In the digital age, information is the new hot-ticket currency. Often, companies, third-parties, and even cybercriminals would rather get their hands on users’ data than money, since the potential payoff from having access to sensitive information could be exponentially higher than a typical cash flow source.
Under the new privacy regulations put forth by the EU, there are stiff penalties for being the guy who was supposed to keep all that data nice and safe. Among other change, letting information fall into the wrong hands now carries severe penalties, and many companies are scurrying in an effort to get compliant with the new GDPR rules before they take effect in May.
For some companies, that level of compliance means taking a good look at their own bedfellows. Case in point, WhatsApp has agreed not to share EU users’ data with Facebook until the social media site–recently (and repeatedly) accused of running roughshod with users’ personal information–can become GDPR compliant.
“People have a right to have their personal data kept safe, only used in ways that are properly explained to them, and for certain uses of their data, to which they expressly consent,” Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham announced in a recent statement,”This is a requirement of the Data Protection Act.”
In terms of 21st century business, refusing to share user data amounts to drying up a revenue stream for Facebook, which makes its income by selling access to its users’ page feeds to advertisers. This sale of access, though, has led to allegations that Facebook was complicit in allowing Russia operatives to purchase anti-Clinton ads for targeting US voters prior to the 2016 election. More recently, Facebook is facing a possible investigation for knowingly allowing a UK-based data analytics firm to gather up tens of millions of users’ profiles and personal data in order to target them with advertising for the Trump campaign.
UK officials announced on March 20 that they are seeking a warrant to search files and servers owned by Cambridge Analytica.