Intended for healthcare professionals

Views And Reviews No Hold Barred

Margaret McCartney: Tech companies, healthcare, and a clash of cultures

BMJ 2018; 361 doi: (Published 21 May 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;361:k2143
  1. Margaret McCartney, general practitioner
  1. Glasgow
  1. margaret{at}
    Follow Margaret on Twitter at @mgtmccartney

Facebook stands accused of misusing data on a grand scale. Millions of people’s information has been used in ways they didn’t fully expect or explicitly permit. This has been done most notably by Cambridge Analytica, which has been implicated in influencing voting patterns.

It’s been clear for years that Facebook took the rights to reuse content with few limitations. Even deleting your account wouldn’t end the company’s licence.1 I doubt that most were aware of this on signing up—terms and conditions are boring. In 2014, in an experiment run by a firm called F-Secure to demonstrate the fragility of internet security, six Londoners agreed without realising it “to assign their first born child . . . for the duration of eternity” in return for access …

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