During the 2016 election, I posted this missive on October 14, 2015 on how search engines could be used to influence election outcomes. This is well before the so-called Russian interference narrative that erupted in the last few weeks of the 2016 presidential election. Little did I realize that the world’s foremost search engine was going well beyond the mechanism that I described in my posting to influence America’s voting public into casting their ballot for Google’s preferred candidate, Hillary Clinton.
Thanks to leaked videos from Google as can be found here, we now have a very clear understanding of how Google’s key personnel voted in 2016, giving us a clear sense of how the go-to search engine was attempting to influence voting. We all should have seen this coming. In an email from John Podesta’s computer, WikiLeaks posted this exchange between Cheryl Mills, Deputy White House Counsellor for Bill Clinton and Counsellor and Chief of Staff for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Eric Schmidt, then Chairman of Google and the world’s 106th richest person with a net worth of $14.4 billion as shown here:
Here are some of the highlights:
1.) a campaign budget of $1.5 billion with more than 5000 paid employees.
2.) campaign headquarters for approximately 1000 young, hardworking and enthusiastic people in either Chicago or New York City. These people have to “be dying to work for you (Hillary)”.
3.) Employees will relocate to participate in the campaign and will find low-cost temporary housing or live with campaign supporters on a donated basis.
I found this suggestion particularly interesting given that Eric Schmidt has billions of dollars that he could have used to help house some of these employees and volunteers in housing that was more suitable.
4.) a single record for a voter was to be developed, primarily using smart phones to identify and speak with voters. It can also be used to update profiles on the voter and supply them with videos and answers to questions that they might have. To keep these records up-to-date, volunteers were to do “walk abouts” where they would encounter potential voters; by having smart phone data, the volunteer could update voter records in real time. Smart phones could also be used to raise funds and recruit additional volunteers.
5.) As part of “The Rules” and given that Google is a highly profitable company, Mr. Schmidt suggests that all players in the campaign work “at cost” and that auditing should ensure that “no one is profiting unfairly from the campaign”.
I particularly liked this paragraph and the use of the words “the right vote”:
“For each voter, a score is computed ranking probability of the right vote. Analytics can model demographics, social factors and many other attributes of the needed voters. Modeling will tell us what who we need to turn out and why, and studies of effectiveness will let us know what approaches work well. Machine intelligence across the data should identify the most important factors for turnout, and preference.” (my bold)
Basically, if you boil Eric Schmidt’s ideas for a Clinton campaign down to five words, this is what comes to mind:
“Big Brother is watching you”.
Given that smart phones were going to play such a key role in the 2016 election and that Google’s Android has a major share of smartphone operating systems in the United States as shown here:
…how can we be assured that Google wasn’t going to share user data with the Clinton campaign and the DNC to help them build their much needed voter database?
Unfortunately for Eric Schmidt, Google, John Podesta, Hillary Clinton and Cheryl Mills, someone managed to hack into John Podesta’s poorly protected computer and provide us with insight into how Google was using its corporate power to influence the election in Hillary Clinton’s favour. IN any case, it appears that there was quite a cast of characters that were attempting to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election in their favour.
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