Wylie also made a claim about Steve Bannon the former top political advisor for President Donald Trump and SCL, Cambridge Analytica’s parent company.
“Mr. Bannon sees cultural warfare as the means to create enduring change in American politics,” Wylie said. “It was for this reason Mr. Bannon engaged SCL, a foreign military contractor, to build an arsenal of informational weapons he could deploy on the American population.”
Wylie presented several accusations but did not have tangible evidence of U.S. voter operations that had intentions to discourage certain voters. He himself also did not participate in any scandalous activities. Though Wylie was under oath, sworn to honesty.
Democratic Delaware Senator Chris Coons questioned if one of Bannon’s objectives was to “suppress voting or discourage certain individuals in the US from voting.” Wylie replied, “That was my understanding, yes.”
During the hearing, Wylie also admitted there is a possibility that private Facebook data for American voters was obtained by Russia. A Cambridge University professor, Aleksandr Kogan gathered information on 30 million Americans using his Facebook personality test app in 2014 and made multiple trips to Russia due to a collaboration with St. Petersburg University.
All this data was also given to Cambridge Analytica. Wylie believed that Kogan’s computer could have been hacked during his visits to Russia.
Wylie’s fears might be misinformed though. CNN contacted Kogan and he responded that Wylie is confusing fantasy for probability and stated that he never traveled to Russia while working for Cambridge Analytica for 2014.
“Mr. Wylie has proven once again that he has a very active imagination without actual knowledge to back it up,” Kogan said. “As with his claims about the usefulness of the data, his claims here also quickly fall apart under any sensible scrutiny.”
After the testimony, Wylie also mentioned that one group specifically targeted by Cambridge Analytica’s strategies was African Americans, according to CNN.
Meanwhile, Cambridge Analytica announced in early May that it would be shutting down and would soon announce bankruptcy proceedings. The New York Times reported on Tuesday that Cambridge Analytica was under investigation by both the FBI and the Department of Justice. Whatever this company has been doing, it hasn’t been sustainable.
This scandal has also put Facebook in a negative spotlight. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg gave a testimony for committees in both Congress houses last month, explaining how his company uses its user data and allows other companies access to this information.
It seems privacy is a concept that is nearly extinct during this modern age. Surely certain information can be used to help people but this information can also be used against people. This is bad but it’s even worse when you don’t know your information is being used as a weapon against you.
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