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Statement on politics

Psychometrics Centre statement on political use of psychographics

Due to the controversy regarding the alleged use of psychographics, micro-targeting and fake news networks by political campaigns in the USA and Europe, the following clarification is issued on behalf of all current staff, students and members of the University of Cambridge Psychometrics Centre:

The University of Cambridge Psychometrics Centre has never worked with or in any way collaborated with SCL Elections Ltd. or any of its subsidiaries, including Cambridge Analytica. We have had no involvement of any kind with the Cruz or Trump campaigns, Leave.EU nor any other political campaigns of any kind anywhere in the world. Furthermore, no political organisations have ever been given permission to view, commercialise or otherwise use any data collected by the myPersonality project, which ran on Facebook between 2007 and 2012.

The Psychometrics Centre makes available its own suite of psychological prediction tools via Apply Magic Sauce API. As our mission states, we strive to positively address issues of privacy, ethics and diversity in our field in order to protect human rights and advance the cause of fairness and equality in society. Organisations who access this technology are therefore subject to strict legal and ethical provisions, which are supported by adherence to the following principles:

  1. Control: Nobody should have predictions made about them without their prior informed consent
  2. Transparency: The results of any predictions should be shared with individuals in a clear and understandable format
  3. Benefit: Predictions should be used to improve services and provide a clear benefit to users
  4. Relevance: It should be clear why the data requested is relevant to the prediction being made

To honour these commitments, we also maintain a comprehensive list of organisations who use Apply Magic Sauce API, lest there be any doubt regarding our affiliations. Through this and other initiatives, the Psychometrics Centre will continue to campaign for greater transparency on the part of business, governments and academia regarding how personal data is collected and used. Its members have contributed to the wider debate by publishing academic papers, writing news articles and speaking at international conferences.