The whistleblower, who claimed data consultancy Cambridge Analytica played a role in obtaining data from Facebook users, on Tuesday called for government regulation of social media and online advertising.
TheNewsGuru (TNG) reports Christopher Wylie, a former director of research at the now-defunct data consultancy firm, made the call at the Web Summit, Europe’s biggest tech gathering, in Lisbon.
In his address at the Web Summit, Wylie also called on data scientists to be subject to an ethical code just as doctors, nurses and teachers are.
“Why is it we can regulate nuclear power, but we can’t regulate code? Why is it that as data scientists, we don’t have to think of the ethical and moral implications of what we are doing?
“I think that is absurd. People now sleep with their phones more than they sleep with people. The need for regulation is more urgent given the rise in the number of people using social media,” Wylie said to applause from the audience.
Wylie earlier this year said data from millions of Facebook users, without their knowledge, was used by Cambridge Analytica to influence elections across the world, including 2015 elections in Nigeria, and to help elect US President Donald Trump – a claim denied by the company.
Some 70,000 people are expected to take part in the four-day Web Summit which got underway Monday, including speakers from leading global tech companies, politicians and start-ups hoping to attract investors.
Dubbed “the Davos for geeks”, the annual event was launched in Dublin in 2010 and moved to Lisbon six years later.