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The controversy is a wake-up call to press ahead (to start or continue doing something in a determined way, although it is difficult) with a robust data protection law.
The world has just learned how a data analytics firm, Cambridge Analytica, harvested the data of 50 million Facebook users and used that information to feed strategies such as ‘behavioural microtargeting’ and ‘psychographic messaging’ for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in the U.S. Chris Wylie, a former CA employee-turned-whistle-blower, set off (to cause something to operate, especially by accident/ to cause a situation or a series of events to happen, especially without intending to/ to start a journey, or to start going in a particular direction) a storm with revelations of how the company had deployed a ‘psychological warfare’ tool for alt-right media guru Steve Bannon to try to sway (control or dominion) the election in Mr. Trump’s favour. CA chief executive Alexander Nix, who was suspended a few days ago following an undercover report by a British TV broadcaster, said the company has used other dubious methods in projects worldwide — including honeytraps to discredit clients’ opponents. The combination of using personal data without consent and tailoring slander campaigns, fake news and propaganda (information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote a political cause or point of view/exaggerated or untruthful claims used to help raise support for an effort) to discovered preferences of voters is a potent (very strong in a chemical or medicinal way) and corrosive (having the ability to wear down or destroy) cocktail. Facebook has said its policies in 2014, when a personality profiling app was run on its platform, permitted the developer to scrape (collect or accumulate something with difficulty/drag or pull a hard or sharp implement across) data not only from those who downloaded the app but also from the profiles of their Facebook ‘friends’. Yet it did not make sure the data were destroyed by the app’s developer Aleksandr Kogan, a Cambridge University academic, nor by CA itself when it came to light that Mr. Kogan had sold the data to CA, a third party. Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has offered an apology and expressed willingness to cooperate with inquiries and potentially open up Facebook to regulation.
This episode has brought to light several issues that need to be addressed. First, companies have been collecting data and tailoring (make or adapt for a particular purpose or person) marketing campaigns accordingly. The issue here is particularly prickly (sharp to the touch, usually pointed) because politics and elections are involved. Second, regardless of whether what Facebook and CA did was legal or not, something is broken in a policy environment in which the data of millions are taken and used when only 270,000 people knowingly or unknowingly gave consent. Third, technology is evolving at a rapid pace, raising the question whether laws need to be reframed mandating an opt-out approach universally rather than an opt-in approach. Individuals often share their data without being aware of it or understanding the implications of privacy terms and conditions. Fourth, there must be clear laws on the ownership of data and what data need to be protected. Personal data cannot be the new oil. Individuals must own it, have a right to know what companies and governments know about them and, in most cases, that is, when there are no legitimate security or public interest reasons, have the right to have their data destroyed. The CA issue is a wake-up call for India; the government is still dragging (pass slowly and tediously) its feet on framing a comprehensive and robust data protection law.
Courtesy-The Hindu (General Studies)
1. Prickly (adjective): (Sharp to the touch, usually pointed) (काँटेदार)
Synonyms: Problematic, Awkward, Tricky/Sensitive.
Antonyms: Affable, Easy-Going
Example: Her mother told her to be careful of the prickly thorns on the rose.
Related words: Prickliness (noun)
2. Scrape (verb): (Collect or accumulate something with difficulty/drag or pull a hard or sharp implement across) (इकट्ठा, एकत्र करना)
Synonyms: Accumulate, Collect, Amass, Gather.
Antonyms: Distribute, Squander, Disperse
Example: They could hardly scrape upenough money for one ticket, let alone two.
Verb forms: Scrape Scraped, Scraped
Related words: Scrapable (adjective) Scrapeage (noun)
3. Potent (adjective): (Very strong in a chemical or medicinal way) (प्रबल)
Synonyms: Powerful, Strong, Effective.
Antonyms: Weak, Impotent, Powerless, Ineffective
Example: When the dashing actor entered a room, his potent charm caused everyone to look in his direction.
Related words: Potently (adverb) Potentness (noun)
4. Tailor (verb): (Make or adapt for a particular purpose or person) (समायोजित)
Synonyms: Customize, Adapt, Adjust, Modify, Change, Convert, Alter
Antonyms: Disarrange, Dislocate, Disorder
Example: Treatment is tailored to the needs of each patient in this world-class hospital.
Verb forms: Tailor, Tailored, Tailored
Related words: Tailor (Noun)
5. Sway (verb) : (Control or dominion) (बोलबाला)
Synonyms: Control, Influence, Affect/Persuade.
Antonyms: Inability, Powerlessness, Inefficiency
Example: The CEO of a company holds sway over all of his employees.
Verb forms: Sway, Swayed, Swayed
Related words: Swayable (adjective) Swayer (noun)
6. Corrosive (adjective): (Having the ability to wear down or destroy) (संक्षारक)
Synonyms: Destructive, Damaging, Harmful.
Antonyms: Gentle, Kind, Fortifying, Supporting
Example: We must fight the corrosive effect of discrimination.
Related words: Corrosively (adverb) Corrosiveness Corrosivity (noun)
7. Propaganda (noun): (Information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote a political cause or point of view/exaggerated or untruthful claims used to help raise support for an effort) (अधिप्रचार)
Synonyms: Information, Promotion, Advertising, Advertisement, Publicity, Advocacy
Antonyms: Truth, Reality, Actual
Example: During election season, politicians often try and beat their rivals by airing propaganda on television.
8. Set off (phrasal verb): (To cause something to operate, especially by accident/ to cause a situation or a series of events to happen, especially without intending to/ to start a journey, or to start going in a particular direction) (चल पड़ना)
Synonyms: cause, prompt, trigger, catalyze, bring about
Antonyms: Deter, Restrain
Example: Jeff pushed open the front door, which set off the alarm.
Related words: Set off (noun)
9. Press ahead (phrasal verb): (To start or continue doing something in a determined way, although it is difficult) (मुश्किल होने के बावजूद एक निश्चित तरीके से कुछ करना जारी रखना)
Synonyms: Continue, Go on, Follow through
Antonyms: Stop, Discontinue, Abandon, Sporadic
Example: They pressed ahead regardless of objections.
10. Drag (verb): (Pass slowly and tediously.) (धीरे धीरे और थकाऊ ढंग से)
Synonyms: Become tedious, Appear to pass slowly, Go slowly, Move slowly, Creep along, Limp along, Crawl
Example: From 230,000 miles away, the moon’s gravity pulls the Earth, dragging the ocean outwards in a bulge of water that creates a tide.
Verb forms: Drag, Dragged, Dragged
Related words: Idioms:- ‘drag one’s feet /heels’( to act with reluctance; delay)
Credits To The Hindu News Paper