Jan 7, 2020
Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Brittany Kaiser has recently shared a trove of previously unreleased documents detailing the company’s covert operations around the world, including its work with President Trump’s former National Security Adviser John Bolton. The data company worked closely with Trump’s presidential campaign and the Trump super PAC that ran the “Crooked Hillary” campaign ahead of the election. There were “red flags here and there,” she recalls, but the last straw for her was the two days of debriefing that occurred after Trump’s victory in the 2016 election. “They showed us how much data they collected, how they modeled it, how they identify people as individuals that could be convinced not to vote and the types of disinformation they sent these people in order to change their minds,” Kaiser says. “It was the most horrific two days of my life.” Kaiser worked at the data company for three years before leaving in 2018.
Cambridge Analytica would close down in 2018 after an investigation by a U.K. newspaper revealed how they used information from 87 million Facebook users without permission to sway voters during the 2016 presidential election. Could the same happen again in 2020? “Absolutely,” Kaiser says. “I think if anybody thinks this is different than 2016, they are sorely mistaken. … There are hundreds of Cambridge Analyticas around the world, especially in the U.S. elections right now.” The company’s role in the 2016 election and the United Kingdom’s Brexit campaign is explored more in the 2019 Netflix documentary “The Great Hack,” which was shortlisted for an Oscar.