Story image

Netflix film The Great Hack raises serious questions about data privacy issues

31 Jul 2019

A new Netflix documentary called The Great Hack is stirring up debate about the ethics and implications of data privacy, political micro-targeting, and the increasing radicalisation of the online world.

The Great Hack follows the fallout from the Cambridge Analytica scandal in 2018. It explains how the company used social media tactics to target and deliberately manipulate voters in the 2016 American elections, as well as Brexit. 

It then explains how director of business development Brittany Kaiser ended up becoming a pivotal whistleblower who exposed Cambridge Analytica and Facebook.

Last weekend a group of privacy advocates and experts gathered in the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center to discuss issues highlighted by the documentary.

Participants included UK Member of Parliament Damian Collins, Digital Innovation & Dem-ocracy Initiative of the German Marshall Fund of the United States director Karen Kornbluh, Digital Forensic Research Lab of the Atlantic Council fellow Emerson T. Brooking, US senator Mark Warner, and author Shoshana Zuboff.

“Oftentimes without our knowledge, we are giving up on a daily basis literally huge reams of data to companies that can then take, manipulate, use and often times misuse in ways that are unprecedented,” says Warner.

Brooking adds that psychologically targeted campaigns that use social media will not go away.

“[Players in this field] are continuing to evolve and develop ever more sophisticated tactics. It’s going to be an endless arms race, and eventually, as they get more and more sophisticated, they will be better equipped to target audiences here in the States,” says Brooking.

Shoshana Zuboff says that surveillance capitalism begins with enslaving human experience as free raw material.

“We need to reclaim human experience as an interface where we have decision rights. Not everything should be data. And once we start talking about data ownership, data accessibility, even privacy, we've sort of let the ship sail. We need to get back to the beginning,” explains Zuboff.

“Who will be the next leaders and framers of the new regulatory paradigm? The answer comes from democracy. Because surveillance capitalism and its consequences are on a collision course with democracy, it will be warriors for democracy, lawmakers, citizens and specialists who will be the framers of the next regulatory paradigm. Everything has to double down on democracy because it is the only thing that stands between us and the chaos that these artists have so brilliantly depicted in The Great Hack.”

“This film is an important step in bringing to light - and raising awareness about - the grave dangers faced by big data, big tech and disinformation,” says Damian Collins. 

“I look forward to working with colleagues in the United States and around the world to combat these threats and safeguard elections.”

The Great Hack is available on Netflix now.

Story image
14 Aug
BitSight announces enterprise analytics to help security leaders manage risk
The solution provides visibility into which groups have the biggest impact on their organisations' overall cyber risk posture and helps identify areas for security performance improvement.More
Story image
08 Aug
CrowdStrike launches threat-scoring platform
CrowdScore is a metric that enables CSOs to instantly see the real-time threat level their organisations are facing, allowing them to mobilise resources to respond.More
Story image
12 Aug
Keysight solution helps prevent cyber-attacks on connected vehicles
Potential issues identified post-production, with the risk of recalls, cost orders of magnitude more to repair than when found during pre-deployment testing.More
Story image
14 Aug
Broadcom set to own Symantec’s enterprise security business for $10.7B
"M&A has played a central role in Broadcom's growth strategy and this transaction represents the next logical step in our strategy following our acquisitions of Brocade and CA Technologies," says Broadcom CEOMore
Story image
Gartner names Ping Identity leader in access management
The solution includes authentication and single sign-on, MFA, access security, directory, intelligent API security and data governance capabilities that work together.More
Story image
09 Aug
Cybersecurity companies bring advanced encryption and quantum tech to Aus
“This is an outstanding example of world leading Australian cyber security research and development being commercialised to our domestic market and demonstrating its importance to export markets.”More