would be desired by a much broader group of people. 
Countering this desire, is also the desire not to undermine American industry - if devices are known to have a back door in them, other devices that do not become much more desirable so for this to succeed, global adoption would be necessary.
This could create two internets though. One which is monitored and another which is not.
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Connected Paths (Riaz Kanani)

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