Why Wylie Blew the Whistle on Cambridge Analytica

Big Data

Former research director and Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie shared his reasons why he testified to the scandal. / Photo by: Jwslubbock via Wikimedia Commons

 

Christopher Wylie, a self-described queer as written in an article published on economist.com, was also quoted on why he decided to blow the whistle on Cambridge Analytica. The report also discussed whether or not the platforms available for use are doing their absolute best to protect their respective users and what governments can do to better safeguard and protect independent elections and voting.

Wylie said, “I saw the beginnings of creating a private, parallel intelligence-gathering operation that reported solely to the president and his political advisors without any kinds of oversight or control."

He was the one who was behind the data team of Cambridge Analytica but immediately resigned from his position the moment he saw what the company intended to do with their respective talents and information. He later reported directly to the news media when he found out the extent of the damage he helped build up.

The psychographic modeling techniques of Cambridge Analytica was able to infer specific issues for individuals based on highly focused personality traits. This kind of information and systems was used in the American elections back in 2016 as well as the Brexit vote that also happened in the same year.

Because of the report of Wylie, both the American Congress and the British Parliament held multiple hearings on the issue, and just recently, the Information Commissioner’s Office fined Facebook the amount of 500,000 euros (US$578,000).

Wylie warned in a recent interview that there are other companies quite similar to Cambridge Analytica that are just used in the backdrop of politics. He said this may harm the concerns of both personal privacy and that of democracy as a whole.

Finally, he noted, “We need to change our mindset and understand that the protection of our democracy is a national security issue; When any country interferes with your democracy, they are attacking you."