Infosec: Do We Need Social Media Regulation?
MAY 21, 2018 13:21 PM
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Infosec: Do We Need Social Media Regulation?

by Ellie Martin
 
The Facebook data breach social media fiasco has slowly become the story of the decade as the damage does has been far more impactful than we could have ever imagined. As a result, we now have hearings on capitol hill that are directly related to regulation. Emerging technologies in infosec is now on everyone’s mind.
 
This is the crux of the issue at hand. What can we expect from the fallout? What needs to be changed? Who is at fault? All of these questions may never be answered but one thing is apparently clear, something needs to be done about rampant data collection behind the guise of false transparency. There is no greater fear in American business than regulation. 
 
A Global Issue
Regulatory bodies have made decisions in the past that have hindered business as well as helped secure more volatile enterprises. The technology sphere has been resistant to regulation overall due to the belief that regulatory committees do not understand technology at a fundamental level. While this may have been true at some point, we are no longer dealing with technology, sometimes advanced and promising technologies, regarding physical devices or complex algorithmic software.
 
We are now dealing with the fundamental right of privacy and security. It is neither complex nor convoluted to understand privacy. It has been a fundamental right for many decades and, as recently revealed, it has been used against us. This transgression has been carried out by the companies we visit most often, social media. 
 
As we have learned, social media platforms have been selling data to analytics firms for nearly ten years and that blatant breach of trust has led us all to question the veracity of the platforms. They typically use anodyne wording to prevent any immediate outrage, but, unfortunately the cat is quite literally out of the bag. In this article, we are going to discuss what types of regulation might be imposed and what avenues should be pursued to sustain our digital lives in the face of betrayal.
 
Knowledge Is Power
The heart of this issue lies in the data that has been collected and what that specific knowledge has been used for. With just exception, these last 3 years have been nothing short of tumultuous and this amount of tumult has shed light on a growing and secretive problem that was hiding in plain sight. 
 
The information gathered by these platforms was to engineer political campaigns that sought to sway opinion. This, while not explicitly illegal, is being heavily frowned upon by political leaders and electronic rights activists far and wide. It is little wonder then why this story has brought some attention to Silicon Valley and their data protection policies.
 
Thusly we have a committee that may impose regulations that determine how data can be collected and who can have access to it. This is situationally based on the vicissitudes of fortune that have befallen foreign political campaign managers and domestic analytic firms that sell massive quantities of data with impunity. 
 
How exactly do regulatory bodies impose rules without overpowering certain businesses? That might be the question of this decade. One thing is for sure though, this will not be an easy decision to make if one is ever made at all.
 
The Winding Road
The journey of data collection and privacy infractions goes back nearly ten years. In that time very little has been done outside of the promises of a few major tech companies. This has obviously been an inefficient approach as we are still dealing with the issue of privacy and data some ten years later. It has been noted before, but, the issue of privacy extends well beyond the sphere of social media. They are certainly not the first organization to gather data without overt consent.
 
However, due to the nature of past operational bodies, this collection is seen outside of the realm of necessity and, as a matter of conscious consideration, its impact on foreign entities is regarded with the utmost disdain.
 
Conclusion
Certainly, something will be done due to the release of these revelations. What that might be, however, is yet to be seen. We can only hope that this matter is resolved in a way that both promotes universal prosperity while maintain protection for our data. We want to be users, not products, and that sentiment may change the face of Silicon Valley forever.
 
Ellie Martin is co-founder of Startup Change group. Her works have been featured on Yahoo! , Wisebread, AOL, among others. She currently splits her time between her home office in New York and Israel. You may connect with her on Twitter.
 
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