Letters to the Editor

Voter manipulation

The company Cambridge Analytica combined data mining with data analysis, including detailed personality analysis. They have taken information gleaned from the internet — Facebook “likes,“ purchases, sites visited, your political persuasion from groups you’ve joined and other factors — to actually specify your exact personality type, your preferences and the means to be used to effectively persuade you to vote in a certain manner.

They will tell you whatever it takes in order to get you to vote, or not vote. You’re no longer a citizen but a target to be manipulated to other people’s ends. They claim to have collected up to 5,000 data points on every individual in the U.S., so they often know you better than you know yourself.

Psychographic analysis allows micro-targeting of individuals, often using social media. The parent group is the SCL company — “a global election management agency.” This is propaganda down to the individual voter, and it has already been used by the people who started Brexit, and by Donald Trump to corrupt the system, and it violated rights to privacy, and yes, there’s an app for that. You know of these unexpected outcomes.

Once committed to a candidate, most people will stick with that candidate; no matter what they say, it’s an ego thing. It is one more knife in the back of democracy, along with door-to-door specific gerrymandering to help Republicans dominate a Democratic majority state. In a world in climate-change crisis, greed still dominates.

Doug Keith, State College

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