Brittany Kaiser － Cambridge Analytica Whistleblower and Data Rights Activist
Who is Brittany Kaiser? What role did she play in the Cambridge Analytica scandal? Meet another Infoshare 2021 keynote speaker.
Cambridge Analytica: Good Intentions and Bad Outcomes
As probably every good downfall story begins, it all started with good intentions. There's no denying that SCL Group had been affecting the elections and political campaigns through mining personal data of social media users from the very beginning, however, back then they wanted to protect people. In the context of the Afghanistan War and the Iraq War in the 1990s, SCL tried to stop young people from radicalizing. Later, when they started targeting elections in developing countries, the company realized how big of an impact they could have on politics.
Impressive Resume of Brittany Kaiser
Brittany Kaiser has been involved in politics and human rights pretty much her entire life. As a teenager, she volunteered for the presidential campaigns of Howard Dean and John Kerry, and for Barack Obama’s run for senate. In the summer of 2007, she worked full-time with the new media team to support Barack Obama’s campaign for president. Brittany also spent several years engaged with human rights projects around the world, including work for Amnesty International, lobbying at the United Nations and European Parliament to stop crimes against humanity.
Brittany Kaiser’s impressive resume caught the eye of Alexander Nix, who was the CEO of Cambridge Analytica, the political consulting company and a subsidiary of SCL Group. Employed in late 2014 as a business development consultant, Brittany Kaiser quickly raised through the ranks and became the Director of Business Development in 2015, and she was the only business development and salesperson to train directly under Nix.
Becoming a Whistleblower
After about three years, Brittany Kaiser left Cambridge Analytica and soon became one of the people who contributed to its downfall. The experience at the company helped her realize that the whole system of data brokerage was flawed and in contravention of fundamental human rights so she decided to reveal the truth about Cambridge Analytica and its activities to the public.
Although she hadn’t been privy to all the internal machinations of Cambridge Analytica’s activities, Brittany Kaiser as the Director of Business Development had had access to many important and sensitive documents and had witnessed a significant number of key meetings. In April 2018, she testified before the U.K. parliamentary investigation on Fake News by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee. She provided both testimony and documents, including an initial selection of documents and information, which were the basis for The Guardian’s momentous story on Brexit, the Trump campaign, Facebook, and more.
In the Netflix documentary The Great Hack, which explores the details of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Brittany Kaiser explains how the company used data of Facebook users to manipulate the outcome of the 2016 US presidential election. You can also read about the scandal in the book Targeted: The Cambridge Analytica Whistleblower’s Inside Story of How Big Data, Trump and Facebook Broke Democracy written by Brittany Kaiser herself.
It's Time to #OwnYourData
Recent experience with the infamous company only reassured her in her belief that people needed and deserved greater rights over both the use and proceeds of their own data. And so she began assisting governments and private companies in developing policies on, and programs for, data and blockchain technologies. She also started lobbying for bills to be passed protecting digital rights, including defining digital assets as property for each individual. To that end, she co-founded the Digital Asset Trade Association (DATA) and initiated the #OwnYourData campaign, asking corporations such as Facebook to change their terms and conditions. Brittany demanded that users were provided with transparency and property/monetization rights over the data produced on social media. She also acted as an expert witness and gave testimony to investigations on the data industry, big tech, and elections around the world.
Brittany Kaiser is now considered an expert in the use of data, digital asset legislation, and blockchain technology. She continues to help develop solutions that promote transparency, consent-based data sharing, data sovereignty, and cybersecurity. Moreover, in hopes to help protect privacy and encourage adoption of ethical principles for digital life, she speaks at public forums and conferences around the world.
Digital Asset Protection Covered at Infoshare 2021
Much like Brittany, we believe that personal data rights are as contemporary of the subject as they were when the Cambridge Analytica scandal was making front pages. That’s why we’ve invited Brittany Kaiser to share her knowledge and experience on the Inspire and DevTrends Stages. Join us at Infoshare 2021 (AmberExpo, Gdansk, October 14-15) and listen to Brittany in person. Register here.
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