Don’t be surprised if the Cambridge Analytica/Facebook story turns out to be merely the first in a long line of stories to come about the abuse of consumer data purloined from social media.
ZDnet reports that 48 million personal profiles were compromised with data that was just as granular as the information in the possession of Cambridge Analytica–if not more so. It was compiled with data scraped from several social networks and–this is why it became news–was left unprotected on a publicly accessible server by Localblox, a “Global Customer Intelligence Platform” company based in Bellevue, Washington.
The data was scraped and aggregated by the company without the consent of users. The data came from Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Zillow and other sites–possibly bolstered with purchased marketing research–and was discovered on a public Amazon server. White-hat data breach hunter Chris Vickery found the 1.2 terabyte file, which was searchable.
A Localblox representative indicated that much of the information was fabricated for testing purposes, but declined to confirm the percentage.
Localblox has claimed an inventory of over 650 million device IDs, 180 million mobile phone records, and information on 180 million voters gleaned from public and private data. No legal option currently exists for U.S. internet users to have their information deleted or altered from its database.