Facebook a bigger threat than Cambridge Analytica

  #CambridgeAnalytica INVESTIGATION

Robert Mercer is the one we should be talking about and who the Media should be talking about. Robert Mercer, Mark Zuckerberg and

@AP reported 180-page legal complaint filed by non-partisan Campaign Legal Center.

It claims Cambridge Analytica facilitated illegal co-ordination between Trump & PACs.

Cambridge Analytica Documents Show Unlawful Support for Trump in 2016

https://www.netflix.com/Title/80117542

& there’s this: Bannon was in Kenya & met with Kenyatta to “seek advice” on running his political campaign for president of Kenya.

nation.africa/kenya/news/pol

IN BLACK AND WHITE

For the Americans: Cambridge Analytica started working for Trump in Sept, 2015 This contract dates from 11 months before it was announced that Cambridge Analytica was working for the Trump campaign. And overlaps with period when Cambridge Analytica was working for Ted Cruz.

Coordinated Communications is Illegal

New emails and documents out today further demonstrate how Cambridge Analytica was used to unlawfully influence U.S. politics.
https://apnews.com/article/election-2020-donald-trump-political-action-committees-elections-campaigns-42a5705b23bbbc780083f57b071bbcb0

New documents from a former Cambridge Analytica insider reveal what an election watchdog group claims was illegal coordination between Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and a billionaire-funded pro-Trump super PAC.

The legal complaint touches on some of the same people involved in today’s hotly contested presidential race and provides a detailed account alleging that Trump’s last campaign worked around election rules to coordinate behind the scenes with the political action committee.

The now-defunct British data analytics firm violated election law by ignoring its own written firewall policy, blurring the lines between work created for Trump’s 2016 campaign and the Make America Number 1 super PAC, according to an updated complaint the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center filed Friday with the Federal Election Commission.

The complaint also alleges that Cambridge Analytica — which improperly acquired and used 87 million Facebook users’ profiles to predict their behavior — had a shared project calendar for both entities, among other evidence.

“The idea that this spending was at all independent is farcical and these emails underscore that,” said Brendan Fischer, an attorney for the government oversight group, whose new filing supplements a complaint filed four years ago. “Cambridge Analytica not only misused people’s personal data, but it was a conduit for the wealthy family that owned it to unlawfully support the Trump campaign in 2016.”

The super PAC created a plethora of “crooked Hillary” memes that circulated widely on social media, and was financed largely by conservative billionaire Robert Mercer, who also founded, owned and managed Cambridge Analytica. Kellyanne Conway led an earlier incarnation of the PAC when it supported Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz before she resigned to advise Trump’s 2016 campaign.

Under federal law, a super PAC may raise and spend unlimited amounts of money, including from corporations and unions, to support candidates for federal office — but it’s illegal for them to coordinate with political campaigns.

The complaint alleges that Cambridge Analytica used information it gained from working with Trump’s campaign to develop and target ads for the super PAC supporting his candidacy, “constituting unreported in-kind contributions to Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. in the form of coordinated communications.”

The cache of previously unreleased emails, presentations and slide decks was provided exclusively to The Associated Press by Cambridge Analytica’s first business development director, Brittany Kaiser. Last year, Kaiser published a book and starred in a film advocating for data security and regulation of social media.

The documents offer a rare window into how Cambridge collected vast troves of data about likely voters.

“Cambridge Analytica’s strategy with every new client they had was that the database grew smarter, because it would have more data from the campaigns they ran,” Kaiser said. “They would erase the data, but they would keep all the learning they derived off the back of it to target people more precisely.”

Since resigning from the data-mining firm and taking her computer with her, Kaiser has met with former special counsel Robert Mueller’s office and an associate of Julian Assange. Kaiser has also founded a nonprofit group for children’s digital education and is managing the presidential campaign of independent candidate Brock Pierce, a former child actor and cryptocurrency entrepreneur.

Some officials, like Conway and former Cambridge vice president Bannon, went on to play senior roles in the administration. Other people whose names appear in the emails have worked for organizations supporting Trump’s reelection bid.

They include Matt Oczkowski, Cambridge’s ex-head of product whose company HuMn Behavior has been paid at least $180,000 by the Trump 2020 campaign, and Brad Parscale, the 2016 campaign’s digital director who until July managed Trump’s reelection campaign.

 

And look who’s the man at the centre of it all: Cambridge Analytica’s final CEO, Julian Wheatland. It’s his private company Hatton International that’s the lynchpin here – the prime contractor.

Behind Cambridge Analytica lay a bigger threat to our democracy: Facebook
Jennifer Cobbe

The company denied it used the data in Trump’s 2016 campaign, an assertion which ex-employees have disputed, although Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said the data could have been used in Russian propaganda efforts.

Mercer first supported a Conway-led super PAC backing Cruz for president. When Cruz dropped out, the Mercers threw their support to Trump and the political action committee became Make America Number 1.

Oczkowski, who Kaiser said she trained, joined Cambridge’s parent company in late 2015, according to the documents.

In one email, Oczkowski briefed colleagues on his efforts to win business from the National Rifle Association to work on its ‘Trigger the Vote’ campaign with Washington-based PR firm The Herald Group.

Documents show projects related to “Trigger The Vote” appear to have netted Cambridge work valued at $855,000 by early 2017.

 

BIG TECH FACEBOOK BIGGER THREAT TO DEMOCRACY THAN CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/commentisfree/2020/oct/15/cambridge-analytica-threat-democracy-facebook-big-tech

More needs to be done to clamp down on big tech’s nefarious methods of influencing our politics and culture

Fri 16 Oct 2020

‘Facebook has belatedly followed Twitter to announce that, in the US, political advertising will be banned on its platform (albeit after the upcoming presidential elections), but these should not be their decisions.’

The scholar Evgeny Morozov writes about “technological solutionism”, where problems with complex socioeconomic origins are claimed to have simple technological solutions. We saw a kind of inversion of this after 2016: problems with complex socioeconomic origins were claimed to have simple technological causes. This requires magical thinking about new technologies’ capabilities, and too many bought Cambridge Analytica’s snake oil, as if one shady company could bend the electorate to its will with its spooky tech tools.

In fact, what Cambridge Analytica did in the US has been part of political campaigning across parties and around the world for years.

There are legal and ethical concerns about how micro-targeting is used across the political spectrum. Since they potentially allow campaigns to slice and dice the electorate, dividing voters into small groups, and are usually transient and fleeting, micro-targeted adverts can also be difficult to scrutinize. Particularly troubling is the prospect of campaigns using these tactics to suppress turnout among supporters of other candidates. Indeed, that was part of Trump’s digital strategy in 2016. Anyone who values healthy democracy should find this concerning.

But Cambridge Analytica played only a small role in Trump’s campaign. In fact, you don’t need Cambridge Analytica to do anything at all – Facebook gives you all the tools itself.

Facebook talks a lot about bad actors misusing its platform, but the biggest bad actor on Facebook is Facebook. Among many other criticisms, its advertising tools have been found to help target antisemites, discriminate against minority groups, and spread disinformation. Although it has tinkered around the edges, Facebook has done little to seriously address these or other problems at their source.

Facebook addresses symptoms rather than causes because its problems are in its DNA, central to how it makes its money. Its business model involves analysing data about everything its users do and using the insights gained to allow advertisers to target them. But Facebook is not the only company that does this. Surveillance capitalism, as it’s known, is the dominant way of making money from the internet. As a result, the web is now a global surveillance machine, fuelled by industrial-scale abuse of personal data.

These companies have voracious appetites for expansion in search of data to analyse and users to target. They have strategically positioned themselves in the centre of society, mediating our increasingly online reality. Their algorithms – far from being neutral tools, as they claim – are primed to keep users engaged with their platforms, regardless of how corrosive the content for doing that might be. As a result, some platforms’ algorithms systematically recommend disinformation, conspiracy theories white supremacism, and neo-Nazism, and are ripe for manipulation.

This raises questions that need answers – about the role of increasingly powerful tech giants in our society, about their surveillance and attention business models, and about the many opportunities for abuse. Although Cambridge Analytica was overblown, there are real problems with the power that Facebook and other platform companies hold over our democracy and in our society. Facebook has belatedly followed Twitter to announce that, in the US, political advertising will be banned on its platform (albeit after the upcoming presidential elections), but these should not be their decisions. Private companies prioritising profit shouldn’t be left to regulate our political processes.

Yes, these are private businesses, but they now play fundamental roles in our digital society. Interventions are needed to protect the common good. We need to address the surveillance business models, the widespread privacy violations, and – most of all – the power of platform companies. At a minimum, behavioural advertising should be banned; other, less damaging forms of advertising are available. The algorithms platforms use to recommend content should be heavily regulated.

Responses from competition law, data protection law, and other areas are also sorely needed to curb the power of platform companies. More ambitiously, a wholesale restructuring of the platform ecosystem may be required.

With the Covid-19 pandemic forcing much of daily life online, these questions are more urgent than ever.

Dr Jennifer Cobbe is a researcher and member of Cambridge University’s Trust & Technology Initiative

 

Cambridge Analytica final report some interesting findings

FINAL REPORT

The investigative long tail of the Cambridge Analytica scandal is slowly coming to its end. The British data rights regulator, the @ICOnews, has released its final report. Some interesting findings:

Annex 1 provides the Committee with detailed answers to the specific questions asked by the Committee. Annex 2 provides a deep dive into how SCL Elections / Cambridge Analytica used the personal data it held, whether these methods could be used in the future, and the associated risks to citizens.

…. concluded that SCL/CA were purchasing significant volumes of commercially available personal data (at one estimate over 130 billion data points), in the main about millions of US voters, to combine it with the Facebookderived insight information they had obtained from an academic at Cambridge University, Dr Aleksandr Kogan, and elsewhere.

Trump used Cambridge Analytica to target Blacks

Former Cambridge Analytica chief receives seven-year directorship ban Cambridge Analytica

Fresh Cambridge Analytica leak ‘shows global manipulation is out of control’

How Cambridge Analytica got away with it Investigate Facebook

Senior execs from Trump’s election consultants Cambridge Analytica caught on film.

Meet Theresa Hong the woman who wrote @realDonaldTrump’s campaign Facebook posts using Cambridge Analytica Project Alamo

A withering verdict: MPs report on Zuckerberg, Russia and Cambridge Analytica

The Man Who Saw the Dangers of Cambridge Analytica Years Ago

Mercer bankrolled Donald Trump who hired Cambridge Analytica w/Bannan as board member

Cambridge Analytica an entire “alt-right” news and information ecosystem.

[ECP] NetHappenings 9.6.18 #Mercer #CambridgeAnalytica, #Koch, #Vote, #facebook, #russia, #google #spiders #WannaCry

Mercer, Zuckerberg, Sandberg, Page, Brinn, Dorsey Handmaidens to Authoritarism

 

 

I asked my students to turn in their cell phones and write about living without them

I asked my students to turn in their cell phones and write about living without them

Here’s what they had to say.

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/614934/teenagers-without-cell-phones/

The usual industry and education narrative about cell phones, social media, and digital technology generally is that they build community, foster communication, and increase efficiency, thus improving our lives. Mark Zuckerberg’s recent reformulation of Facebook’s mission statement is typical: the company aims to “give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.”

Without their phones, most of my students initially felt lost, disoriented, frustrated, and even frightened. That seemed to support the industry narrative: look how disconnected and lonely you’ll be without our technology.

But after just two weeks, the majority began to think that their cell phones were in fact limiting their relationships with other people, compromising their own lives, and somehow cutting them off from the “real” world. Here is some of what they said.

Mark Zuckerberg is gonna die on a hill of Trump disinformation.

Esteemed Reporter Carole Cadwalla takes down piece of shit Mark Zuckerberg at TedTalk

Years of Mark Zuckerberg’s old Facebook posts have vanished. The company says it ‘mistakenly deleted’ them.

Mercer, Zuckerberg, Sandberg, Page, Brinn, Dorsey Handmaidens to Authoritarism

Fresh Cambridge Analytica leak ‘shows global manipulation is out of control’

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Hitler became Chancellor and Trump President with a minority of the vote.

Hitler became Chancellor and Trump President with a minority of the vote.

by Jonathan A. Weiss Esq.

Trump’s electoral college victory, with a loss of about 3 millions votes, occurred because of a disastrous “perfect storm.”

  1. The Electoral College itself
    In two presidential elections since 2000, including the most recent one in which Hillary Clinton won 2.8 million more votes than her opponent, the winner of the popular vote did not win the election because of the distorting effect of the outdated Electoral College.
  2. Voter suppression with suspected miscounting and Jill Stein’s run (with echoes of Nader effect in Florida – Clinton lost by approximately the same number of votes in Wisconsin that Stein received.)
  3. Russian meddling with the internet and possibly with election boards. (4) Comey’s inexcusable unprecedented announcement “reopening Clinton investigation” a few days before the election
  4. Misogyny with some failures in Clinton campaign such as not visiting “battleground” States.

Trump himself is a malignant narcissist paranoid pathological liar racist misogynist insecure bully/coward reactive ignorant idiot. Hitler did not possess all these defects. He was a madman. So is Trump.

Trump has also surrounded himself with incompetent corrupt people (who are opposed to the objectives of their departments’ goals) and nepotism.

The deep connections between his business enterprises and governments is unique.

His foreign policy antagonizes allies and embraces autocrats
(as Hitler did but only with Stalin, Mussolini, and Japan) rejecting direct territorial expansions. Hitler’s henchmen, unlike Trump’s, although saturated with evil, were mainly quite able and effective in their execution of projects. So, it would be wrong to analogize one to the other for these and possibly other reasons. On the other hand, the difference in their actions is often one of degree not nature, primarily because of the resistance of longstanding institutions, now tattered and being undermined. A few selected illustrations follow.

(1) The Creation of a “Crisis” for a Campaign and Reign.
Hitler used the Reichstag fire, which most historians think, the Nazis set to galvanize support. Trump rants and raves (from the beginning of his announcement of his run) about the “crisis” of immigrants with “caravans” of violent criminals, drug dealers, and bad people “invading” our country requiring a massive wall, expulsions without any due process hearings, widespread arrests, etc, the constant subject of slogans, chants, and “tweets”.

(2) Concentration Camps
Hitler diverted resources from his military as the war ended just to execute and incarcerate Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, etc., particularly noted, the Jews as an obsession. Trump has erected many concentration camps (many run for profit by private prison companies) on the border to keep those classified as “illegal aliens” separating babies from families. He happily continues Guantanamo. These concentration camps than those disgracefully established for the Japanese in World War II.

(3) Racism and Religious Bigotry
Hitler had his Jews. Trump, as referenced above, started his campaigns by railing against “Mexicans” and now continues against Latinos from Guatemala, Ecuador, and Nicaragua. Consider (and compare with mainland American natural disasters) his treatment of Americans in hurricane ravaged Puerto Rico.

Hitler hated Jews as a race. Undoubtedly, he would have wanted those who identify with the religion or culture to disappear in the Final Solution.

Trump has the one billion or so Muslims. He tried to ban any Muslim immigration and mainly succeeded when the retrograde Supreme Court (after granting a Christian baker the right to discriminate against homosexual’s ordering a wedding cake) allowed a ban which did not mention the adherents of Islam by name although clearly directed at them. (A 19th Century case struck down a law designed against Chinese laundries.) In a debate, among his other lies, he claimed he saw a multitude in New Jersey celebrating the toppling of the World Trade Towers. He continues unabated to demonize them.

(4) Free press and journalism
Hitler destroyed it while creating a propaganda machine. (Compare the interepenetration of Fox News and the White House). To the shame of the press corps, they allowed themselves to be separated by fences from the rest of the audience during his rallies. He ceaselessly attacks news coverage as “fake news”, advocates for defamation suits against the media, and even government action against the major network NBC because of a Saturday Night Live rerun, etc. (while the press still features his unhinged “tweets” as news rather than confining the reporting to official public acts and pronouncements).

(5) Antisemitism
It is necessary to distinguish the government of Israel and Israel; Israel and Jews. One can oppose the government and support Israel. One can oppose how Israel is constituted, attitudes, and some actions while still being a Jew. Trump embraces Netanayu as a far right leader while in his ghosted books he disparages them as beanie wearing bookkeepers. Some worry Jews might be blamed because of his inclusion of Miller and Kuchner (and converted wife) in his inner circle – though no more have been added – but the former is such a raving racist reactionary he can not be connected to any sane version of Judaism and the Kuchner’s represent just nepotism.

(6) Military Buildup
Hitler used great sums of money to build an army and, ironically Keynsian, the economy. In Trump’s budget he proposes to cut domestic programs radically while expanding the military (and continuing its presence in Yemen…and almost 70 other areas, Afganistan, Iraq, and Syria.)

(7) Demagoging and Violence
The “big lie”. best repeated often, played, and plays, a central role in both of their rhetorical appeals to audiences. Hitler, many believe, was a mesmerizing orator, His speeches were more inflammatory than his sometimes ally Mussolini. Trump leads rallies with chants, slogans (e.g. “Lock her up!”) designed to engineer mass consent from his devoted followers, inflammatory claims, and well documented many dangerous lies, etc.. It appears that the tone he has set (including the failure to condemn right wing violence) has created an atmosphere where deranged individuals (and even mobs) feel entitled to commit acts against schools, assemblies (including 0religious and public), and individuals while vigilante groups “patrol” the border. Both offer racist tropes to which Trump adds Misogyny.

(8) The Judiciary
Hitler destroyed his. With McConnel’s aiding and abetting, Trumps has done his utmost to stuff the Federal Judiciary (thus far his only main restraint) with rigid reactionaries from the Federalist Society pipeline.

Other illustrations are available ( e.g. permitting – facilitating in Trump’s case – the destruction of countryside and cities) But, sufficient unto this article is the evil therein.

Abraham Lincoln famously said: “You can fool some the people all of the time. You can fool some of the people some of the time. But you can not fool all the people all of the time.”

The question for our time is
whether you can fool enough.

“You should never underestimate human stupidity.” Yuval Noah Harari

——————————————————–

FURTHER RESOURCES

Changes in technology, politics, and business are all transforming espionage. Intelligence agencies must adapt—or risk irrelevance.
https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/04/27/the-spycraft-revolution-espionage-technology/

TED TALKS

Why fascism is so tempting — and how your data could power it Yuval Noah Harari

Handmaidens to Authoritarism
#Mercer, #Zuckerberg, #Sandberg, #Page, #Brinn, #Dorsey

In an unmissable talk, journalist Carole Cadwalladr digs into one of the most perplexing events in recent times: the UK’s super-close 2016 vote to leave the European Union. Tracking the result to a barrage of misleading Facebook ads targeted at vulnerable Brexit swing voters — and linking the same players and tactics to the 2016 US presidential election — Cadwalladr calls out the “gods of Silicon Valley” for being on the wrong side of history and asks: Are free and fair elections a thing of the past?

MORE:

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REPEAL AND REPLACE THE WAR ON DRUGS by Jonathan A. Weiss Esq.

REPARATIONS by Jonathan A. Weiss Esq.

WOMEN ENJOY MAKING LOVE by Jonathan A. Weiss Esq.

#JonathanWeiss #Hitler #Trump #Facism #PropagandaMachine #fakeNews #foxNews #whitehouse #electoral College