Privacy Watchdogs: Social Media Must Safeguard Users’ Public Posts from Data Scraping

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Privacy Watchdogs: Social Media Must Safeguard Users’ Public Posts from Data Scraping


Major social media platforms are being urged in a joint statement by a coalition of foreign privacy watchdogs, including the UK’s ICO, Canada’s OPC, and Hong Kong’s OPCPD, to take precautions to protect users’ public postings from data scraping.

Regulators stress that these platforms must secure user data from scraping since most nations implement laws protecting publicly available personal data. “These obligations will generally apply to personal information, whether that information is publicly accessible or not. Mass data scraping of personal information can constitute a reportable data breach in many jurisdictions,” the joint statement reads, according to TechCrunch.

Watchdogs Admit It’s a Tough Job

The coalition’s statement, which was signed by privacy watchdogs from Australia, Switzerland, Norway, New Zealand, Colombia, Jersey, Morocco, Argentina, and Mexico, comes at a time when generative AI models, which depend on big datasets for training, are becoming more and more popular.

As the demand for data-driven AI technology rises, the regulators, who are members of the Global Privacy Assembly’s international enforcement cooperation working group, want to prevent possible data abuse and exploitation.

The authorities are aware of the difficulties social media firms confront in protecting publicly posted content from scraping. The amount of user-generated information makes human monitoring difficult, and data scrapers’ developing methods need platforms to be watchful and updated. Moreover, these platforms have the difficult task of striking a balance between the security of individual privacy and the transparency and accessibility of public messages.

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Anti-Data Scraping Recommendations

The watchdogs recommend numerous tactics for social media networks to use in order to successfully prevent scraping. They recommend creating sophisticated AI systems that can identify and stop scraping attempts by observing trends and behaviors, according to Today’s Esquire.

Suggested protection measures include strengthening the terms of service to expressly forbid scraping and strictly enforcing these regulations. Additionally, educating users about the dangers of data scraping and emphasizing privacy controls may enable them to take charge of their data protection.

The announcement coincides with increased criticism of the data practices of technology firms. In July, Reuters reported that Google was the target of a class-action lawsuit alleging that the tech firm unlawfully scraped data from websites to train AI systems, infringing on both copyright and privacy rights. The exploitation of private information and copyrighted content for AI training has led to a number of legal lawsuits against key figures in the AI business.

Several platforms have previously dealt with big data crises related to data scraping in prior years. Due to inadequate permissions implemented by the corporation, the 2018 Cambridge Analytica data abuse incident highlighted Facebook’s weakness when a developer obtained access to data on millions of users without their authorization.

Last year, Facebook was fined $275 million under the GDPR for data scraping that affected 530 million users due to unsafe product design. Notably, a lawsuit brought by an Irish digital rights organization contests the Data Protection Authority’s determination that the latter incident did not involve a security breach.

Related Article: OpenAI’s GPT 3.5 Turbo Gets Personalized-Train ChatGPT Using Your Data via its API



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