One of the world’s biggest news stories right now has a surprisingly local angle.
Chris Wylie, who is at the centre of Cambridge Analytica’s Facebook data-mining scandal, was once just a “brilliant” kid in Victoria.
Now, after blowing the whistle on a story that involves the Trump campaign, Brexit, and the dark side of social media, Wylie has quickly become a familiar face across the world’s news networks.
Check out this video from Channel 4 to learn more about the scandal
Cambridge Analytica, which has close ties to Steve Bannon and GOP megadonor Robert Mercer, allegedly improperly procured data from 50 million Facebook profiles, which it then used to influence voters.
But before all the international headlines, (according to the Times Colonist) Wylie was an honour roll student and scholarship winner at Glenlyon Norfolk School, as well as a member of the City of Victoria Youth Council
In a moment of foreshadowing, Wylie was also involved in a survey distributed by the Youth Council which attempted to find out how young locals felt about their home city.
“If we can create a survey, we can at least get a sample of what young people think,” said Wylie in a 2005 Times Colonist interview.
Ethics and Legality Called Into Question
Valerie Chatterton, Wylie’s former debating coach, told the Times Colonist that Wylie had a reputation for being brilliant and also had a keen interest in ethics.
Wylie’s ethics, though questionable during the last few years while the Facebook data-mining was happening, appear to have spurred him to speak out.
As a result, Facebook has seen a swift backlash, with calls to delete accounts and for Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s Chief Executive, to appear before the UK parliament and the US Senate Judiciary Committee.
The implications for the Trump Campaign, which hired Cambridge Analytica in 2016, could also be groundbreaking. The company has reportedly been under scrutiny as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election.