ARVADA, Colo. -- As British lawmakers continue to investigate Cambridge Analytica, more details have been revealed about the political consulting firm’s reach in the Denver metro area.
Personal information of people in Colorado has been secretly collected by the firm through Facebook. The practice allows political campaigns to manipulate voters with strategic messaging.
A Cambridge Analytica whistleblower told British lawmakers the data mining was used to benefit President Donald Trump’s campaign and helped lead United Kingdom to break away from the European Union.
Experts said these kinds of tactics are used across the board by Republicans and Democrats alike.
Debra Kooser of Arvada recently learned the political war room across the pond was snooping through her Facebook activity.
The data, shown to Kooser by British broadcaster Channel 4 News, built her suspected political ideology and a personality profile gathered by information harvested from Facebook.
“There was something about Iran’s nuclear threat and what I thought about it, and it was like, how would they even know,” Kooser said.
Kooser said the data were, overall, inaccurate. For others, the data painted a solid story.
“They have 5,000 data points on some 200 million individuals in the United States of America,” Channel 4 News journalist Ed Howker said.
Howker has been working for the past five months to uncover the mysterious world of online data harvesting.
He said Cambridge Analytica, working with political action groups, combine voters into groups to send specific messages via social media or through snail mail.
“Our experience in Denver was that more work needs to be done because some of this data is potentially still in the wild … and that’s how we got ahold of it,” Howker said.
Research shows Colorado, a swing state, has been a target for at least several years. Facebook said it is taking action to protect people’s privacy.