In a recent interview on Sharjah’s first English language radio channel, Pulse 95 Radio, Brittany Kaiser who worked as a former director at the London-based political analysis company, Cambridge Analytica, which is facing unprecedented backlash for being involved in two of the most controversial campaigns in history – Brexit and the 2016 US presidential campaign – has told listeners that most election laws have not developed as far as the technologies running them have.
Kaiser noted: “We’re now dealing with this massive gap, and a question on these new technologies that have never been employed in this way before, until maybe the last elections in each country; but never to the extent in which it happened in 2016 for either Brexit or the US elections.
“So, do we have laws that will actually address this issue? Is there any legal recourse if there were violations that were made in each of these countries? Do we as citizens have a way of protecting ourselves in the future? I would say that in most countries there isn’t much recourse – only because our digital assets, our data, are not very well defined in the law.”
Brittany highlighted that taking advantage of the situation, several vendors like Cambridge Analytica, and the radio and television have exercised influence unethically for election canvassing, and running rallies and events.
“The media in the United States made more money the more times they said ‘Donald Trump’ in their articles. So, if you would have taken out any of those small pieces, there would have been some states that would’ve not gone red. That’s for sure. So, did Cambridge Analytica make a difference? Definitely,” she said.
In her first-ever appearance on air at Pulse 95 Radio, which was launched earlier this month by the Sharjah Media Cooperation, Kaiser stressed that individuals need to empower themselves to get back the power that has been taken out of their hands by this data breach, which according to strongly emerging speculation may have crossed the officially-claimed toll of 87 million accounts.
She said that we have to do this, first by recognising how much value we produce on a day to day basis, just by living our digital lives.
“These datasets that we produce have created hundreds of billions of dollars for many different companies. This is multi-trillion dollars in digital assets that are actually only made up of our own personal data. So, how valuable are we as people? Actually, incredibly so… I think we need to start demanding that some of this compensation be given back to the people for the value that we produce everyday just by using our phone.
“It’s likely that systems could soon be implemented where everybody in the world could have universal basic income. Imagine, Facebook, as the largest country in the world with a population of 2.2 billion, being able to provide that kind of stability for people. I would say that if Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t want to take that carrot, then I’m kind of shocked because it is the biggest move that a benevolent ruler could ever make.”
Well if Kaiser’s prophecy comes true, only time will tell. Meanwhile, no pressure, Zuckerberg.