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Welcome to the Voter Decision Support Community Group

From: Adam Sobieski <adamsobieski@hotmail.com>
Date: Sat, 1 Dec 2018 20:20:33 +0000
To: "public-voter-decision-support@w3.org" <public-voter-decision-support@w3.org>
Message-ID: <CY4PR0101MB3095B078FB1A677CA7CA331AC5AC0@CY4PR0101MB3095.prod.exchangelabs.com>
Voter Decision Support Community Group,

I would like to welcome each of you to the Voter Decision Support Community Group. Our group website is: https://www.w3.org/community/voter-decision-support/ , our group mailing list address is public-voter-decision-support@w3.org<mailto:public-voter-decision-support@w3.org> , and our group wiki is available at: https://www.w3.org/community/voter-decision-support/wiki/Main_Page .

The Election Influence Industry

Cambridge Analytica was a British political consulting firm which started in 2013 as an offshoot of the SCL Group [1]. Its services included combined data mining, data brokerage, data analysis and strategic communication during electoral processes.

In 2018, it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica had harvested the personal data of millions of individual’s Facebook profiles without their consent and utilized it for political purposes. This scandal, referred to as the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal, has been described as a watershed moment in the public understanding of personal data [2]. This scandal catalyzed public discussion on ethical standards for social media companies, political consulting organizations, and politicians [2]. Consumer advocates called for greater consumer protection in online media and the right to privacy as well as curbs on misinformation and propaganda [2]. This scandal caused a massive fall in Facebook’s stock price and resulted in calls for tighter regulation of tech companies’ uses of data [2].

Cambridge Analytica also engaged in political psychographic audience segmentation practices and microtargeting techniques such that psychographic audience segments, subgroups or individuals, received differing advertisements or social media content with regard to political candidates or their campaigns [3].

While Cambridge Analytica closed its operations in 2018, there remain offshoot firms [1]. For instance, offshoot firm Data Propria is reportedly working on the Donald J. Trump 2020 campaign [4]. Furthermore, Cambridge Analytica was but one actor within the larger election influence industry. There exist more than 300 organizations around the world working with political parties through data-driven campaigning [5].

Voter Decision Support Systems and Voter-centric Design

Democracy needs a new way forward – voter decision support systems are a part of the new way forward.

Voter decision support systems are decision-making software systems designed to support voters in gathering relevant information, evaluating that information, and deciding between alternatives [6]. Voter decision support systems equip and empower voters and, thanks to technologies such as Solid [7], voters can maintain their data privacy and their political privacy.

Our upcoming group discussion topics are numerous and include: (1) how voter decision support systems ought be, and (2) expanding upon the principles of voter-centric design.

Best regards,
Adam Sobieski

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cambridge_Analytica
[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facebook%E2%80%93Cambridge_Analytica_data_scandal
[3] https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/cambridge-analytica-and-the-perils-of-psychographics
[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data_Propria
[5] https://ourdataourselves.tacticaltech.org/posts/whos-working-for-vote/
[6] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voter_decision_support_system
[7] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solid_(web_decentralization_project)
Received on Saturday, 1 December 2018 20:21:32 UTC

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