Why you should listen
Brittany Kaiser’s story is the subject of the acclaimed Netflix documentary “The Great Hack”. A former member of President Obama’s media team and Amnesty International lobbyist, her life took a steep turn when she became one of the whistleblowers of Cambridge Analytica’s alleged misuse of Facebook data to run campaigns for Trump and the Leave.EU initiative.
From 2015 to 2018, she worked for Cambridge Analytica’s parent company SCL Group as Director of Business Development. She helped target swing-voters using their company’s datasets, allegedly amounting to 87 million accounts, and in her words, “bombarded them through blogs, websites, articles, videos, ads, every platform you can imagine. Until they saw the world the way we wanted them to… Until they voted for our candidate.”
In 2018, she severed ties with the company and in an interview with the Guardian newspaper, she detailed how Cambridge Analytica had allegedly used data harvested from Facebook users to develop political communications strategies. She also provided evidence to the British Parliament which showed that the company had worked with the Brexit campaign Leave.EU.
The alleged data harvesting and manipulation carried out by Cambridge Analytica influenced discourse around divisive political issues which many viewed as undermining democracy.
A year after the scandal, she now spearheads the Change.org campaign #OwnYourData which seeks to give control back to social media users and is now currently focused on legislative reform for digital assets such as personal data and tokens on the blockchain through the company she co-founded called Digital Asset Trade Association (DATA).
Brittany has also penned a book she named Targeted. It goes inside the secretive meetings with Trump campaign personnel and details the promises Cambridge Analytica made to win. Throughout the book, Kaiser makes the case for regulation, arguing that legal oversight of the data industry is not only justifiable but essential to ensuring the long-term safety of our democracy.
Hear Brittany speak at Worldwebforum 2020 about the movement #ownyourdata, perils of data manipulation, and how you can protect yourself from data misuse.
For more about Brittany Kaiser, read our blog, Artificial Intelligence: Data dictating leadership
Brittany’s keynote about #ownyourdata will not be streamed nor recorded, so you will need to have a seat at Worldwebforum in Zurich on January 16-17, 2020 to hear her share her insights about the mysterious world of data trading.
About Digital Asset Trade Association (DATA)
The Digital Asset Trade Association (DATA) is the leading advocacy group for Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT). We help shape public policy issues to support the growth of digital assets (utilities), digital identity, smart-contracts and digital currencies.
Brittany Kaiser is a former business development director of SCL Group, the parent company of Cambridge Analytica.
During the film, Cambridge Analytica is described as a “data-driven communications company” by former CEO Alexander Nix.
The company was an offshoot of the SCL Group Kaiser worked for, which provided “data, analytics and strategy to governments and military organisations worldwide”.
In early 2018, the company made headlines across the globe about its alleged misuse of people’s personal data.
One of the journalists reporting on this was Cadwalladr, who wrote about how the use of data was allegedly used to influence voters and political campaigns.
This was done through the use of a quiz app on Facebook, which was used to determine swing voters.
The data from the app was sold to Cambridge Analytica and despite being asked to be deleted by Facebook, the company kept it on its books.
A new documentary called The Great Hack looks into the story from the eyes of those involved, including Kaiser.
Kaiser was a business development director from Lincoln Park, Chicago, who featured heavily in the documentary film.
She worked at the SCL Group for three and a half years between 2015 and 2018 before she decided to become a whistleblower and cooperate with those involved in investigating the case.
She decided to do so weeks after a data scientist named Christopher Wylie revealed in an interview for the Observer his involvement in using data from Facebook.
In an interview with Elle in June last year, Kaiser said she was “essentially a glorified salesperson” at the company.
She also revealed she did not have inside knowledge of how the group used Facebook data as it happened before she worked there.
However, Kaiser did give evidence to the British Parliament and gave an interview to the Guardian newspaper about how the company worked.
In the Great Hack documentary Kaiser said about Cambridge Analytica: “The bulk of our resources went into targeting those whose minds we thought we could change. We called them the ‘persuadables.’”
She added: “We bombarded them through blogs, websites, articles, videos, ads, every platform you can imagine. Until they saw the world the way we wanted them to. Until they voted for our candidate.”
Before Kaiser worked at the company, she was also on the media team for President Barack Obama’s 2008 election campaign.
According to LinkedIn, Kaiser now lives in the US and is the co-founder of the Digital Asset Trade Association (DATA) as well as a public speaker.