‘They’ve Been Collecting Data About Voters For A Very Long Time’

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David Carroll, of The Great Hack

This morning.

On RTÉ’s Today with Seán O’Rourke.

Mr O’Rourke had a discussion about data protection concerns with David Carroll, professor at Parsons College in New York who sued Cambridge Analytica to access data the group had on him.

Unfortunately, they did not discuss the Irish Government’s intention to appeal the Data Protection Commissioner’s decision on the Public Services Card which found the use of the card, which has been issued to more than three million citizens, for many Government services had no basis in law.

Mr Carroll is one of the main subjects of Netflix documentary The Great Hack and will be in Dublin tomorrow to speak at the Tech For Good conference.

He is attending the conference as a guest of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties which has vowed to fight the Government over its decision to appeal the Data Protection Commissioner’s report…

From their discussion…

Seán O’Rourke: “A lot of concern, obviously, about data being scraped from people who had not consented but I mean advertisers, surely, and politicians indeed, they’ve been collecting data about voters for a very long time, to target them and persuade them.”

David Carroll: “Yes the practice has been going on and it gets sort of, each election cycle, it gets more and more sophisticated, aggressive. The volume of data increases. The pace of technology  goes faster than any of us can even understand its roll-out. And so it’s the concern that the trajectory of this is to become increasingly aggressive unless we do something about this.

“The general concerns, related to the democratic process, are the general idea of are candidates choosing voters or are voters choosing candidates?

“And then are advertisements related to elections so precise and targeted to such small audiences that you’re not having a community-wide discussion about the issues that two neighbours or two members of one household are seeing totally different things? So, how could we possibly have a conversation about who we want to elect, or the issues that we are debating in our communities?”

Listen back in full here

Tech For Good conference (Eventbrite)

Earlier: Put It On The Card

Pic: Netflix