Professor David Carroll tells the tale of how he sued UK-based Cambridge Analytica in an effort to obtain his personal data. Carroll’s quest to repatriate his data was the subject of the 2019 Netflix original documentary film, “The Great Hack”; the film tells the story of how data rights and democracy are interlinked, and has reached millions around the world.

This talk was delivered in Washington, D.C. in March 2019; two weeks later the judge ruled against Carroll, clearing the way for Cambridge Analytica and the SCL Group to be liquidated with the outstanding data rights issues unresolved by the courts. Unable to establish the precedent of data creditorship, this revealed how insolvency and bankruptcy laws need reforming in the age of big data.

The effort was not in vain, as the process revealed the inner workings of the most controversial election management company in history. The UK Information Commissioner’s Office will release their final report on the forensic investigation of the servers seized under criminal warrant. It still remains possible that Prof Carroll could get his data back from results of their investigation.
An associate professor of media design at Parsons School of Design, David Carroll is known for challenging Cambridge Analytica in the UK in a quest to recover voter data profiles from the 2016 election. Before that, he served as director of the MFA Design and Technology graduate program at Parsons and then took a shot at being a media tech entrepreneur after working for media clients in digital marketing since the dawn of the commercial internet. He has written about his data quest for Wired, Motherboard, and Boston Review and is working on a book. His research, scholarship, creative practice, and collaborations have been funded by the US government and private foundations.