Smart or Scandalous?

Can I get a feel on how bad people think this is?

For the last couple of days, a news programme here has been highlighting a database of voters.

The database is big – 5,000 Gigabytes – and is eerily accurate.

The political party recorded people’s main issues, and as a result put each voter into one of about eight categories. They had the extremes – definitely one of us or definitely not one of us, but it is the grey area where it gets interesting.

“People who might vote for us” were specifically targetted with things like Facebook ads extolling the virtues of their candidate.

“People who probably won’t vote for us” were sent different ads, encouraging them not to vote at all.

You can hopefully see that if these strategies paid off, they would both benefit that political party.

Where I’m not convinced is that our news programme seems to think it is a bad thing. I look at it and just think it is smart.

Surely, as a political party, you have limited resources – time and/or money – it makes sense to keep as comprehensive a database as possible? Surely it makes sense to understand what people’s issues are? Surely it makes sense to make sure that potential supporters vote for you? And that potential “not-supporters” do not vote for your opponents.

I don’t know, it just seems smart to do all these things, as far as I can tell. Every political party should be doing this, surely? Anybody have a view on this?

6 comments

  1. This is horrid! They stole personal information and used it against people. What Cambridge analytica did was immoral and illegal. And this same thing is being used on uneducated etc to turn them far right wing. It is used for targeted brainwashing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Actually, in my case, Cambridge Analytica is not involved, and furthermore there has been no suggestion of anything illegal. As for immorality, it is meaningless because there is no objective measure of morality.
      I deliberately left my name out of it because I wanted to talk about the principle of data collection, rather than which side of the political fence they sit on.

      Like

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