Top 5 Most Controversial Scandals in AI and Big Data

Top 5 Most Controversial Scandals in AI and Big Data

AI and Big Data are lucrative for business purposes yet there are many popular controversies around these two technologies.

Artificial Intelligence is the fastest-growing field in the tech sector with immense potential to revolutionize the world in future years. Every hi-tech company or start-up has a huge interest in investing funds in AI and Big Data analytics to examine the multiple sets of real-time data efficiently. Yet, just like a coin has two sides, the implementation of AI in the company also generates some controversies, which are considered the biggest scandals in history. Due to the Internet and its data storage capacity, everyone can get access to full details on controversial scandals anywhere at any time.

Top 5 controversial scandals in AI and Big Data

Facebook-Cambridge Analytica Data Scandal

Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal is the most popular AI controversy in recent years, which affected millions of Facebook users with their real-time personal data. Facebook faced various challenges due to the large-scale real-time data breach case in March 2018. A political consulting firm known as Cambridge Analytica extracted over 87 million personal data of active Facebook users without any legal consent. The large-scale real-time data was allegedly being used in favor of the former US Presidential candidate, Donald Trump, in the 2016 election. The same data was also allegedly misused for influencing the Brexit referendum result for the Vote Leave campaign. The founder and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, did not take up any appropriate action against Cambridge Analytica for months after receiving the data breach information. Facebook did not follow up with this political consulting firm to check whether all the personal data was removed and deleted. This crucial information was backlashed by active users, lawyers, and also advertisers. Facebook faced lawsuits due to the user's privacy protection breach and hate campaigns related to it. Zuckerberg pledged to create changes and regulations in Facebook to prevent such data leakage in the future in front of the United States Congress.

Tesla settled two lawsuits with the U.S SEC

Tesla is one of the most popular hi-tech companies in the AI and Big Data field with Elon Musk as the CEO. Elon Musk had to face a lawsuit with the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with his quirky tweet regarding the privatization of Tesla at $420 per share in August 2018. It became one of the popular controversial scandals, which was followed by millions of people across the world. Elon Musk stated that a shareholder vote would be held before Tesla become a private company and the decision was taken due to the pressure of being a public company created a lot of distractions, which are not the best way to achieve future productivity.

The SEC filed a lawsuit against the CEO alleging false and misleading statements in the tweet where Musk did not consult with the investors he mentioned before stating some confirmed names in the tweet. The settlement of the lawsuit occurred in September when Elon Musk did not admit or deny his allegations but for three years he had to step down from the CEO position to the chairman of Tesla's board of directors.

Elon faced a whopping $20 million penalty whereas Tesla received a $20 million fine without fraud charges. He again tweeted in December 2018 that SEC is doing a great job as the Shortseller Enrichment Commission. In February 2019, SEC again filed a lawsuit due to the contempt of the federal court as he blatantly violated the terms of his settlements related to Tesla. The lawsuit controversy is in progress and the final judgment is still pending.

Photo-scraping scandal of IBM

IBM is the most popular American multinational hi-tech company dealing with AI and Big Data to create innovations for the world. IBM faced a photo-scraping controversial scandal in 2019 where the controversy focused on 1 million pictures of human faces. IBM released a set of real-time data with around 1 million pictures to enhance the face recognition AI-based algorithm. NBC was the first company to find out the direct source of the pictures and it was Flickr, an online photo-hosting site.

AI-based algorithms always require real-time data to generate accurate information through deep machine learning. There is a controversy regarding AI-based platforms specifically designed for photo-scraping from publicly available sources with direct access to real-time data. This scandal made awareness in the minds of social media users regarding how their personal data is being used due to the rapid evolution in the tech sector. Silicon Valley's data monopoly and monetization have forced companies to extract personal details without legal consent. This created a wave of ethical-unethical controversy related to the real-time data of active users on social media platforms.

Google Nightingale Data Controversy

The Silicon Valley giant, Google, collaborated with one of the largest healthcare systems in the U.S with the biggest initiative popularly known as Project Nightingale. The main aim was to collect and crunch the detailed medical real-time data of millions of patients across 21 states. The raw data included lab results, diagnoses, hospital records such as medical history, and personal details of patients. This extraction of real-time data was occurring without any consent from doctors and patients whereas around 150 Google employees had complete access to the millions of patients and their emergency contacts.

This initiative was compliant with federal health law with robust protections for the raw personal data of patients. The controversy was popular due to the rise in unethical perspectives of data collection. Google was collecting data to design new software with the influence of AI and Big Data analytics whereas the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, 1996 stated that any hospital is allowed to share data with business partners without the consent for exclusive help to achieve healthcare functions. Google is always on the verge of controversies because it goes beyond legal requirements in determining not to inform users regarding their real-time data.

Uber v/s Waymo trade secret lawsuit against self-driving cars

Waymo is the self-driving car company under Google who filed a lawsuit against Uber with charges of stealing AI-based self-driving car technology in February 2017. Most parts of the controversy were related to Anthony Levandowski who worked on AI-based machine learning for self-driving cars before joining Uber. The charge sheet mentioned that Anthony downloaded 14,000 files from Google folders consisting of critical engineering information in the personal laptop before leaving for Uber. The critical information was regarding the hardware of self-driving cars, which initiated the Uber v/s Waymo civil lawsuit settlement in February 2018 when Uber agreed to pay a $245 million penalty.

In December 2016, Uber received traffic violations and escalating threats caused by self-driving cars and was forced to take the cars off the street. This lead to the file of the trade secret lawsuit from Waymo resulting in Uber firing Anthony for the failure to comply with the court order to turn over the documents. Anthony was sentenced to 18 months in prison to be served post-pandemic and plea a deal of paying $757,000 in restitution to Google with a fine of $95,000 and $179 million to Waymo.

Related Stories

No stories found.
Analytics Insight