Aleksandr Kogan considers his position in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
The recent Facebook data breach–which Facebook has taken great pains to point out was not a typical data breach–has metaphorically opened a lot of people’s eyes to how their data is gathered, stored, and used by outsiders. With more than 50 million user profiles accessed in violation of Facebook’s terms, both the public and the government want answers.
While Mark Zuckerberg has already had his awkward day in front of Congress, the Cambridge University researcher sitting at the heart of the entire matter will soon speak before a parliamentary committee about the illegal use of data, namely how it was used, and more importantly, was it used to unfairly influence both the US presidential election in 2016 and the Brexit vote.
For his part, Aleksandr Kogan says not only his a victim of defamation in all of this, but that he’s a) by far not the only third-party gathering up data from Facebook for others to use, and b) that it’s been going on for far longer than people care to realize. They only care now because accusations like election tampering and Russian spying have been thrown about.
Kogan has spoken to Buzzfeed in a series of interviews about what really took place with Cambridge Analytica, Facebook user data, and government affairs, but his version of events is just as convoluted (albeit different) than most of the narratives painting him as a paid spy and data manipulator. When he appears before committee in the days ahead, he’s not hoping so much to clear his name and restore any hope of finding employment in his field, as he is to show those in power that their fears about privacy are misplaced. According to Kogan, there are very serious threats to our privacy that he can present, but harvesting your Facebook profile isn’t what we should be afraid of.