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Choose Privacy Week 2018: Big Data is Watching You

William Marden, Jason Griffey, Erin Berman, Sarah Houghton, Jessamyn West, Eric Hellman, T.J. Lamanna, Matt Beckstrom

Abstract


Five months ago, when the members of ALA’s Privacy Subcommittee met to decide on this year’s [2018] “Choose Privacy Week” (CPW) theme, it’s a fair bet to say that only a tiny percentage of the general public had ever heard of Cambridge Analytica, Aleksandr Kogan, the SCL Group, or of a fairly obscure app called “thisisyourdigitallife.”

And yet, there were warnings about Cambridge Analytica’s program as early as December 2015, when the London Guardian first reported on this data-collection program and its integration with Facebook as part of Ted Cruz’s 2016 bid for the US presidency. Michael Zimmer, a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee associate professor and a member of ALA’s Privacy Subcommittee, was quoted by the Guardian about why the use of such data was highly problematic. “It’s one thing for a marketer to try to predict if people like Coke or Pepsi,” said Zimmer, “but it’s another thing for them to predict things that are much more central to our identity, and what’s more personal in how I interact with the world in terms of social and cultural issues?”

In the wake of Mark Zuckerberg’s Congressional testimony last week [in April 2018] and the related explosion of public interest in how online personal data is collected, stored, shared, used, and sometimes misused, this year’s CPW theme—“Big Data is Watching You”—could not be more perfectly timed.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5860/jifp.v4i1.6885

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