Phrase of the Day: Collateral Damage

June 14, 2018

The phrase “collateral damage” means, according to the Cambridge Dictionary:

during a war, the unintentional deaths and injuries of people who are not soldiers, and damage that is caused to their homes, hospitals, schools, etc.

Cambridge University itself may be touched by blowback from the antics of one of its professors and a company which shares the name of the town on the River Cam. Twitch the mantle blue, of course.

The Cambridge Analytica/Facebook data scandal has rightly been scrutinized by everyone from individual users to entire government bodies. As could be expected when the players are this large, what people are finding links together unlikely suspects and victims in this data breach. One such surprise popped up this week when we read a Gizmodo report, “Facebook ‘Looking Into’ Palantir’s Access to User Data.”

According to the story:

“The inquiry was led by Damian Collins, chair of Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport Committee. According to CNBC, Collins asked if Palantir was part of Facebook’s “review work…. While it’s unclear if it gained access to the Facebook user data that Cambridge Analytica harvested, Palantir’s connection to the social network extends beyond any potential collaboration with Cambridge Analytica. Peter Thiel, a Facebook board member, is a Palantir co-founder.”

We aren’t sure what the big data powerhouse Palantir knew or didn’t know, but so far the company has been outside the blast zone.

Take for example, the recent news that Cambridge Analytica’s data seems to be out of business or in business under a different name.

Keep that ceramic plate on. The dominoes may continue to fall.

Patrick Roland, May 13, 2018


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