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FCA: Cambridge Analytica struck ‘heavy blow’ against trust in data sharing

  • 16/07/2019
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Regulator the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has said technology relies on public trust and a willingness to use it, which means the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica incident struck a heavy blow against consumer readiness to data share.


Christopher Woolard, executive director of strategy and competition at the FCA, said it was too early to comment on the success or failure of Open Banking, but confirmed 100 providers were now involved from January this year.

During his speech ‘The Future of regulation: AI for human good’ delivered at the Alan Turing Institute today, he added: “Exciting though innovations like Open Banking are, they don’t exist in a vacuum. Technology relies on public trust and a willingness to use it. The public needs to see the value data can create for them.

“The Facebook-Cambridge Analytica incident last year struck a heavy blow against consumer trust in data sharing, that is still playing out.”

Yesterday, Facebook was hit with the largest ever fine to be imposed of $5bn by the US Federal Trade Commission against a tech company, after the personal details of 50m people were harvested by Cambridge Analytica.

Woolard said a key determinant of future competition will be whether data is used in the interests of consumers or used by firms to extract more value for the business from those consumers.

“As the market in data grows and machine learning continues to develop, firms will find themselves increasingly armed with information and may be tempted into anti-competitive behaviours,” he warned.

He said: “At a basic level, firms using this technology must keep one key question in mind, not just ‘is this legal?’ but ‘is this morally right?’”.


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