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Available Expert - Facebook data from 50 million users harvested by firm for targeted political messages

Monday, March 19, 2018

Queen's University security and surveillance expert David Murakami Wood is available to comment on the fallout following a whistleblower’s report that Cambridge Analytica – a firm owned by billionaire Robert Mercer and once run by former Trump advisory Steve Bannon – harvested personal data from 50 million Facebook users in order to target political messaging on the platform.

“This is not really just about Facebook,” says Dr. Murakami Wood. “In fact, in concentrating on Facebook, we are in danger of losing sight of the fact that our entire media-information-surveillance economy is based on this enormous grey area of the sharing of personal and aggregate data.”

“Thompson Reuters does analytics for ICE deportations, Google supplies expertise for drone assassinations, Facebook gives data to those with fascist inclinations,” he continues. “It's not about particulars but what links these situations.”

“The particularly ironic thing is that many of the outlets reporting on this story are part of media groups, like Thomson Reuters, whose major business is increasingly surveillance, data aggregation, analytics, and consulting, of which 'news' is just one part,” he says. “Not only that, these data companies are not just serving the private sector, but governments too.”

Dr. Murakami Wood is available from 1 p.m. EST onward.

To arrange an interview, please contact communications officer Dave Rideout (613.533.6000 ext. 79648, 613.453.5676, or dave.rideout@queensu.ca) or Anne Craig (613.533.2877 or anne.craig@queensu.ca) at Queen’s University News and Media Services Department in Kingston, ON, Canada.

Follow Queen’s News and Media Services on Twitter: http://twitter.com/QueensuMedia.

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