It is very shocking news that the largest social networking site with most advanced security scripts installed on its platforms, Facebook, failed to secure personal details of its users around the world. This raises many questions. First, we don’t own any major social networking sites like Facebook, Twitters, etc. Secondly, it simply means that personal data of Indians over these platforms are owned by foreign social networking giants. At the same time, there is a cut-throat competition for serving data storages. Amazon, Microsoft and Google are other major companies rivalling in this arena, which simply means we are renting our big data to foreign companies. For, if you see, Facebook, Google and other social sites know the behaviour pattern of their users. Now think that if you email, do Google map, do Google search, show happiness and gloom–all the information pertaining to your behaviour is with these companies. Against this background, it cannot be gainsaid that technology sways faster than regulations. It has happened with a worthily data breach in the Facebook data ownership system, which, at the end, monetize Facebook. The website assures its consumers for their high scrutiny and security of java scripts. Hence, it is noteworthy that about the virtual world, I realised that what people are going to think is decided by someone else and this is the worst thing ever for human being that everything they know might not be right. Actually, it is social media that provides you wrong information, fake news. It means they are playing with our minds. So, there must be a law regarding fake news and security about public privacy as well as private information. And therefore, I have always been wary about providing my personal information to anyone I did not know or trust. And that is truer today in the days of internet, where anyone from anywhere can communicate with anyone or anything. Yes, I do emails and I am fully aware that when I send any information or pictures, the receiver has control over it, not me. This is worse in the case of places like Facebook, Twitter, etc. I always wondered, since Facebook allows you to use its resources, how do they recoup their cost and make money–what is their business model? It was obvious that they not only allowed advertising to induce me to buy, but also sell my information to anyone who will pay. So, Facebook knows the information about me and they could use it to make money.
At the same time, the Indian government mandating Aadhaar linking to your bank accounts, mobile and other service is eventually leading to a catastrophic effect on our bank account details being used on a dark web or in any other part of the world. It is worth mentioning that Aadhaar is being propagated by the government as a game changer and many companies are given Aadhaar data for e-kyc verification. What if such a company, which has access of Aadhaar data, gets hacked and several Aadhaar profiles get leaked. Hence, in this perspective, the most important point is that democracy has been subverted and is in peril. It is alarming that the Indian subsidiary of Cambridge Aanalytica (CA) had listed Congress and BJP as its clients. Did the Indian subsidiary used data provided by CA? Major political parties are under the shadow of doubt. It is, therefore, necessary for a Supreme Court-monitored investigation on whether Indian elections in the past had utilised the sold-out data. Also concerns about Aadhaar seem like peanuts in front of this breach. But not many Indian activists will outrage as the Indian government is not involved in this l’affair CA-Facebook. Therefore, it is notable that technology is being misused to such an extent that even elections and results are likely to be monitored and manipulated. This may create scepticism among voters about their voting validity. Hence, one finds that one’s freedom since Independence is getting shrunk. Aadhaar has become a nuisance for people. Though it is said to be free, it is not. There is physical strain and money involved in linking it to several other entitlements. The indirect costs outweigh the so-called benefits. So, it is a fact that the advent of business analytics technology has eroded the privacy of personal data that is meant to be used for marketing goods and services based on such intrusive tools, not necessarily with the knowledge and explicit consent of the customer. So long as regulators and lawmakers are lagging in technology understanding and acquisition, the type of present friction cannot be avoided, which needs to be addressed in right earnest
By Deepak Kumar Rath