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$35 billion shaved off Facebook’s value: Cambridge Analytica being investigated by the ICO.

 

We haven’t looked at the legal nitty gritty of who did or didn’t do what in relation to harvesting data, but we don’t really need to do that - the effect of this story has already played out on the reputation and value of Facebook and Cambridge Analytica.

 

We are in an environment where tech companies - especially big tech companies - have to be whiter than white when it comes to data and any negative story about ‘stolen’, wrongly collected or used data will have an impact regardless of the facts.

 

Somewhere in this story it looks like there may have been an attempt to collect at least some data properly via a survey (something that happens a lot on Facebook). The Information Commissioner has said this morning that they are looking at whether consent (given by those filling out the survey) was informed enough - i.e. was the survey transparent enough about what data would be collected and who it would be shared with.

 

So we’re not talking about data theft as such, we’re talking about an inadequate privacy notice and consent collection.

 

The moral of the story is that if you’re harvesting data, make sure you’re transparent and do it properly. The financial and reputational risk of getting caught up in a negative data story is too great for you not to.

 

If you'd like to discuss your company's data needs and protocols, and how we can help, then please get in touch on +44 (0) 117 928 1910 or email ian.grimley@roxburghmilkins.com.