Governments should protect residents’ data on digital platforms

Social media, internet have great effects, but there should be criteria for ill-usage, expert says
Gokhan Ergocun – July 26, 2020

ISTANBUL (anadolu) – It is inadvisable to trust a social media platform completely and governments should protect residents’ data on digital platforms, according to a digital communications expert.

Ensuring personal security is one of the primary duties of states, said Nabat Garakhanova, the head of the MEZO Digital consultancy firm.

In the first six months of the year, 16 billion personal data records were leaked in many sectors, such as accommodation and health care.

According to researchers, only 8.4 billion data records were leaked in the first three months of 2020, and 4.1 billion in the first half of 2019, she told Anadolu Agency.

Garakhanova said the recent hack issue on Twitter showed the platform has software problems.

She said hackers could receive support from the inside of the platform by saying: “With the examinations we made, we concluded that there should be internal support.”

Garakhanova noted social media platforms should always update security systems and evaluate their substructure.

Last week, prominent Twitter accounts, including Barrack Obama, Bill Gates, Apple and Kim Kardashian West, were hacked by stealing users’ money via a message that said to give back to the community by doubling Bitcoins sent to their address.

“The attackers successfully manipulated a small number of employees and used their credentials to access Twitter’s internal systems, including getting through our two-factor protections,” Twitter said of the breach. “They accessed tools only available to our internal support teams to target 130 Twitter accounts. For 45 of those accounts, the attackers were able to initiate a password reset, login to the account, and send Tweets.”

Turkey’s Technology and Industry Minister Mustafa Varank also urged G20 digital economy ministers to tackle the issue of digital security on social media platforms.

“[Hacking of high-profile Twitter accounts] clearly shows that global technology giants can be an enormous problem,” he said.

Social media platforms use their own laws

Said Ercan, the chairman of Turkey’s International Social Media Association, said the hacking issue does not seem real and it is possible that it could be an advertising policy.

“I don’t believe that this issue was realized by hacking the accounts. Even if this is done, Twitter engineers have allowed it, leaving an open back door,” he said.

Companies that want to be very visible on social media are defrauded more, he added.

In Turkey, new social media regulation will bring good innovations and lay a burden on social media platforms, which will have to strengthen software, Ercan noted.

Actually, a behavior accepted as a crime is also a crime factor when it is done on social media, and the new regulation will solve this problem, he said.

Ercan also said that social media platforms try to use their own laws, no matter how rich or powerful these networks are, they are not a state, and they will not be stronger than a state. “In this regard, they have to comply with the laws of states,” he said.

Social media accounts have become IDs and several firms analyze people’s account before employing someone, according to Ercan.

“Serious measures should also be taken regarding data trade and perception management over social networks, an international social media agreement should be signed,” he added.

Research key against fraudulent methods

Garakhanova said users should be careful when they allow their personal information to be used on social media platforms and software.

“Because you do not read allowance texts, you actually give permission for a lot of information that you wouldn’t normally allow, this means that the data will be available to others with your consent,” she said.

There are always new fraudulent methods and the most important protection is research, she stressed.

“People with a lot of followers on social media can lose their accounts by trusting e-mails which promising blue tick recently, we see that these issues cause many losses,” she added.

Users’ data, such as where they go, meals they eat, shopping, birthdays, friends, identity and contact information, are kept on social media platforms.

Social media and the internet have great effects, but there should be some criteria for ill-usage on these platforms, she said.

Garakhanova also said the origin of applications is very important, while the law of protection of personal data in Turkey has an important place, platforms in Far East countries use data without permission.

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