Cross Country Checkup·CHECKUP EPISODE

Do you trust large tech companies like Facebook and Google with your personal data?

Sunday on Cross Country Checkup: breach of trust. An angry #DeleteFacebook movement is growing amid revelations that political operators got their hands on the personal data of millions of people.

Many have started deleting their Facebook accounts, fearing their personal data is being compromised

Has the recent scandal involving Cambridge Analytica made you rethink your social media presence? (Dado Ruvic/Reuters)

A breach of trust.

Earlier this week, Mark Zuckerberg addressed the recent privacy breach scandal with Cambridge Analytica, admitting that Facebook made mistakes. It was the rise of an angry #DeleteFacebook movement after The Guardian newspaper and The New York Times published the story.  The shares of Facebook were dropping precipitously and the company —whose business model is monetizing people's personal data — had to swear that the protection of privacy is paramount.

The story was about how a political consulting firm called Cambridge Analytica had acted more like a dark ops group, siphoning off the personal Facebook data of tens of millions of people and applying "psychographics" to change the outcome of two major elections: the Brexit vote in the UK and Trump's successful presidential bid.

The illegal use of personal data is one thing, but the ability to use it to sway millions of people in elections is another.  Social media has become a force in elections as we saw when Barack Obama was lauded for his campaign's creative use of Facebook.  He enlisted the support of millions by encouraging people to sign-on to his campaign website using their Facebook login, thus giving him access to the personal data of those people and their unknowing friends. But can anyone really say an election was stolen by using targeted data? The challenge of any political party has always been to collect info about voters and try change people's minds in their favour. How ripe is your mind for changing by a few targeted ads sent to you on Facebook?

It all raises several questions about our data. How safe is your personal info on all the social media, software and devices you use?  Do you personally adjust your privacy settings? How much and what specifically are you prepared to share with the world? And how much are you prepared to share to be able to use the social media platforms for free?

Our question today: Do you trust large tech companies like Facebook and Google with your personal data?


Matthew Braga, Senior Technology Reporter for CBC News

Erin Kelly,  CEO of Advanced Symbolics Inc., an artificial intelligence service company based in Ottawa

Rick Anderson, Principal at Earnscliff Strategy Group based in Ottawa

Frank Furedi,  British sociologist and commentator. His latest book, How Fear Works: Culture of Fear in the 21st Century, is due out later this year.

Our live online chat: 

What we're reading:




The Guardian


Other links: