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Data Scientists Predicted Facebook's Cambridge Analytica Scandal in 2009

Monday Mar 26th 2018 by Developer.com Staff

Mobile development and data science pioneers foresaw privacy challenges — and the resulting call for regulation.

Wired has published an interesting article that takes a look at the way early mobile developers and data scientists predicted the data privacy scandal currently enmeshing Facebook. In 2007, a wearable computing researcher named Alex Pentland and a political scientist named David Lazer helped put together a conference on "Computational Social Science." In 2009, the conference attendees published an article in the journal Science, which said, "These vast, emerging data sets on how people interact surely offer qualitatively new perspectives on collective human behavior."

However, they added, "Perhaps the thorniest challenges exist on the data side, with respect to access and privacy. Because a single dramatic incident involving a breach of privacy could produce rules and statutes that stifle the nascent field of computational social science, a self-regulatory regime of procedures, technologies, and rules is needed that reduces this risk but preserves research potential."

In related news, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has admitted his company made mistakes, and Apple CEO Tim Cook has called for more regulation.

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