Netflix just released its latest documentary The Great Hack which is focused around Cambridge Analytica and the US election for Trump and Brexit in the UK. It starts with David Carroll a media professor who wants to know the 5000 data points that Cambridge Analytica (CA) was advertising that they had on anyone in their audience so he submits a legal request in UK where the company was based.
Wikipedia: Cambridge Analytica Ltd (CA) was a British political consulting firm which combined data mining, data brokerage, and data analysis with strategic communication during the electoral processes. It was started in 2013 as an offshoot of the SCL Group. The company closed operations in 2018 in the course of the Facebook–Cambridge Analytica data scandal, although related firms still exist.
What they actually did was collect peoples data by hacking Facebook questionaires that when anybody who took one they could access their and all their connections personal details. They stated they only needed 100,000 people in America to get access to the contient.
They then used this data to identify “persuadable” people that they could manipulate. They did this in places from Trindad and Tobago to Nigeria. When they perfected their craft they took on the UK for Brexit and America with the election of Trump.
The documnetary worthing watching just to watch the connections CA had in various political campaigns around the world and the links they had with Brexit and Trump. You see Nigel Farage at the Trimp inauguration. The strategy they used in Trindad and Tobago. The hidden camera interview where CA are gloating of their tactics. It does seem straight out of a bond film where a”they” had this plan to cause mayhem getting the highest bid elected with their very evil villian in Alexander Nix.
Probably my favourite part of the entire documentary poor old Alexander playing the victim at the ICO hearing.
You have to think there is a great conspiracy documentary just around the corner to give the subject the attention it deserves such various links to Ruper Murdoch.
A central figure of the documentary is the journey of Brittany Kaiser CA former business development manager who now has turned informant. Brittany is introduced in a beach resort in Thailand in a summer hat which she keeps throughout the documentary. Britanny seems a small bit lost throughout the film trying to make mends of her wrongdoing but it slightly touches on basically she was broke from working for free for politicians and humanitarian causes, her family home got repossessed.
Around this time she meets Alexander Nix who grooms her for in-depth knowledge on how to use social media to win elections after her experience with Obama’s election. She seems to fill this role like a duck to water, going to fancy dinners, shooting afternoons, joining the NRA. It turns out she is the one who is responsible for signing the Trump contract. We have an inside look the days leading up to her testimony at the UK ICO investigation.
Also, slightly glossed over is her paying Julian Assange, and being subpoenaed by Robert Mueller and asked to testify during about Russian involvement in the 2016 Presidential election during Mueller’s investigation. I think we see her real colours for a brief period when she packs her stuff and jumps on a plane when realizing she could be in the world of shit in the US and should probably get out.
Fascinating but also one of the most frustrating parts of the documentary is her trying to act as this freedom fighter but she clearly played a pivotal role and should be punished. I couldn’t understand why she didn’t address this in the documentary.
The actual hero of the documentary is Carole Cadwalladr who went from writing a feature piece to be an advocate for a fair democratic voting process which highlights is not possible with people being able to manipulate elections with propaganda. You can watch her TEdTalk featured at the end of the documentary below.
She highlights the real problem that the top tech companies are dictating what people to monetize their platforms. They are using our personal data for their benefit and the truth is we can’t do anything about it. Every bit of content is curated for the personal user so you are more inclined to click, how often have you talked about something and then later on seen an ad for it.
Are we going to just stop using google and social media to protect our data? Do the pro’s outweigh the con’s – most definitely.
Are we going to stop using messenger, whatsapp, instagram, facebook to protect our data or just click accept so I can still stay up to date with my friend’s lives and stay in contact with them? I don’t even use SMS anymore so do I even have a choice.
We live in a world where the majority of people think that and are sharing their data daily because they actually have real no choice and I’m actually one of those people #5000datapoints