We’ve spent a lot of our class time discussing the impact of fake news and deregulation on the internet. We regularly ask “To regulate or not to regulate.”
This article and video from the Guardian featuring a whistleblower from Cambridge Analytica may create a greater impetus to regulate. It shows the vast and terrific powers beholden to those with access to big data. The former employee enumerates a list of disturbing practices from harvesting the data of non-app users via friends, the creation of targeted political content, and the inundation of material meant to influence users. He calls the process which deeply affected the past American election as a “grossly unethical experiment.” And called the company a full service propaganda machine.
Have “data scientists” gone too far? What do we a society do with people and corporations who seem bent on tearing down society to reform it in their image via digital media and psychological manipulation?
About a week ago Tim Berners-Lee celebrated the 29th birthday of his invention, the web, by calling for the regulation of social media platforms. He cites the concentration of power they’ve acquired, and their for-profit business model as being aspects contributing to the weaponization of the internet. This recent revelation may renew calls for stricter regulation. What should those regulations look like? And what should the associated remedies include to be meaningful?