How Big Data is Shaping the US Presidential Election

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Big Brother is not only watching you. He now keeps in touch, too.

There are over 200 million voters in America and now, with the help of new technology and lax privacy laws, both the Republicans and Democrats have a file on, well, every one of them.

Cambridge Analytica, a British firm, was paid $5 million in September alone to analyze data for the Donald Trump campaign and help refine its message to a target audience. Based on some 4,000 to 5,000 “data points” that include your browsing history, supermarket bills or TV habits, analysts can peg you as a certain personality type—say a “high neuroticism conscientious” or a “closed agreeable.”

Data analytics was pioneered in the Barack Obama campaigns, boasting at the time that they knew the names of all 69 million people who voted for him. By changing the perception that people are treated like numbers, the new approach was to create a feeling of a personal touch, mindless of the irony of data-crunching these same people.

Welcome to 1984 reloaded.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.

Photo Credit: Peter Howell

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