Data usage, who is the "referee"?2018-04-02 07:32:58 Source: People's DailyThe data "Leaky Secret Gate" continues to ferment, the face book is destroyed, and a series of new measures are introduced to strengthen privacy protection. However, the industry has criticized the sincerity of the lack of sincerity. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission stated that it has conducted a closed investigation in this regard. The incident points to a deep-seated question: Does the data use distinguish between "referees" and "athletes"?According to media reports, Cambridge Analytical Co., Ltd. cooperated with Facebook. The former developed a Facebook application for personality testing, and accessed 50 million active user data. Then rely on algorithms to predict their political trends. Finally, with Facebook's ad delivery system, these users are directed to push news and influence their voting behavior.From this it can be seen that the core of the incident revolves around "Facebook opens data to third parties". Although afterwards Cambridge Analysis Company stated that it did not violate the relevant agreement with Facebook, in fact, this is the problem. The data industry has always had the unique problem of the industry immature period: there is no distinction between “referees” and “athletes”.For this incident, Facebook played the role of referee, and Cambridge Analysis Company was an athlete. The basic principle of referees is not to bias an athlete. But the agreement between Facebook and Cambridge Analytics is equivalent to setting a rule that favors specific athletes. The question is, is Facebook suitable as a referee? As a private company, Facebook has the right to decide who gives public data and decide how others use it. If not, who gave it the referee's power, or where is the power to decide who is the referee?This data breach incident not only poses challenges for the United States, but also is a common challenge faced by humanity in the era of big data.One solution is to divide the data industry into two parts. One part is the metadata industry, which is equivalent to referees; the other is the application data industry, which is equivalent to athletes. Metadata refers to the basic data from which application data can be derived. The metadata industry reserves the right to keep unprocessed raw data, and to manage the application data calls by the application data industry according to open rules. Among them, the open rule is the rules and regulations. It must be fair to every athlete and must not enter into a private contract with the athlete. For example, Facebook cannot enter into a private contract with Cambridge Analytics. Managing data usage includes determining how data should be used. For example, if the raw data needs to be blurred before use.If the rules are still not enough to guarantee the public interest, or may cause the public interest to be damaged, the government regulation involves data. The government needs to regulate the metadata industry as a special industry, consider setting access restrictions, or nationalizing. The key is to see which method is more effective.Some media carried out a survey on the Internet and asked whether users would rely on platforms such as Facebook that involve user privacy data. Of the more than 12,000 polls currently participating in the survey, more than 93% of users chose “distrust”, and less than 7% of users chose “trust.” This shows that users have a negative attitude toward referees such as Facebook who have “no license”. To get rid of the current predicament, the data industry must first establish its own rules, and the second must accept the public to establish rules.
(Jiang Qiping is the director of the Informatization and Network Economics Department of Quantitative Economics and Technology Economics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences)