Cambridge Analytica Explained: Data and Elections

We found this here.

What does Cambridge Analytica actually do?

Political campaigns rely on data operations for a number of decisions: where to hold rallies, which states to focus on, and how to communicate with supporters, undecided voters and non-supporters. Essentially, companies like Cambridge Analytica do two things: profile individuals, and use these profiles to personalise political messaging.

IBM Watson personality prediction

This is terrifying! So everything can be predicted?

Well, yes, but also not quite. Profiling feels creepy (and it is), because it allows anybody with access to enough personal data to learn highly intimate details about you, most of which you never decided to disclose in the first place. This is worth repeating: someone can use your data to find out whether you are gay, even though you’ve never shared this information. Now here’s where it gets tricky: this derived information is often uncannily accurate (which makes profiling a privacy nightmare) but by virtue of being predictive, predictions also sometimes get it wrong. Also, a lot of things are inherently subjective. Who defines what is reliable or suspicious in the first place?

So profiling is widespread. But did Cambridge Analytica influence the Brexit vote and the US election?

This is my favourite question because the answer is so simple: this is very unlikely.

So Cambridge Analytica is a snake oil vendor and I shouldn’t be worried?

No, no, you should definitely be worried!

Is this even legal?

Good question that begs a lawyer-answer: it depends. There are vast differences in the way that data is regulated in the US, around the world, and currently even within different countries of the EU.

I want to read more about this!

Sure, here are some more resources.

Privacy International

We fight for the right to privacy across the world. https://privacyinternational.org

Privacy International

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We fight for the right to privacy across the world. https://privacyinternational.org

Privacy International

We fight for the right to privacy across the world. https://privacyinternational.org