Elections and Voter Data: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Friday, May 6, 2016 - 2:25 pm to 2:55 pm

Government elections are fundamentally measurement activities; their goal is to determine the sentiment of an entire population of eligible voters — a sample is not good enough! — and shape representative democracies based on those outcomes. Over the past decade, there has been an increasing tendency of campaigns to leverage voter data in order to affect elections and policy outcomes. From the sophisticated data operations behind the "Cruz Crew" app based on psychological operations (PsyOps) expertise of the British military to increasing voter privacy intrusions and massive unchecked data breaches of voter data, elections are different than otherdata-rich analytical arenas. Join former Amazon Chief Scientist Adreas Weigend and Chief Technologist of the Center for Democracy & Technology Joseph Lorenzo Hall in a conversation around data and elections.

Chief Technologist
Center for Democracy & Technology

Joseph Lorenzo Hall is the chief technologist and director of the internet architecture project at the Center for Democracy & Technology, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring the internet remains open, innovative and free.

Hall’s work at the CDT focuses on the intersection of technology, law, and policy, working to ensure that technical considerations are appropriately embedded into legal and policy instruments. Prior to joining CDT in 2012, Hall was a postdoctoral research fellow with Helen Nissenbaum at New York University, Ed Felten at Princeton University and Deirdre Mulligan at University of California, Berkeley. Hall received his Ph.D. in information systems from the UC Berkeley School of Information in 2008.

He has served as an expert on independent teams invited by the States of California, Ohio and Maryland to analyze legal, privacy, security, usability and economic aspects of voting systems. Hall is the Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of the California Voter Foundation, a member of the Board of Directors of the Verified Voting Foundation and a member of the Federal Communications Commission’s Computer Security, Reliability, and Interoperability Council (CSRIC) IV. In 2012, Hall received the John Gideon Memorial Award from the Election Verification Network for contributions to election verification.

Social Data Lab

Dr. Andreas Weigend is interested in the impact of data on individuals, business, and society. As the Chief Scientist of Amazon.com, he helped build the customer-centric culture central to Amazon’s success. He now directs the Social Data Lab, and currently teaches at Stanford and UC Berkeley.

Andreas works with innovative startups and global companies alike, helping them ask the right questions, define relevant metrics, and understand their customers based on their data. His clients include Alibaba, AT&T, BMW, DBS, Founders Fund, GE, Lufthansa, MasterCard, IBM, SingTel, Tencent, Thomson Reuters, Walmart and the World Economic Forum.

Andreas studied physics, and philosophy in Karlsruhe, Bonn, and Cambridge (UK). He received his Ph.D. from Stanford for his work on neural networks and was a post-doc at Xerox PARC. His career as a data scientist combined with his industry and startup experience allows him to successfully bridge the gap between academia and industry. He is currently writing the a book about the new data refineries and transparency, Data for the People (to be published by Basic Books, Fall 2016), putting forth a digital bill of rights for a world where everything is recorded.