Mindf*ck: Cambridge Analytica and the Plot to Break America

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Random House Publishing Group, Oct 8, 2019 - Political Science - 288 pages
For the first time, the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower tells the inside story of the data mining and psychological manipulation behind the election of Donald Trump and the Brexit referendum, connecting Facebook, WikiLeaks, Russian intelligence, and international hackers.

Mindf*ckádemonstrates how digital influence operations, when they converged with the nasty business of politics, managed to hollow out democracies.”—The Washington Post

Mindf*ck goes deep inside Cambridge Analytica’s “American operations,” which were driven by Steve Bannon’s vision to remake America and fueled by mysterious billionaire Robert Mercer’s money, as it weaponized and wielded the massive store of data it had harvested on individuals—in excess of 87 million—to disunite the United States and set Americans against each other. Bannon had long sensed that deep within America’s soul lurked an explosive tension. Cambridge Analytica had the data to prove it, and in 2016 Bannon had a presidential campaign to use as his proving ground.

Christopher Wylie might have seemed an unlikely figure to be at the center of such an operation. Canadian and liberal in his politics, he was only twenty-four when he got a job with a London firm that worked with the U.K. Ministry of Defense and was charged putatively with helping to build a team of data scientists to create new tools to identify and combat radical extremism online. In short order, those same military tools were turned to political purposes, and Cambridge Analytica was born.

Wylie’s decision to become a whistleblower prompted the largest data-crime investigation in history. His story is both exposÚ and dire warning about a sudden problem born of very new and powerful capabilities. It has not only laid bare the profound vulnerabilities—and profound carelessness—in the enormous companies that drive the attention economy, it has also exposed the profound vulnerabilities of democracy itself. What happened in 2016 was just a trial run. Ruthless actors are coming for your data, and they want to control what you think.
 

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User Review  - bfister - LibraryThing

Fascinating and compelling narrative about a data scientist/political worker who was one of the brains behind Cambridge Analytica and its data-sweeping efforts to map and influence every American and ... Read full review

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User Review  - froxgirl - LibraryThing

Author and whistleblower Wylie makes the recent CIA-Ukrainian guy look like small potatoes. His Canadian origin story is grounded in starting out as an outsider, gay and having physical limitations ... Read full review

Contents

chapter r GENESIs
20
WE FIGHT TERROR in PRADA
38
STEVE FROM AMERICA
58
cAMBRIDGE ANALY Tica
75
TR0 JAN HORSEs
95
THE DARK TRIAD
112
From Russia witH Likes
133
crimes AGAINst democracy
155
THE APPRENTice
174
coming out
191
REVELATIONS
221
Copyright

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About the author (2019)

Christopher Wylie has been called “the millennials’ first great whistleblower” and “a pink-haired, nose-ringed oracle sent from the future.” He is known for his role in setting up—and then taking down—Cambridge Analytica. His revelations exposing the rampant misuse of data rocked Silicon Valley and led to some of the largest multinational investigations into data crime ever. Born in British Columbia, Canada, he studied law at the London School of Economics before moving into cultural data science and fashion trend forecasting. He lives in London, England.

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