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Encryption expert sheds light on Facebook's flaws and which app is next

'Turned out that 87 million people were working for a market research agency called Facebook pro bono,' said encryption expert Jakub Kokoszka of UseCrypt.
(Getty Images)

The Cambridge Analytica scandal has many Facebook users riled and concerned about the security of their personal information. Even on Tuesday, as CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress, Facebook was issuing messages to users notifying them that users who had not signed up for suspicious apps the social network was banning (specifically This Is Your Digital Life) may have had their data compromised through people they were Facebook-friends with who used the apps.

Encryption expert Jakub Kokoszka, managing director of UseCrypt, an encryption platform for secure data transmission, spoke to Metro about the ramifications of recent revelations for Facebook users and the world's largest social network, and discusses which online apps and technologies could be next.

Has Facebook violated its trust with users to the extent that they have suffered real damages? Could any of them possibly consider suing Facebook?

I am not an expert on U.S. law, however it does look obvious that Facebook had a real impact on U.S. history, as well as investor’s pockets. Facebook’s stock lost millions in valuation and current assets, and 50 percent of the population is disappointed with the impact on politics.  

How much of Facebook users' private data is really private?

I think this specifically is what we will really learn over the next few days, turns out most of us were using the features on Facebook unconsciously. Some studies show that only 14 percent of users efficiently activate the encryption features in messenger. This is certainly frightening, I hope this will change and having more users aware ends in a more positive outcome.

If Zuckerberg is calling this 'a breach of trust' but acknowledges it was possible for apps to do it and Facebook didn't prevent it, some would say he was complicit. Would you agree or disagree and why?

As a publicly listed company, there are a ton of regulations. However, one of the key aspects behind listed firms should, first and foremost, be transparency. I think this largely answers the question.

Are we all "products" in the social media world? 

People were using sophisticated tools to contact and share data for free, now they understand that they have paid the highest price in history – their privacy. You can ask a performance marketing agency, it will put a price tag on you and I, based on our age, gender, education, etc. Essentially, we are products – turned out that 87 million people were working for a market research agency called Facebook pro bono.

Which platform will face the next "Cambridge scandal?"

Currently, I am wondering what the implications are for WhatsApp users. You can see in their privacy policy that as part of “Facebook Family,” WhatsApp shares a lot of data with Facebook. I also believe that crypto-currency world can be the next one to suffer. It is worth reminding the case of Mark Karpelès, whose exchange platform, Mt. Gox that operated in Japan, got 850 thousand-bitcoins stolen. This is another sector based on unbelievable level of trust, probably a level never seen before.

Do you think this could be the end of Facebook?

Yes, I strongly believe so, Facebook is no longer fashionable. Users do not want to put their names next to Facebook, this is why we see companies like Tesla, SpaceX, and Jim Carrey and many other deleting their accounts. UseCrypt is starting to construct a movement of “global society connected by privacy” – this is the answer. Our messenger provides for decentralized communication and data security, also using blockchain technology.