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WHY IT’S A BAD IDEA TO LET A FEW TECH COMPANIES MONOPOLIZE OUR DATA

by Maurice E. Stucke

“It’s no good fighting an election campaign on the facts,” Cambridge Analytica’s managing director told an undercover reporter, “because actually it’s all about emotion.”1 To target U.S. voters and appeal to their hopes, neuroses, and fears, the political consulting firm needed to train its algorithm to predict and map personality traits. That required lots of personal data. So, to build these psychographic profiles, Cambridge Analytica enlisted a Cambridge University professor, whose app collected data on about 50 million Facebook users and their friends. Facebook, at that time, allowed app developers to collect this personal data. Facebook argued ...

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