Cambridge Analytica and Voter Privacy

Cite as: 4 GEO. L. TECH. REV. 583 (2020)

Finding a silver lining associated with Cambridge Analytica can be difficult. The notion of a private organization using licit and illicit means to undermine elections around the world for profit is hard to reconcile with liberal democratic values. A brief sampling of the myriad allegations against the U.K.-based data analytics firm include: sharing detailed information on U.S. voters with Russian intelligence;1 working with a far-right U.K. politician suspected of Russian ties on the Brexit campaign;2 participating in a scheme to hack a Nigerian presidential candidate’s personal emails on behalf of “oil billionaires”;3 meeting with Julian Assange of Wikileaks while he possessed Hilary Clinton’s emails stolen by Russian intelligence;4 and secretly recording a candidate receiving a fake bribe offer in an election in St. Kitts and Nevis.5 Most of these activities occurred during the same period that Cambridge reportedly worked in more than forty-five elections in the United States,6 including on behalf of three major-party candidates for president.7 Many of Cambridge Analytica’s former clients now occupy elected or appointed positions in the U.S. government,8 and several former employees work in American politics, including for the current President’s reelection campaign.9

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Patrick Day

Former Counsel for national security, U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, J.D., Washington
College of Law at American University; M.A., National Defense University.