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In this explosive memoir, a political consultant and technology whistleblower reveals the disturbing truth about the multi-billion-dollar data industry, revealing to the public how companies are getting richer using our personal information and exposing how Cambridge Analytica exploited weaknesses in privacy laws to help elect Donald Trump--and how this could easily happen In this explosive memoir, a political consultant and technology whistleblower reveals the disturbing truth about the multi-billion-dollar data industry, revealing to the public how companies are getting richer using our personal information and exposing how Cambridge Analytica exploited weaknesses in privacy laws to help elect Donald Trump--and how this could easily happen again in the 2020 presidential election. When Brittany Kaiser joined Cambridge Analytica--the UK-based political consulting firm funded by conservative billionaire and Donald Trump patron Robert Mercer--she was an idealistic young professional working on her fourth degree in human rights law and international relations. A veteran of Barack Obama's 2008 campaign, Kaiser's goal was to utilize data for humanitarian purposes, most notably to prevent genocide and human rights abuses. But her experience inside Cambridge Analytica opened her eyes to the tremendous risks that this unregulated industry poses to privacy and democracy. Targeted is Kaiser's eyewitness chronicle of the dramatic and disturbing story of the rise and fall of Cambridge Analytica. She reveals to the public how Facebook's lax policies and lack of sufficient national laws allowed voters to be manipulated in both Britain and the United States, where personal data was weaponized to spread fake news and racist messaging during the Brexit vote and the 2016 election. But the damage isn't done Kaiser warns; the 2020 election can be compromised as well if we continue to do nothing. In the aftermath of the U.S. election, as she became aware of the horrifying reality of what Cambridge Analytica had done in support of Donald Trump, Kaiser made the difficult choice to expose the truth. Risking her career, relationships, and personal safety, she told authorities about the data industry's unethical business practices, eventually testifying before Parliament about the company's Brexit efforts and helping Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, alongside at least 10 other international investigations. Packed with never-before-publicly-told stories and insights, Targeted goes inside the secretive meetings with Trump campaign personnel and details the promises Cambridge Analytica made to win. Throughout, Kaiser makes the case for regulation, arguing that legal oversight of the data industry is not only justifiable but essential to ensuring the long-term safety of our democracy.


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In this explosive memoir, a political consultant and technology whistleblower reveals the disturbing truth about the multi-billion-dollar data industry, revealing to the public how companies are getting richer using our personal information and exposing how Cambridge Analytica exploited weaknesses in privacy laws to help elect Donald Trump--and how this could easily happen In this explosive memoir, a political consultant and technology whistleblower reveals the disturbing truth about the multi-billion-dollar data industry, revealing to the public how companies are getting richer using our personal information and exposing how Cambridge Analytica exploited weaknesses in privacy laws to help elect Donald Trump--and how this could easily happen again in the 2020 presidential election. When Brittany Kaiser joined Cambridge Analytica--the UK-based political consulting firm funded by conservative billionaire and Donald Trump patron Robert Mercer--she was an idealistic young professional working on her fourth degree in human rights law and international relations. A veteran of Barack Obama's 2008 campaign, Kaiser's goal was to utilize data for humanitarian purposes, most notably to prevent genocide and human rights abuses. But her experience inside Cambridge Analytica opened her eyes to the tremendous risks that this unregulated industry poses to privacy and democracy. Targeted is Kaiser's eyewitness chronicle of the dramatic and disturbing story of the rise and fall of Cambridge Analytica. She reveals to the public how Facebook's lax policies and lack of sufficient national laws allowed voters to be manipulated in both Britain and the United States, where personal data was weaponized to spread fake news and racist messaging during the Brexit vote and the 2016 election. But the damage isn't done Kaiser warns; the 2020 election can be compromised as well if we continue to do nothing. In the aftermath of the U.S. election, as she became aware of the horrifying reality of what Cambridge Analytica had done in support of Donald Trump, Kaiser made the difficult choice to expose the truth. Risking her career, relationships, and personal safety, she told authorities about the data industry's unethical business practices, eventually testifying before Parliament about the company's Brexit efforts and helping Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, alongside at least 10 other international investigations. Packed with never-before-publicly-told stories and insights, Targeted goes inside the secretive meetings with Trump campaign personnel and details the promises Cambridge Analytica made to win. Throughout, Kaiser makes the case for regulation, arguing that legal oversight of the data industry is not only justifiable but essential to ensuring the long-term safety of our democracy.

30 review for Unti Nonfiction

  1. 5 out of 5

    S P

    Look, this book isn't a bad read. But I can't shake the feeling that the author is doing more of what she did for Cambridge Analytica - selling us a story and selling us a version of who she is. First and foremost, its not all bad. The book is strongest where it covers the author's tools and techniques used to sell Cambridge Analytica's services. It provides a fascinating insight into a different world of international privilege, where shoulders are rubbed with the rich, country hopping is common Look, this book isn't a bad read. But I can't shake the feeling that the author is doing more of what she did for Cambridge Analytica - selling us a story and selling us a version of who she is. First and foremost, its not all bad. The book is strongest where it covers the author's tools and techniques used to sell Cambridge Analytica's services. It provides a fascinating insight into a different world of international privilege, where shoulders are rubbed with the rich, country hopping is common and money is not a limitation. Where it is let down is the complete lack of insight the author has about her pivotal role in selling Cambridge Analytica. Fingers are pointed at youthful naivety and ignorance, the persuasiveness of others, and at the problem of Big Data, Trump and Facebook. But this downplays the author's role and contribution. While we are asked to believe the author was taken for a ride by Alex Nix and didn't know the full extent of Cambridge Analytica's activities, we are also told the author felt like she owned the company, contributed to building it, and even believed she would be CEO one day. There is a really distinct lack of insight by the author into her choices, agency and role in creating this beast. The author almost asks us to believe she basically sleep walks into the moral cesspool of Cambridge Analytica and therefore is not morally culpable for her decision to sell its product - which is particularly jarring as we are asked in the final chapter to remember "you have agency!". The book explains the author's inner turmoil: that she could be so involved in this mayhem despite her different politics, and that the family unit she grew up in is disintegrating due to no fault of their own. But these sections feel somewhat inauthentic when set between the almost endless description of the partying, global jetsetting and conference circuit presentations. A good read, but glad I received as a present and didn't buy it myself!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Siobhan

    Interesting to read alongside Christopher Wylie's Mindf*ck - the way each author frames their involvement (and each other) is illuminating... (ultimately, though, read Mindf*ck rather than this one, because it's more insightful and the tone not as heavily 'look I was a good liberal person I just was forced into doing questionable things') Interesting to read alongside Christopher Wylie's Mindf*ck - the way each author frames their involvement (and each other) is illuminating... (ultimately, though, read Mindf*ck rather than this one, because it's more insightful and the tone not as heavily 'look I was a good liberal person I just was forced into doing questionable things')

  3. 5 out of 5

    gnarlyhiker

    In regards to CA/SCL and being a whistleblower, Christopher Wylie's Mindf*ck is a better and more informative read. Kaiser wallows in self-pity. She campaigns for and takes a selfie with ted cruz, but she was drunk. She joins the nra, but she can't believe she actually did it. When dumpty wins the presidency, she's shocked and appalled and in total denial that CA was its driving force. OK, maybe she could have faked a year and still have not a clue, but after the second year and well into the th In regards to CA/SCL and being a whistleblower, Christopher Wylie's Mindf*ck is a better and more informative read. Kaiser wallows in self-pity. She campaigns for and takes a selfie with ted cruz, but she was drunk. She joins the nra, but she can't believe she actually did it. When dumpty wins the presidency, she's shocked and appalled and in total denial that CA was its driving force. OK, maybe she could have faked a year and still have not a clue, but after the second year and well into the third year: I have swampland in Florida to sell you, darlin'. one star for chapter 13 good luck

  4. 5 out of 5

    sadfaerie

    Brittany ends her book saying “I’m an eternal optimist” and having read it cover to cover I can only say: that’s not how you spell “opportunist”.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Rick Wilson

    Pretty good. Very interesting. The Cambridge Analytica stuff is terrifying. As a book, it a good portrait of how “good people can do bad things.” But while the CA parts are riveting, I found myself getting frustrated at the blindness Brittany followed the Blockchain trend as a redemptive arc. Blockchain is NOT the solution to privacy. Maybe in 20 years when the energy demands are lower and unforeseen magic innovations have fundamentally changed computing. But for now, in 2020, blockchain is a sl Pretty good. Very interesting. The Cambridge Analytica stuff is terrifying. As a book, it a good portrait of how “good people can do bad things.” But while the CA parts are riveting, I found myself getting frustrated at the blindness Brittany followed the Blockchain trend as a redemptive arc. Blockchain is NOT the solution to privacy. Maybe in 20 years when the energy demands are lower and unforeseen magic innovations have fundamentally changed computing. But for now, in 2020, blockchain is a slow, inefficient, energy intensive way to partially solve some of this. Frankly, having a single point of failure, like a digital ledger, seems awful. It’s amazing to see so many people who dont have technical knowledge go gangbusters for blockchain. It was one of my pet peeves of 2019, and for reasons like this. I’m not sure Brittany is the person who should be doing privacy advocacy. Business development is not technical know how. I should know, I was in biz-dev and have shifted to the engineering side of things. It’s a long painful process of filling huge gaps in your knowledge. Her technical explanations seem very Jedi-hand-wave. And it would make sense that solutions stemming from that would be wonting. It seems that the author was looking for an easy fix to many of the privacy issues she felt were being overlooked. Blockchain represented an "out," a sort of release valve to the cognitive dissonance being felt by an idealist in a predatory work environment. The way a drowning man may cling to a chunk of flotsam to keep afloat, it does not represent the ideal flotation device, but fulfills a need in a time of crisis.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Hampton

    Miss Kaiser misses the irony of decrying Trump’s racist rhetoric while voicing her own contempt for “old white men”. She is disconcerted that CA’s political campaigns relied on emotions rather than facts to persuade voters? But a democracy isn’t exactly peopled with dispassionate logicians. Indeed, the prefrontal cortex is hardly older than democracy itself. Until neurons are made of silicone, pathos will override logos. More generally, the effect that social media is having on our political disc Miss Kaiser misses the irony of decrying Trump’s racist rhetoric while voicing her own contempt for “old white men”. She is disconcerted that CA’s political campaigns relied on emotions rather than facts to persuade voters? But a democracy isn’t exactly peopled with dispassionate logicians. Indeed, the prefrontal cortex is hardly older than democracy itself. Until neurons are made of silicone, pathos will override logos. More generally, the effect that social media is having on our political discourse is perhaps best captured by Marshall McLuhan’s “the medium is the message”. The medium (newspaper, television, social media) shapes discourse. But this is nothing new. Nietzsche had nothing but contempt for the effect that newspapers were having on culture in the 19th century. Gutenberg was as responsible for the Reformation as Luther. Communication technologies can be as revolutionary as the content they transmit. To her credit, Kaiser highlights the privacy concerns endemic to big data, and these are truly disconcerting. As for whether her Own Your Data campaign will succeed, we can only hope; but how central data is (and will increasingly become) to the information economy gives us cause for doubt. As Zuckerberg said, or is so often quoted as having said, privacy is no longer a social norm.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Adrian Timar

    A very up-to-date book about a modern issue that will get even more intense in the future -data privacy. The book itself is an autobiography of Brittany, an ex- CA employee. While some of her motives are shady or just selfish, she has a great story to tell. If it wasn't for the fake news and illegal data possessions, Cambridge Analytica might have been one of the top marketing agencies in the world based on their methods of psychological profiling people. I highly recommend this book for anyone in A very up-to-date book about a modern issue that will get even more intense in the future -data privacy. The book itself is an autobiography of Brittany, an ex- CA employee. While some of her motives are shady or just selfish, she has a great story to tell. If it wasn't for the fake news and illegal data possessions, Cambridge Analytica might have been one of the top marketing agencies in the world based on their methods of psychological profiling people. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in why Trump won, why is data privacy important or does online ads.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Marco Pavan

    Willfully committing crimes, making lots of money out of it, and start shouting out loud only when shit goes south and the illicit is becoming known to the media and the masses, does not qualify as whistleblowing. instead this is a poor attempt at "monetizing" yet again over conscious misdeeds. Trump and Facebook didn't break democracy on their own: you and CA/SCL/AIQ were a center part of it. The narrative in this book is pathetic. it's also poorly written and flows awfully. Willfully committing crimes, making lots of money out of it, and start shouting out loud only when shit goes south and the illicit is becoming known to the media and the masses, does not qualify as whistleblowing. instead this is a poor attempt at "monetizing" yet again over conscious misdeeds. Trump and Facebook didn't break democracy on their own: you and CA/SCL/AIQ were a center part of it. The narrative in this book is pathetic. it's also poorly written and flows awfully.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Wendy Capron

    Everyone should read this book (or maybe one that better explains how all this data is being used against us), in conjunction with Thinking, Fast and Slow. Elections from now on will be won by whatever side betters uses our personal information - and I'm betting it will never be for altruistic purposes. Civilization is doomed. Happy New Year! Everyone should read this book (or maybe one that better explains how all this data is being used against us), in conjunction with Thinking, Fast and Slow. Elections from now on will be won by whatever side betters uses our personal information - and I'm betting it will never be for altruistic purposes. Civilization is doomed. Happy New Year!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Peggy Ryan

    This was a really insightful read - I honestly didn’t enjoy how she was portrayed in The Great Hack (Netflix, 2019), because she came across as a villain, but getting to read this from her perspective really opened my eyes to what she went through

  11. 4 out of 5

    Fefyy Antela

    This was both super interesting and scary 😳 Everyone should read...

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Scott

    A few snippets of additional information that match Mindf*ck by Chris Wylie. Insightful and less technical than Wylie’s book. You can watch The Great Hack on Netflix for a snapshot of this books main ideas.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Joy

    Holy S*** Although I had some awareness of the Cambridge Analytica story, I was horrified to learn the enormous and somewhat invisible role they played in the Cruz’ campaign, Trump’s election, Brexit and others. Even more frightening is what big data and corrupt players mean for future elections and, not to be too alarmist, but democracy in general. I so appreciate that Brittany Kaiser has had the courage to be a whistle blower and written this book. I need a few days to think about what I can do Holy S*** Although I had some awareness of the Cambridge Analytica story, I was horrified to learn the enormous and somewhat invisible role they played in the Cruz’ campaign, Trump’s election, Brexit and others. Even more frightening is what big data and corrupt players mean for future elections and, not to be too alarmist, but democracy in general. I so appreciate that Brittany Kaiser has had the courage to be a whistle blower and written this book. I need a few days to think about what I can do to play some small part in helping to address the issue. I do appreciate that she identified suggestions at the back of the book. For starters, I am even more motivated me to get more involved in the 2020 election, particularly on the data side, and certainly will encourage my colleagues to read the book.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rhiannon

    A must read. Kaiser does not come across well at all - clearly an opportunist rather than a whistle blower - but her account of the use and misuse of data and targeted advertising in elections globally (including the Trump and Leave campaigns) is eye opening and deeply worrying.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kat

    The most proactive information in the book are the 5 ways in which you can take control of your data: 1. Become digitally literate. "I started in the data game with the highest of hopes to use data for good, and I saw what happens when unethical practices permeate the upper echelons of power. Some of the best tools for fighting back can be found at the DQ Institute’s website. There you can learn why digital intelligence is essential in the digital age and how to get up to scratch to protect yours The most proactive information in the book are the 5 ways in which you can take control of your data: 1. Become digitally literate. "I started in the data game with the highest of hopes to use data for good, and I saw what happens when unethical practices permeate the upper echelons of power. Some of the best tools for fighting back can be found at the DQ Institute’s website. There you can learn why digital intelligence is essential in the digital age and how to get up to scratch to protect yourself and those around you. Visit http://www.dqinstitute.org." 2. Engage with legislators. "Inform yourself about upcoming legislative initiatives and get involved! Call and write to your legislators (you can find their details at https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials) and tell them that you support new, common-sense data-protection legislation, including the following pending bills and initiatives currently being debated, both in Congress and in the court of public opinion: a. Senator Ed Markey’s CONSENT Bill would flip the script, requiring companies to obtain opt-in consent from users (rather than their being automatically opted in), develop reasonable data security practices, and notify users about all data collection and any data breaches. b. Senator Elizabeth Warren’s Corporate Executive Accountability Act would make corporate executives criminally liable for data breaches that occur as a result of negligence, as in the Equifax and Facebook data breaches. c. Jim Steyer’s “You Are the Product” Legislative Initiative would enshrine legal recourse for abuse of your data and ownership rights. The related bill(s) have not yet dropped but are something to look out for, given that Jim and the Californians for Consumer Privacy were instrumental in translating GDPR into the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPR), the most comprehensive data legislation in the United States. d. California governor Gavin Newsom’s Data Dividend Law, which has been introduced and is being debated, recognizes that people from whom personal data has been collected should be compensated for its use. e. Senator Mark Warner’s DETOUR Act and associated bills that aim to regulate big tech by providing transparency into the value of consumers’ data, and to block manipulative “dark patterns” in the use of algorithms. f. The state of Wyoming’s Digital Asset Legislation, which includes thirteen new laws already passed, and has many more in consideration during the upcoming legislative cycle. The benefits include definitions of your digital assets as intangible personal property, thereby ascribing rights to, and legal recourse for, their use. Learn more about the new tech capital of the United States here: http://www.wyoleg.gov. g. The Government Accountability Project’s Scientific Integrity Act supports science whistleblowers by protecting those who hold power to account for abuse, waste, and negligence. We want more strong individuals to come forward for the greater good and to feel comfortable in doing so. Get involved here: http://www.whistleblower.org/supporting sciencewhistleblowers." 3. Help companies make the ethical choice. "Show you care by implementing some of the ethical technology solutions listed at: http://designgood.tech. For an example of corporate thought leadership, check out Phunware (NASDAQ:PHUN), a Big Data company that is returning the data they hold to consumers and rewarding them for its use: http://www.phunware.com." 4. Ask regulators to hold abuses of power to account. "The main issue with long, protracted investigations is that the individuals, campaigns, and companies at fault are often embarrassed but not punished. Many of them will not make ethical decisions unless forced to; hence my stress here on legislation and regulation. As such changes don’t happen internally, external pressure is needed...imposing mere fines on entities with deep pockets does not discourage them from breaking the law again. If we want to fix our broken democracy, we have to stand up and make our voices heard. Contact the Federal Election Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, and the British Electoral Commission to let them know you demand real solutions and a satisfactory completion of current investigations before the next elections." 5. Make ethical choices in your own digital life. "Choose to question negative news articles. Refrain from sharing messages that incite anger or fear. Choose not to engage in the negativity, the harassment, or the targeting. If you run a company, give your customers transparency and opt-in consent. Explain to them the benefits of the data they are sharing; you will reap greater rewards with open communication. Do not engage in trickery, and do not sell data to third parties without letting your customers know and giving them the choice to opt out. Do not use underhanded tactics to get people’s attention; dark ads and divisive rhetoric have driven our societies apart too easily, and with just the click of a button. Dedicate yourself to not falling into the trap of convenience. This is not a time to remain idle—we need action from every person."

  16. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    This was an easy listen and moved at a decent pace. The writing is pretty good. My problem with it is that it comes across more as a memoir/mea culpa than a revelation and an insight into big data. In terms of morality, the question of "what would you do in my situation?" seems to be the biggest, and that seems largely beside the point. This was an easy listen and moved at a decent pace. The writing is pretty good. My problem with it is that it comes across more as a memoir/mea culpa than a revelation and an insight into big data. In terms of morality, the question of "what would you do in my situation?" seems to be the biggest, and that seems largely beside the point.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    Big data is manipulating people's thoughts and actions. The antidote is to question and educate yourself. Fact check, consider the source etc. We are entering a new world and if it is not kept in check, we're in for a fall. Big data is manipulating people's thoughts and actions. The antidote is to question and educate yourself. Fact check, consider the source etc. We are entering a new world and if it is not kept in check, we're in for a fall.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Christopher

    Disclaimer: I read the physical book and accidentally selected the audio CD version on here. When I saw that there was a second book on this topic that came out this year, I was very intrigued. I read Chris Wylie's book about a month ago, and I was shocked and appalled and it led to my refusing to post any more information on Facebook ever again. (I can't delete it, regrettably, for personal reasons) This book, to me at least, seems infinitely more credible. Not only is it a fuller account of th Disclaimer: I read the physical book and accidentally selected the audio CD version on here. When I saw that there was a second book on this topic that came out this year, I was very intrigued. I read Chris Wylie's book about a month ago, and I was shocked and appalled and it led to my refusing to post any more information on Facebook ever again. (I can't delete it, regrettably, for personal reasons) This book, to me at least, seems infinitely more credible. Not only is it a fuller account of the whole Cambridge Analytica/related groups fiasco, it also seems more plausible and less secret agent, behind the scenes, this is how the world really works. Additionally, Kaiser's criticisms of Wylie himself rang true, even considering his book and the content therein. That is not to say that I take back my recommendation of his book; you should still read it, just read this one first and take his with a grain of salt where the two accounts differ. All of that said, this book is horrifying. The abuse of data about our personal lives should give anyone pause when considering using and posting on social media. We really need to to reconsider how much we are willing to share with the world, particularly in light of accounts that uncover those we are sharing with without even wanting to. I truly believe that there is nothing less at stake than the future of democracy in our age. Steps MUST be taken to stop the totalitarianism of big data before it is too late. Stop sharing, stop liking, relearn propriety and privacy, and maybe we may have a chance.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Roshni Bhattacharya

    One book I'd recommend to all to read in this day and age when data is gold! Humans have ceased to exist. To corporations we are just a bunch of datasets and social media platforms are ready to give us up for a quick buck (well, a lot of bucks). It was scary to see how companies like Cambridge Analytica were capable of shaking the very foundation on which the pillars of democracy stands. Anybody who is interested in BIg Data and its consequences on the world, should definitely get their hands on One book I'd recommend to all to read in this day and age when data is gold! Humans have ceased to exist. To corporations we are just a bunch of datasets and social media platforms are ready to give us up for a quick buck (well, a lot of bucks). It was scary to see how companies like Cambridge Analytica were capable of shaking the very foundation on which the pillars of democracy stands. Anybody who is interested in BIg Data and its consequences on the world, should definitely get their hands on this book and make sure they go through it cover to cover. At times I felt Brittany went too repetitive about her involvement as an intern during the Obama campaign but it might be for the reason that she has been associated with the Trump campaign even when she clearly states that she didn't want any part of it. Trump campaign's postmortem was extremely scary and worrisome. If not the whole book, I'd say read that chapter only. You might want to stay away from Facebook for the rest of your lives!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Epsilon

    After seeing the Netflix movie I approached this title with a huge dose of scepticism. While reading it however it stirred up lots of emotions and thoughts and it also challenged me to revisit my own positions in respect to data privacy and fake news. And I think that this is something we need to do more often these days. The book might not be an easy read for every one due to heavy use of reference to data analytical topics in some parts - regardless I find It a fascinating and important read pr After seeing the Netflix movie I approached this title with a huge dose of scepticism. While reading it however it stirred up lots of emotions and thoughts and it also challenged me to revisit my own positions in respect to data privacy and fake news. And I think that this is something we need to do more often these days. The book might not be an easy read for every one due to heavy use of reference to data analytical topics in some parts - regardless I find It a fascinating and important read providing authors detailed account and perceptions of certain social-political events from the last several years.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ietrio

    The evil one percenters are hiring powerful sorcerers that are putting you under a spell. Here's Kaiser, the paladin "telling it how it is". The evil one percenters are hiring powerful sorcerers that are putting you under a spell. Here's Kaiser, the paladin "telling it how it is".

  22. 4 out of 5

    Karolina Libront

    The author is a mix of terrible ego, hypocrisy, self-centered approach to life and naivety. It’s a lousy read and most of all it’s worth neither your time nor your energy.

  23. 5 out of 5

    David Cook

    The first half of this book I found to be a lot of hollow justification for some pretty horrible lapses in moral courage. Brittany Kaiser is a former director at Cambridge Analytica (CA). The book details disinformation campaigns, bots and foreign influence on social media. Kaiser eventually has her own reckoning with how dangerous CA actually was. But until that reckoning she is all too eager to jet around the world living a lifestyle of excess while rubbing elbows and working for corrupt polit The first half of this book I found to be a lot of hollow justification for some pretty horrible lapses in moral courage. Brittany Kaiser is a former director at Cambridge Analytica (CA). The book details disinformation campaigns, bots and foreign influence on social media. Kaiser eventually has her own reckoning with how dangerous CA actually was. But until that reckoning she is all too eager to jet around the world living a lifestyle of excess while rubbing elbows and working for corrupt politicians who use CA’s services to influence elections. Kaiser describes how CA and others mine online data and how that data is used to create hyperspecific (and usually misleading) targeted political ads. In the case of the Trump campaign, this meant using illicitly acquired Facebook data to produce and disseminate thousands of individual ad campaigns within campaigns aimed at millions of segmented voters in different states, regions, and even neighborhoods. She becomes a star at CA and seems to have overall positive views of Christopher Nix the lead director at CA. It almost seems that the tide turns for her when Nix shorts her on commissions. It makes one wonder if she would have had her awakening if her personal economics hadn’t been impacted. She does eventually address her decision to go public. She summons the ghost of Daniel Ellsberg, of Pentagon Papers fame as her inspiration. Yet, she didn't go public until after other’s published stories of the evil deeds of Cambridge Analytica. Not until the last third of the book does she start to address the ethical issues. Kaiser’s personal story explores the dangers of falling victim to the allure of money and power, and warns readers that data analytics can be misused to undermine democracy. Kaiser is now an advocate for data and privacy rights. Quotes: "We knew this all too well, so what was the problem? When Facebook users decided to use an app on Facebook, they clicked a box displaying the app's 'terms of service.' Hardly any of them bothered to read that they were agreeing to provide 570 data points on themselves and 570 data points of each of their friends. There was nothing illegal about the transaction for the individual who consented: the terms of agreement were spelled out in black and white for the few who cared to attempt to read the 'legalese.' Still in a rush to get to the quiz or game the app was providing, users skipped over reading the document and gave their data. The problem lay in the fact that they were also giving away their friends' data, friends who had not legally consented."

  24. 4 out of 5

    CHAD FOSTER

    An interesting (and thoroughly disturbing) firsthand account of the unsavory work done by Cambridge Analytica to manipulate populations in the United States and around the world. Over a period of just 2-3 years, this company helped give birth to the current era of widespread mistrust and division within out society. Cambridge Analytica exploited and monetized already existing societal fault lines in our country (and throughout the world), making manipulation and polarization into a growth indust An interesting (and thoroughly disturbing) firsthand account of the unsavory work done by Cambridge Analytica to manipulate populations in the United States and around the world. Over a period of just 2-3 years, this company helped give birth to the current era of widespread mistrust and division within out society. Cambridge Analytica exploited and monetized already existing societal fault lines in our country (and throughout the world), making manipulation and polarization into a growth industry. "Micro-targeting" of individuals using various media platforms (especially social media) was a new and explosively effective concept that has enabled mass manipulation by various actors, to include foreign adversaries. In the years since, it has enabled the rise of many different populist movements, few of which have had a constructive impact on our world. Check your social media feeds, and you'll see the continued fruits of these nefarious efforts. The author, supposedly an avowed progressive with left-leaning political values, tries to make herself out to be something of a victim, caught up in the thrill of financial reward and charmed by the intriguing head of Cambridge Analytica, Alexander Nix. Some of that might be true, but one has to wonder just how committed she was to her ideals if the promise of profit swayed her to put them aside so easily. In any case, Kaiser does not come across as a sympathetic figure, regardless of how hard she tries to do so. Regardless, the book is fascinating. It provided me with some insight into the specifics of how data was gathered, analyzed, and exploited by many different individuals and entities. No one has clean hands in this affair, and the extent of the damage that has been done to our society is not yet fully understood - and it may not be for decades to come. If ever there was a truly unnerving cautionary tale, this is it.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Robert Narojek

    After reading Targeted, I have very, very mixed feelings. On the one hand, it is an interesting story about how the dream of every marketer can come true, i.e. micro targeting, expected in the branding world from at least 2009. It is a good book in that respect. On the other hand, while reading this book, I had an overwhelming impression that the author simply wanted to prove her ignorance, adolescent naivety at all costs, and at the same time that she remembers the times at Cambridge Analytica a After reading Targeted, I have very, very mixed feelings. On the one hand, it is an interesting story about how the dream of every marketer can come true, i.e. micro targeting, expected in the branding world from at least 2009. It is a good book in that respect. On the other hand, while reading this book, I had an overwhelming impression that the author simply wanted to prove her ignorance, adolescent naivety at all costs, and at the same time that she remembers the times at Cambridge Analytica as a beautiful period in her life. This impression did not leave me from the 10th page or so until the very end. At the same time, I am aware that a career and contacts at the highest levels of politics and the corporate world can blur the picture, but I was unable to believe her consistently suggested narrative about "a poor and ignorant girl” who will do anything for her family. Simply if someone gets at such a young age to the position she has achieved, certainly can not be unaware of the reality in which people of broadly understood power operate. So, in order to brighten my image of this person a bit, I also decided to watch a movie about her, i.e. Great Hack on Netflix. I wanted to see her expression during conversations, testimony with her whole body language, etc. All so that I could think that she is a truly contrite "prodigal daughter" who has indeed decided to return to the path of truth and honesty. Unfortunately, the whole film and its person in it confirm for me what I felt while reading it. In my opinion, she is a deeply calculating person who, in order to save her skin and contacts in the world, found a way to - create foundations and social movements. However, if a similar situation faced her, she would probably follow the road to Cambridge Analytca again. Such people always consider their personal actions only in terms of their personal gain and the constant pumping of their bloated ego.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Insiyah Rangwala

    This is my latest read - #Targeted by @own.your.data. An employee of #CambridgeAnalytica, she details her time working there and the different projects she had a hand in. But what I found most brilliant were her explanations of #Data and #DataMining. #Kaiser brilliantly explains the ways data can be used, and explains things as she saw them at the time, pulling off the rose-tinted glasses for the reader at the same time as she pulled them off herself. I'd definitely give this a read, not just be This is my latest read - #Targeted by @own.your.data. An employee of #CambridgeAnalytica, she details her time working there and the different projects she had a hand in. But what I found most brilliant were her explanations of #Data and #DataMining. #Kaiser brilliantly explains the ways data can be used, and explains things as she saw them at the time, pulling off the rose-tinted glasses for the reader at the same time as she pulled them off herself. I'd definitely give this a read, not just because of how data is changing the world, but also because of the inside look into one of the most powerful election communications company in the world, and the consequences of their pride and their belief in their own infallibility. One thing I didn't like about this book is how much Kaiser seems to draw a shade over her actions - readers are repeatedly told how she had no idea of what was really happening, how she was only given filtered information, how Alexander Nix (CEO of Cambridge Analytica) basically controlled her actions, etc., and basically how she joined the NRA 'for research', took a picture with Ted Cruz simply because, etc. I'm not saying that Kaiser is a bad person, but she seems to be filtering herself here. For a person who claims to be so morally strong, she seems to have a little trouble actually owning up to her actions, however misguided or uninformed she was. That said, I do also recognise that it's easy to criticize others when you're looking in from the outside, so at the end of the day, I'm going to just be glad that Kaiser took action and came clean about the dubious and morally reprehensible actions of Cambridge Analytica.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Gabriele Murotto

    Pivoting and fundamental book to start to understand the world of data. One of the first contribute to the public either clear and user friendly which also provides hints to how blockchain works and the possible application fields. It's also an overview how politic works nowadays, where candidates who boast out power and confidence are likely just glorified muppetts. I liked how the book switch on the light on how our data are used, in what consists the data market and how we are profiled. The au Pivoting and fundamental book to start to understand the world of data. One of the first contribute to the public either clear and user friendly which also provides hints to how blockchain works and the possible application fields. It's also an overview how politic works nowadays, where candidates who boast out power and confidence are likely just glorified muppetts. I liked how the book switch on the light on how our data are used, in what consists the data market and how we are profiled. The author put on the stage strategies and the science behind the architecture of social media, the not so hidden but blurred trap and tricks scattered around the feed we click, share, like, tweet. Although interesting my five stars are only because this book it's sharp starter tool in the understanding this new brave world of data. What I didn't like it's the continuous apology, in my opinion quite hypocrital. The author tries almost in every each page to persuade us of her innocence and good intentions. At this point this book comes to be gold for another reason. It's a picture of the main problem in USA and probably in the rest of the Western world. An educational flaw. Hyperspecialized people, with high education but without critic and abstract thinking. Bettany Keiser met a lot of hints of what was happening around her, some of them clear as the sun but she failed (I want to believe in her good faith) to link the point in a complete picture, where a person with a more critical approach (like the one philosophy teaches to us) would have noticed something was wrong. The problem above big data, data protection, social media and so on, is the training of high qualified goose.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Soleil

    Written by a former Cambridge Analytica employee, Targeted is a behind the scenes look at how our data is being used to manipulate elections, specifically the various campaigns that CA worked on, from Brexit to Trump to foreign elections in Nigeria and Indonesia and Mexico. The revelations are disturbing, the implications even more so. This book makes it abundantly clear that big tech companies such as Facebook are only paying lip service to data privacy. Money and growth are the priority, how t Written by a former Cambridge Analytica employee, Targeted is a behind the scenes look at how our data is being used to manipulate elections, specifically the various campaigns that CA worked on, from Brexit to Trump to foreign elections in Nigeria and Indonesia and Mexico. The revelations are disturbing, the implications even more so. This book makes it abundantly clear that big tech companies such as Facebook are only paying lip service to data privacy. Money and growth are the priority, how they get there matters little. I’ve not given much thought to my own data, where it’s being gathered, and how it’s being used until now. I suppose I thought it was all inevitable, and I had little agency. However, I’m rethinking this stance. I appreciate how Kaiser’s epilogue gives concrete, actionable items and makes the point that data breaches and manipulation don’t have to be inevitable, and we do in fact have agency. The time is now to own our data and hold companies accountable. The one thing that made this book less enjoyable for me was the author’s tone. She struggles to come to terms with her own complicity in the events and continually points to how she is a good person who was forced to do bad things. I do believe she is a good person; however, I would have preferred less handwringing over her choices throughout the book. It would have sufficed to state out the outset (as she did) how and why she got involved, and leave it at that. The constant shifting blame and willful ignorance became tiresome at times.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Frans

    Data ownership, abuse of data, privacy, fake news, data ethics: all very important topics. This book therefore is a must read, together with the book "Zucked" by Roger McNamee and the annual reports of Amy Webbs "Future Today Institute". This book describes in detail the dark side of data capture, profiling and creating fake news. And that this abuse of highly detailed customer data can lead to disruptive changes with a devastating global impact, such as Brexit and the selection of a narcisistic Data ownership, abuse of data, privacy, fake news, data ethics: all very important topics. This book therefore is a must read, together with the book "Zucked" by Roger McNamee and the annual reports of Amy Webbs "Future Today Institute". This book describes in detail the dark side of data capture, profiling and creating fake news. And that this abuse of highly detailed customer data can lead to disruptive changes with a devastating global impact, such as Brexit and the selection of a narcisistic real estate owner for the White House. That is be the devastatingly negative impact of big data manipulation. The route to make Black Mirror, tribalism and dystopia reality. That is the key takeaway of Brittany Kaisers book. I "read" the audio book, and hearing her telling her story herself made the impact even bigger. Another learning for me: when Ego and Money are leading, Ethics and Empathy are the loosers on every battlefield: also on the battlefield of Economics, Politics, Racism, tolerance, mutual respect and more. And when data are used in the shadows, the impact is even more devastating, as Brittany demonstrates. The only thing I find questionable is that she describes all of this as if it all happened to her and she was out of control. That is not very believable. In her defence: being a whistleblower on Cambridge Analytica, SCL and Alexander Nix and telling it all deserves respect.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Iuri

    If one must remain skeptical of self biographies, because every self narrative is a fiction to a lesser or extended degree, what does one make of a self biography of a PR who used psychops, behavioral data, and other methods of persuasion and propaganda, in order to target persuadable individuals into changing their political behavior, or even suppress their right to vote? The most interesting parts of the book are when the author describes the strategies and propaganda used in order to change po If one must remain skeptical of self biographies, because every self narrative is a fiction to a lesser or extended degree, what does one make of a self biography of a PR who used psychops, behavioral data, and other methods of persuasion and propaganda, in order to target persuadable individuals into changing their political behavior, or even suppress their right to vote? The most interesting parts of the book are when the author describes the strategies and propaganda used in order to change political and vote behavior. And one must admire the author’s willingness and courage to be a whistleblower. The least interesting, and the majority of the book, is when the author attempts to portray herself, to a certain extent, as a victim of Cambridge Analitica’s own propaganda and deceiving machine. The author appears to be persuading the reader on how her role at CA was much less important than the media portrayed her to be, as she was unaware of some of the work done in CA, and attempted to stand up for the voice of compassion, ethics, and liberalism, and only worked at CA because she needed the money for her parents whilst going against all of her moral and political beliefs. Perhaps I am being unfair and too skeptical of the author’s agenda for having written this book. But what do you expect? PR is her life and perhaps who she is.

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