cambridge_TrumpCambridge Analytica was selling a myth, says the man at the centre of the row that has already caused Facebook to lose approaching $60 billion from its market cap. Proposition: If Barack Obama was US President, would there be the same hoohah if a study broke that a company called Cambridge Analytica had used Facebook data to help him win the US election? If the result of the EU Referendum had been Remain, would we care about filter bubbles? Aleksandr Kogan, who developed the apps and quizzes that provided the data that supposedly enabled Donald Trump to become the next US President, says he has been made a scapegoat. For one thing, he reckons a colleague at Cambridge Analytica assured him everything he was doing was in accordance with Facebook’s privacy policies. That may or may not be true. It’s not the point. There was a data breach, of that there is no doubt. Facebook says: “The entire company is outraged, we were deceived. We are committed to vigorously enforcing our policies to protect people's information and will take whatever steps are required to see that this happens." But under General Data Protection Regulation - GDPR - coming into force in May, companies are responsible and accountable for what third parties do with their data. Facebook might blame Cambridge Analytica, but it still has accountability and responsibility - and by those terms, there was a data breach. As Abigail Dubiniecki, freelance lawyer and privacy professional and Associate at Henley Business School’s GDPR Transition Programme and a regular speaker at the GDPR Summit series of conferences, told us: “Although Facebook may want to split hairs and say this wasn’t a breach, it absolutely was a breach, but it wasn’t a breach when someone had to do some complex hacking, it was Facebook not taking care, as they should, with other people’s data.” As such, Facebook must answer for its errors, Mark Zuckerberg must come out of hiding and communicate with the public and authorities, including UK MPs. But do you really believe that Cambridge Analytica won the US election for Trump? Do you really believe that social media gave victory to the Brexiteers in June 2016? Traditional media played a bigger role - The Sun - Up yours Delors - The Daily Mail and Express, subjecting us to anti-EU propaganda for decades, surely had more to do with Brexit, Fox News, more to do with Trump. Mr Kogan has said that: “What we found ourselves was that the data isn't very accurate at the individual level at all.” He suggests Cambridge Analytica was selling a myth. If true, then it would be a nice piece or irony if it’s undoing arises from a paranoid public, brought up on fears of an Orwellian dystopia, are all too ready to believe such a myth. But that may be the problem. We are too quick to believe that ‘they’, whoever ‘they’ are, possesses some kind of super intelligence - and can manipulate us, deliberately fool us. In Orwell’s 1984, one day’s news bulletin totally contradicted the story from the day before, but no one cared: “He had been troubled by false memories occasionally” thought Winston Smith, towards the end of the book, meaning if official stories contradicted his memory of previous official stories, it was his memory at fault. Such was the victory of manipulators. The reality is not like that, when it comes to using subtle psychological tools to manipulate us, we are still in the dark ages. For more see Facebook/Cambridge Analytica debacle shows how GDPR could be a trillion dollar boon and for more on GDPR and continue your journey to compliance with more articles at

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