The British parliamentarians were mad recently because the co-founder of Facebook decided to sent an emissary to explain to them what happened with the public data that ended up in the hands of some data scientists.
This act by Mark says a lot about who really owns the Internet and its operations, at one-point rumour had it that the Kenyan parliamentarians also wanted to summon the entire FaceBook executive team and janitor, must be the same ones who wanted Netflix denied a visa.
These highly trained data scientists with access to top of the range analytical tools provided publicly by organisations like IBM & Google were able to find out that the majority of Britons are separatists, the average US citizen is a racist and the majority of Kenyans are tribalists aka “wakabila” (nothing to do with a certain African president).
What they then did was amplify this most intimate of ideals that we all hold dear to test how it affects voting patterns and to a T it did, the evidence for Britain is in BrExit, for the US the election of a tele prompter hating TV personality and for Kenya it was business as usual with forty-five tribal governments elected, two social experiments launched and a virtual national government restored.
All that data that was analysed was the most genuine reflection of human behaviour which indicates that we are not out of the woods when it comes to genocides yet interestingly enough it is out there in plain sight.
Cambridge Analytica did not fabricate any of the data they had analysed. They kept to the true spirit of science, the global reaction and interesting questions by US legislators was an eye opener to who we really are as a society, scared and myopic.
At least the data that Facebook and other social media sites plus google have is provided willingly by those of us who use the free services which therefore means we shouldn’t expect these same philanthropists who provide us with lovely free services to again police us.
On the other hand, I do not willingly provide building security personnel with my data, they force me to share critical personal information so as to be provided with access to a prospective client. The data they collect is likely stored in an insecure medium accessible to all kinds of unscrupulous people such as those who last year registered me as a member of their political parties.
For example, to get into the Nation Media Group building you must provide your ID card which is then scanned using a high-resolution scanner in colour, where it is stored I have not been told. On a subsequent visit I noted that they did not need to rescan my ID which meant they have stored my data in digitally retrievable medium.
Let’s take a scenario where I pay the askari, sentry, who mans the system ten times their current monthly pay, which should be about KSh 180,000/-, to give me a copy of the ID images and then turn around and sell this to a terrorist group for a dhow of charcoal. The images can then be manipulated for use to open bank accounts, buy SIM cards and even visit the same premises to scout for soft targets.
Data is a powerful thing and like any other similarly powerful thing should not be made available recklessly and all and sundry.
It is my data thus I should have the freedom to decide how it is stored, for what duration and who can access it, in the same way as I have requested Facebook to share all the data they hold of me, I would also like Nation Media Group to do the same with the data they hold of me including photos, video and audio.