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Not only Facebook, Twitter too sold data to Cambridge Analytica

"GSR paid for one day of access in 2015, Twitter said, and scooped up a 'random sample' of public tweets covering a period between December 2014 and April 2015. Twitter added that it 'did not find any access' to private information," the report noted.

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After the Facebook data scandal, it has now come to notice that Twitter had also sold users’ data to a Cambridge Analytica researcher who gathered the data of nearly 87 million Facebook users without their knowledge, The Sunday Telegraph reported.

According to the report, Twitter sold public data access in 2015 to Aleksandr Kogan, then a psychology researcher with University of Cambridge and his company Global Science Research (GSR).

The quiz app “thisisyourdigitallife” developed by Kogan and his firm, collected data from millions of Facebook users without their consent in 2014-2015.

“GSR paid for one day of access in 2015, Twitter said, and scooped up a ‘random sample’ of public tweets covering a period between December 2014 and April 2015. Twitter added that it ‘did not find any access’ to private information,” the report noted.

"The most immediate concern is that GSR could theoretically have correlated Facebook and Twitter data. Still, this shows just how comprehensive the data collection was," Engadget reported.
Twitter Bird, Pixabay

Kogan reportedly said the Twitter data had only been used to create “brand reports” and “survey extender tools” and that he had not violated Twitter’s policies.

“The most immediate concern is that GSR could theoretically have correlated Facebook and Twitter data. Still, this shows just how comprehensive the data collection was,” Engadget reported.

Twitter, however, said it had banned GSR and Cambridge Analytica from buying data or running adverts on the website and that no private data had been accessed.

“Twitter has also made the policy decision to off-board advertising from all accounts owned and operated by Cambridge Analytica.

“This decision is based on our determination that Cambridge Analytica operates using a business model that inherently conflicts with acceptable Twitter Ads business practices,” The Telegraph reported, citing a Twitter spokesperson.

Also Read: Twitter is heading to become a ‘News’ app with this new feature

In a first interview after the Facebook data scandal broke out, Kogan told CBS News earlier this month that he was not sure whether he ever read Facebook’s developer policy.

“The idea that we stole the data, I think, is technically incorrect. I mean, they created these great tools for developers to collect the data.

“And they made it very easy. I mean, this was not a hack. This was, ‘Here’s the door. It’s open. We’re giving away the groceries. Please collect them’,” Kogan told the TV show host.

Kogan said he believes his assumptions were misguided and that what he did in 2014 “was not right and was not wise”. (IANS)

 

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Tech Giants to join Data Transfer Project (DTP) To Help Users Manage Data

The Data Transfer Project uses services' existing APIs and authorisation mechanisms to access data. It then uses service specific adapters to transfer that data into a common format, and then back into the new service's API.

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According to Google, the project will let users "transfer data directly from one service to another, without needing to download and re-upload it". (Wikimedia Commons)

To help billions of users manage their data and help them transfer that into and out of online services without privacy issues, four tech giants — Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter — on Friday announced to join the open source initiative called Data Transfer Project (DTP).

In the early stages at the moment, the Data Transfer Project will help users of one service to use their data to sign up for another service with encryption.

“Using your data from one service when you sign up for another still isn’t as easy as it should be. Today we’re excited to announce that we’re participating in the Data Transfer Project,” said Steve Satterfield, Privacy and Public Policy Director at Facebook in a statement.

The initiative comes at a time when data-sharing is making headlines — be it the massive Cambridge Analytica data scandal or third-party apps accessing users’ data at various platforms — amid countries announcing new data-protection laws like the European General Data Regulation Protection (GDPR).

Moving data between any two services can be complicated because every service is built differently and uses different types of data that may require unique privacy controls and settings.

“For example, you might use an app where you share photos publicly, a social networking app where you share updates with friends, and a fitness app for tracking your workouts,” said Satterfield.

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Moving data between any two services can be complicated because every service is built differently. Pixabay

“These are the kinds of issues the Data Transfer Project will tackle. The Project is in its early stages, and we hope more organisations and experts will get involved,” he added.

The Data Transfer Project uses services’ existing APIs and authorisation mechanisms to access data. It then uses service specific adapters to transfer that data into a common format, and then back into the new service’s API.

According to Google, the project will let users “transfer data directly from one service to another, without needing to download and re-upload it”.

The tech giants also released a white paper on this project.

“The future of portability will need to be more inclusive, flexible, and open. Our hope for this project is that it will enable a connection between any two public-facing product interfaces for importing and exporting data directly,” read the white paper.

According to Damien Kieran, Data Protection Officer at Twitter, right now, much of the online products and services we use do not interact with each other in a coherent and intuitive fashion.

“Information that is housed on one platform cannot be easily and securely transferred to other services. This is not a positive collective experience for the people who use our services and we are keen to work through some of the challenges as an industry,” Twitter said.

Also Read-Google, Facebook Have Been Using “Dark Patterns”: Report

The Data Transfer Project was formed in 2017 to create an open-source, service-to-service data portability platform so that all individuals across the web could easily move their data between online service providers whenever they want. (IANS)