Earlier this year news broke that Cambridge Analytica, a data-mining firm with links to the Brexit referendum and the Trump presidential campaigns, accessed the profiles of almost 100 million Facebook users to influence the outcome of the US election. In the ensuing investigation, it was reported that psychometric analysis used by firms like Cambridge Analytica can correctly predict skin colour (with 95-percent accuracy), sexual orientation (88-percent accuracy), and political affiliation (85 percent accuracy) on the basis of as little as 68 Facebook likes. The more data available, the more a subject is ‘known’, allowing fine targeting of political messaging designed to exploit psychological vulnerabilities.
In an environment where everything we do leaves digital traces – every purchase, every Google search, every movement we make when our mobile phone is in our pocket, every ‘like’ – policy makers are now asking whether we have a right to psychological privacy. A right not to be known by our digital data – or at least to choose who knows us and how they can use that knowledge.
This issue raises questions about whether the threat posed by psychometric analysis of big data poses any new or special risks, and if so, the nature of those risks and what we might do to protect them, without sacrificing the benefits of being known. This panel of experts will discuss this question and some options for the future of data privacy in Australia.
This event was held on Tuesday 21 August at University of Sydney. There is no podcast for this event.
Thursday 6 September
An esteemed panel will discuss how the testimony of Holocaust survivors is used today and the problems, questions and opportunities it presents to people grappling with the legacy of the Holocaust.
Monday 10 September
For the 2018 J.M. Ward Memorial Lecture, Professor Bill Schwarz will discuss the fallout from Brexit and the evolution of a new English nation.
Tuesday 23 October
Professor Marcella Frangipane shares important new insights into the birth of early state societies in the greater Mesopotamian world.