For years, privacy advocates and scholars were waiting for some sort of “privacy Chernobyl.” After more than a decade of trying to focus attention on the growing threat of massive corporate surveillance, we began to wonder if it would take a massive meltdown of personal data ending up in the wrong hands for legislators, regulators, and the general public to take notice and take action.
We also knew that behemoths like Amazon, Google, and Facebook, and up-and-coming troublemakers like Uber were gathering up as much personal data as they could and deploying it in invisible ways.
We knew as early as 2011 that Facebook was allowing application developers access to personal and behavioral data for millions of Facebook users. Facebook wanted developers to build features like games that would make Facebook more attractive and important to daily life.
So if you played Mafia Wars or Words with Friends through Facebook, you probably revealed personal information about all of your friends with Zygna or NewToy, the companies that built those games. This was not a mistake. This was by design. Read More