Tech World

Tech World: Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, Google’s Project Maven and more

Welcome to Tech World, your quick roundup of some of the top technology news stories from across the globe.

This month, we bring you the latest on the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica fiasco, YouTube’s alleged breach of child protection laws and more.

For this episode’s Hot Topic interview, we spoke to EY’s Rob Atkinson about the firm’s smart home survey results.

First though, here are your top international stories.

Facebook and Cambridge Analytica

Facebook has told members if they were among the 87 million potential customers whose data was shared with Cambridge Analytica, the data mining firm accused of using users’ personal details for political purposes.

Every Facebook account holder received one of two notifications, informing them whether their data had been compromised or not. Users were also shown what apps they use and what data those apps may have obtained.

Aside from the Cambridge Analytica fiasco, Facebook has also suspended Cubeyou, another data analytics firm, ahead of an investigation to ascertain whether the company collected data for academic purposes and then used it for commercial gains after partnering with Cambridge University.

Cubeyou, however, denies the allegations. Cambridge University has said it made it clear that data was being used for both academic and business purposes.

YouTube child protection laws

In other news, video sharing giant YouTube, which tragically bore witness to a shooting at its San Bruno HQ in California earlier this month, has been accused of violating child protection laws in the US.

A coalition of 23 consumer, child safety and privacy advocacy groups filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission alleging that YouTube was collecting data from children younger than 13.

The complaint said YouTube was “skirting the law and profiting off of children without parents’ knowledge or consent”.

In turn, Google said in a statement that YouTube was not for children. 

Google Pentagon Project

Thousands of Google workers have signed an open letter requesting that the internet company cease working on a project for the US military.

Project Maven leverages AI to improve the precision of military drone strikes and employees think Google’s involvement will result in irreparable damage for the brand.

The open letter, addressed to Google chief exec Sundar Pichai, said the employees believed the company should not be in the business of war, and therefore requested that Project Maven be cancelled.

Additionally, employees asked that Google draft, publicise and enforce a clear policy stating that neither Google nor its contractors would ever build warfare technology.