Gransnet forums

News & politics

Political exploitation of personal data

(10 Posts)
varian Tue 18-Jul-17 16:49:56

Our personal data is being manipulated for political gain – we need to take control of it.

The irony is that those who used the services of the billionaire data collectors, took control from voters by using the "take back control" slogan.

Like so much in politics, what is said can often be the exact opposite of what politicians do.

varian Wed 19-Jul-17 13:41:04

I am quite careful about disclosing personal information on line. I don't post photos of myself or family or "like" things on facebook, but on the other hand, I do sign petitions which indicates something about my views.

Many people, mostly younger people, cheerfully post everything and anything about themselves, so are open to manipulation by algorithms for political and commercial interests. There seems to be very little concern for personal privacy. Should we be worried about this?

MaizieD Wed 19-Jul-17 15:49:34

The Torygraph is a bit behind the times isn't it? Didn't we discuss this way before the General Election?

I don't, either, recall any concern from them during the GE campaign when attention was drawn to the Tories targeting ads on Facebook.

MaizieD Wed 19-Jul-17 23:30:12

Clearly not a great deal of concern on Gnet, either.

This might be related in a way:

George Monbiot reviews abook called 'Democracy in Chains'by an American professor of History

The history professor’s work on the subject began by accident. In 2013 she stumbled across a deserted clapboard house on the campus of George Mason University in Virginia. It was stuffed with the unsorted archives of a man who had died that year whose name is probably unfamiliar to you: James McGill Buchanan. She says the first thing she picked up was a stack of confidential letters concerning millions of dollars transferred to the university by the billionaire Charles Koch.

Her discoveries in that house of horrors reveal how Buchanan, in collaboration with business tycoons and the institutes they founded, developed a hidden programme for suppressing democracy on behalf of the very rich. The programme is now reshaping politics, and not just in the US.

I'd be interested to hear what people make of it.

varian Thu 20-Jul-17 15:06:10

There are two aspects to this question.

Is it wise to disclose so much personal information online? I think not, for many reasons, but there seem to be millions who don't see the dangers. Perhaps they just see it as a way of being famous without actually achieving anything (an ambition I find difficult to comprehend)

Secondly we have now discovered the extent of the political manipulation which data mining companies facilitate. The techniques are very sophisticated and result in millions of poor people voting for policies which will damage them without realising it. The aim is to concentrate more and more power and wealth in the hands of a small number of billionaires.

grannysue05 Thu 20-Jul-17 17:55:44

Is this really true?
I mean, concentrating more and more power and wealth into the hands of a few billionaires?
There will be exceptions I am sure, but most extremely wealthy people just want to enjoy their lifestyles and their cash.
I really can't see millions of us being manipulated. Lots of people have masses of intelligence and are just not taken in by propaganda.
Re: revealing too much personal information .... well, that's common sense to keep out the scammers.

varian Thu 20-Jul-17 18:44:24

This does not mean that every billionaire is suspect. I'm sure that many do just want an easy life, but there are powerful political forces ready and able to manipulate democracy. Billionaire newspaper proprietors are now just the tip of the iceberg.

Intelligent people and not-so-intelligent people, have been misled at many times in history. I'm sure we can all think of examples.

The techniques available now are very much more sophisticated and effective than they have ever been. Few people realise they are being manipulated or subjected to undue influence.

So-called democracy can bring about bad results. "The people" are not always able to see what has happened. Dictators have been elected democratically, thanks to an effective propaganda machine.

Primrose65 Thu 20-Jul-17 21:22:58

I've just finished reading a book called "Everybody Lies". The hypothesis is that people control what they put on their social media accounts, lie to pollsters, present an 'image', but they are honest in their Google searches. So, for example, when he analysed the results of what people actually searched for, they discovered that Democrats in the USA are as likely to be racist as Republicans.(I don't want to put the search terms here, they were offensive). I was surprised at some of the results and think that's an interesting concept, which I'm sure will be exploited by political parties soon.
It was written by an economist, who used to work at Google as a data scientist, so I'm assuming he's reliable.

durhamjen Thu 20-Jul-17 23:57:37

I've just read that Monbiot article. I can think of people who could be involved in that manipulation of capitalism.

Where do you think trump is?

durhamjen Wed 26-Jul-17 10:04:07

May can say anything she likes, telling lies about the opposition, and get away with it.
Personal data of innocent people will now stay on the police database.