A major emergence from the shakeup of the recent 2016 presidential election in the United States is a new form of political warfare which is enhancing already available tactics utilized in more elementary forms than previously implemented. Given the context of usage related to data analytics and privacy, interestingly enough the election of President Trump was an easily predicted occurrence by some with knowledge and lived experiences of rural America. Wikileaks subsequent leaks of Hillary Clinton’s email shows the extent to which Eric Schmidt of Google, and the extent of which Google’s parent company Alphabet advised the campaign. It may be stated the obvious lack of relevance Silicon Valley would have to rural America was the vital component which allowed the Trump campaign team to capitalize through methods which have also subsequently come to light in the Cambridge Analytica scandal. It should be noticed of anyone spending time in rural America many areas internet dependence is not as widespread or utilized as in more metropolitan areas. This in and of itself would add gaping holes to any of the data Google might have been accumulating or utilizing during the campaign strategy. As data is utilized in campaign targeting the very nature of Google and the Clinton campaign not understanding the culture nor technology usage of rural America would provide gaping holes in their combined campaign strategy. Additionally it should be noted much of rural America’s economy is vastly different than the few cities in the United States where technology has been the prior trend of the economic growth focus. Simply stated the analytic tools utilized by the Trump campaign team may have been much more effective at the disposal of an team with an greater understanding of rural America, and how to utilize such metrics. In retrospect it may be stated this was an obvious oversight in light of fact Cambridge Analytica was founded by conservative businessmen Steve Bannon and Robert Mercer.
The previously mentioned utilized tools in the wake of the election has now brought technology companies to the forefront of many politicians attention, in what appears to be one of the few bipartisan issues of privacy concerns. It can not be understated the extent to which the leaks of Clinton’s emails effected her campaign, and has brought the nature of cyber security to the forefront as well in consideration of the extent to which it raises an major national security concern. America’s legislators are now rushing to pass meaningful legislation with the realization of our digital age. The United States security laws related to areas such as cyber are at best in their infancy stage as it has taken years for the individual who initiated DDoS attacks against multiple companies in 2013-14 to be handed a sentence July 2, 2019 of two years in prison for charges of “Damage to a Protected Computer”.
Given the emergence of new technologies it cannot be understated the extent to which data will be utilized in the future political campaign battlegrounds, not to mention the huge implications to national security in the event enemy nations would gain leverage over elected officials through nefarious technological means. Artificial Intelligence is nearing an level claiming some to say, it will render democracy almost irrelevant, as elections become increasingly more dependent upon algorithms and data extraction. Once such method is the use of bots in strategic campaign targeting. To simply state in general terms an infinite amount of autonomously run social media accounts, bots, could target swing voters, based upon their information consumption online, in addition to sending potential voters reminders to go out and vote. Given the amount of disinformation which could be spread online through targeted efforts, this creates an chaotic nightmare for the average voter to disseminate and identify the correct information they are receiving, in order to make an informed vote. While disinformation has always played it’s hand in politics, artificial intelligence is escalating this tactic to an level unforeseen, and it’s impact to government unknown. Another concern could be the manipulation of government elected officials themselves as highly complex algorithms could be utilized to monitor trending proposed legislation, data analytics run on former legislators voting records, with predictive analytics run to predict how individual officials could vote with and target strategy geared towards those less likely to vote on proposed legislation.
As analyzed throughout the former 2016 presidential elections the technological advantage will be an critical tool utilized in elections to follow. While it is certain legislators are increasingly becoming aware of the technological age we have arrived to, it of paramount importance in the interest of national security we only continue to move in an direction of increased awareness. In light of advances it can be certain during the 2020 presidential elections deployment of analytic tools will be an ever increasing component both in disinformation, as well as strategic targeting. With the expanse into Natural Language Processing continuing to evolve it will be much less time consuming in monitoring trending legislation, which in term may be utilized in targeting government elected officials with an information onslaught which may skew officials views of pending legislation. Given the national security risk it is tantamount the United States maintain an leading edge in cyber security measures.