Our Data Our Selves. Tactical Tech Research
Tactical Tech is a Berlin-based non-profit organisation working at the intersection of technology, human rights and civil liberties. We provide trainings, conduct research and create cultural interventions that contribute to the wider socio-political debate around digital security, privacy and the ethics of data. Our work has gone through a number of phases since the organisation was founded in 2003, but the core principle hasn't changed: we investigate the ways in which digital technologies change society and impact individual autonomy and agency, using our findings to drive practical solutions for an international audience of civil society actors and engaged citizens.
Our Data Our Selves looks at the use of personal data within informal and formal political processes. The overall project explores how in a digital society, personal data becomes an asset that can be used by different stakeholders to exert control and influence over citizens and civil society. In three interlinked sub-projects, we investigate and address the mechanics, the actors and the strategies behind the mass collection and use of personal data worldwide and the political and social impact it has on our societies.
In Data and Politics, we focus on how on data is used by political stakeholders in campaigns to attain or hold political power. In Data and Activism we explore how the mass collection of personal data further impacts pressures and trends relating to the shrinking space for civil society, and in Data and You we investigate how data is collected on citizens to further entrench inequities such as marginalisation and discrimination.
The scandal surrounding Cambridge Analytica that broke on 17 March 2018 was a watershed moment. For many voters, it created a unique insight into how their data was being traded and utilised to target them for political influence: voters realised the effects the technologies were having on them. Despite widespread global attention, there is still very little known about the techniques that are applied to sway citizens’ political views by leveraging the data they give away. While much of the media coverage focused on Cambridge Analytica’s use of psychometric profiling, this was not the only technique they used; in fact, there were many. Furthermore, as their staff took the stand in a series of enquiries by the UK parliament, they pointed out that these methods were fairly commonplace within a vast industry of influence.
Beyond 2018, understanding this industry and how it works is essential for deciding how the industry should be regulated and learning how effective its techniques really are. The Data and Politics team at Tactical Tech has spent twelve months investigating these technologies and methods, which are used by political campaigns for influencing the civil society.
Want to know more?
Personal Data: Political Persuasion
Inside the Influence Industry. How it works.
The immersive environments of Collaboration Contamination interweave analog and digital seeing, hearing and feeling with the perception of simultaneity and latency and with the volatility of information - contact zones arise.
To the project --> ITERATIONS