David Carroll is a central figure in Netflix’s Cambridge Analytica documentary, The Great Hack, along with Brittany Kaiser and others who have been involved in the Cambridge Analytica showdown. Carroll is a professor who made it his goal to get his data back from Cambridge Analytica and learn just what they had on him (and others around the world.) Sadly, his goal was not realized, but he helped reveal the truth about the company. Here is what you need to know about Carroll.
1. David Carroll is an Associate Professor at Parsons School for Design
Carroll is an associate professor at Parsons School for Design in New York, teaching media design. According to his bio, he’s currently teaching classes like Dark Data, Major Studio 2, and independent study courses.
In the documentary, Carroll told his students that ads aren’t listening to us, like we suspect, but they’re predicting our actions based on data acquisition. He said that when he saw how fear was growing in society, he became obsessed with finding answers about who was feeding us that fear online.
2. He Requested His Data Profile from Cambridge Analytica in 2017 & Was Refused
In 2017, he requested his data profile from Cambridge Analytica through a Subject Access Request, he told The Outline. He said that Julian Wheatland, the COO, signing his data protection disclosure letter caught his eye and made him suspicious. “I had been very suspicious of the company as a kind of psyops contractor/dark arts Black Ops unit,” he said. At the time, Wheatland was chair of SCL, not Cambridge Analytica.
The original data he was given had his name, ZIP code, age, and party affiliation – very public information. But he knew they had more than that and weren’t revealing it all.
June 4, 2018 was the deadline for Cambridge Analytica to comply with releasing Carroll’s data. Rather than release it, they took on criminal charges and pleaded guilty for not turning over the data. On that day Carroll said: “They are not respecting the law… Now that this is becoming a criminal matter, we are now in uncharted waters. I will continue to pursue it because their model has the chance to affect the population.”
Cambridge Analytica’s parent company, SCL Elections, was fined £15,000 after pleading guilty for not complying.
Crowe UK, SCL Elections’ adminstrators, said in a statement after the fine: “At Hendon magistrates court today the administrators, as agents of SCL Elections Limited, represented the company in an action brought by the ICO against the company in connection with its failure to comply with a section 40 enforcement notice. The company pleaded guilty to the failure to comply with the enforcement notice whilst raising mitigating circumstances. The administrators confirmed that there are ongoing investigative matters, and have and will continue to fully co-operate with the ICO regarding the company.”
3. He Lost a Case in April to Stop Cambridge Analytica’s Liquidation
In April, a judge ruled against Carroll in a Cambridge Analytica case. Carroll wrote: “I’m deeply disappointed to share this news with you. The judge ruled against me. I’m so sorry to say this but it looks like Cambridge Analytica got away with it. They’ll now be liquidated despite @ICOnews describing mass data abuse in US elections in report to @CommonsCMS.”
You can read the ruling here.
Cambridge Analytica will be liquidated, which hurt the people who wanted the company to stay around long enough for a full investigation, The Daily Beast explained. Carroll and his team argued that CA’s administrators wanted liquidation to avoid a full investigation, but the court ruled against them.
When people asked about an appeal, he said it would require generous donations.
4. Carroll Is Married & Has a Daughter He Loves Dearly
Carroll doesn’t speak too much on Twitter about his family, but on occasion, he does mention them. In 2009 he wrote about how tough it was to leave his wife and daughter when he went on a trip: “all choked up saying goodbye to wife and daughter; on the other side of the world for two weeks.”
He wrote once about feeling bad that he didn’t get his wife a birthday present. And in 2008, he mentioned that his wife was pregnant and out shopping for maternity clothes with his mom.
In 2018, he said that he finally let his nine-year-old daughter read her first Twitter thread.
He also talked about how he had to block YouTube on her iPad despite her tears. It was a difficult decision, he said, but it’s inherently unsafe without parental supervision.
5. Carroll Liked Hillary Clinton & Is Not a Fan of Trump
If you’re interested in knowing more about Carroll’s political beliefs, he was a big fan of Hillary Clinton, once tweeting the hashtag #ImWithHer. And he’s a big critic of President Donald Trump online. In fact, he once wrote that any criticism of her was “sexist crap.”
He also noted that the idea of having protest votes was a fantasy they couldn’t afford.
He tweeted again, noting that they couldn’t afford a single protest vote in the election in 2016.
Today, Carroll is vocal about his dislike for Trump and mentioned that Trump’s campaign has been successful in using Facebook microtargeting, referring to it as “optimized lies and deception.”
READ NEXT: Brittany Kaiser: Where Is She Now?