Our information is out there on the world wide web for the taking. And the taking has been happening like never before. Recently Facebook was hit with a $5 billion fine in the US for breaching user privacy. The action came amid rising reports of giants like Facebook and Google leveraging user privacy and algorithm to create niche ads in order to generate income. This has invited the scrutiny of global law makers and Australia is one of the first to set a task force to look into the matter.
In one of the latest developments, Australia announced that it will be establishing an office to keep a close eye on the workings of Google and Facebook in Canberra. The capital city will create an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) branch to monitor how these tech worlds to see how they work with algorithms aligning viewership preferences to designs specific advertisement s thereby generating revenue. The ACCC made altogether 23 new recommendations and this along with fortifying privacy laws to protect user citizens and bringing laws in place to check untethered practices by tech companies to use and yield from user content, were some of them.
Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg cited the $5 billion fine as an example of how regulators are now taking these breaches of people’s privacy seriously. Frydenberg said, “These companies are among the most powerful and valuable in the world. The (government) wanted to lift the veil”. He favored and ACCC’s call to action that there is a need for reformation in that industry.
Facebook has reportedly agreed to pay off the fine along with more stringent laws governing their practice.