Video-Interview with Brittany Kaiser, founder «Own Your Data»

Video-Interview with Brittany Kaiser, founder «Own Your Data»
Brittany Kaiser (Photo: Moneycab)

By Helmuth Fuchs

Brittany Kaiser, founder of the Own Your Data foundation talks in the interview

  • about her diverse political and philosophical views and her core beliefs

„I have always been a pretty similar person which is that I always work hard.“

„I truly believe in optimism. I suppose that’s where I got led astray because I always thought that technology can empower people and engagement in politics is a very good thing… Unfortunately I found that’s not always true. You can use the exact same tools to do people ill. That’s why I do all of the work today to empower people to be able to protect themselves.“

  • about what changed after the 2016 elections and Cambridge Analytical’s downfall

„Just because Cambridge Analytica doesn’t exist anymore doesn’t mean that the same tools and strategies aren’t being employed by others.“

„I think unfortunately we are less protected in 2020 than in 2016. A lot of the executives of big tech companies like Facebook have decided that they are going to not moderate political content.“

„Donald Trump is allowed to use disinformation, fake news, racism, voter suppression. Because he is a politician, he can do whatever he wants because it’s newsworthy. It’s a major problem.“

  • about the thin line between persuasion and manipulation and the impact of new regulations

„I don’t want platforms like Facebook to have to make a moral and ethical decision, I just want them to be able to enforce our basic laws.“

„GDPR in Europe and the California Consumer Privacy Act are now telling us that our data is important and that our consumer rights are important, that we have a right to transparency.“

„We have a long way to go in building the tech platforms that will allow us that type of real transparency but I have the hope we are getting there.“

  • about the selling of user data, paid content and the impact of it on the role of traditional media

„I think it’s very sad that very ethical media outlets that have spent time training their people as professional journalists, where they have standards, that that is considered more of a lost art form.“

„It means that we don’t have a closer to unbiased set of facts.“

  • about the future of Social Media and who will control the evolution of them

„Right now we have a momentum to push back against this unethical behavior. There is a lot of new social media networks and some of them definitely have the users ideals at heart.“

„I think Facebook is really going to lose different audiences due to their unwillingness to become very ethical very quickly.“

  • about how well she used the power she had at a very young age and what she would do differently in retrospective

„If I was to do something differently, I would have paid attention to my intuition earlier and when I saw red flags hopefully become a whistleblower before the Brexit campaign won or at least before the Trump campaign won.“

  • about why she started her «own Your Data» foundation and which technologies might help to achieve her goals

„The reason I started the «Own Your Data» foundation is because I was starting to think how do I best manage my time to make real sustainable change.“

„I actually think that we’re going to see a next generation that is not so easy to persuade, not so easy to manipulate. They can protect themselves as opposed to waiting for Mark Zuckerberg or a government to protect them.“

  • about whether new rules will ask for new business models and how this could influence the financial side of the business

„I really push back on the fact that companies think that they need to change their business model in order to become more ethical.“

„In the end, having a direct and transparent relationship between a brand and consumers could mean that you spend less money on data science, less money on purchasing and licensing data and increased consumer trust. That’s a future I really believe in.“

  • about her two wishes that were granted her at the end of the interview

„I wish that people take their activism seriously and I wish that technologists realize that they can do something good and still be successful.“

Brittany Kaiser has an in depth knowledge of the election of Donald Trump in 2016 and the Leave.EU campaign in the UK from her time at Cambridge Analytica. After blowing the whistle on Cambridge Analytica and such playing a significant role in the downfall of the company, she now runs her own foundation „Own Your Data“, advocating the rights of the users.

Brittany Kaiser on Wikipedia
Brittany Kaiser on Linkedin

The Great Hack

This interview was conducted at the WorldWebForum 2020

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