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.

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

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


Facebook, Zuckerberg, Cambridge Analytica all digital gangsters built a program that predicted and influenced choices at the ballot box.

Alexander Nix handed penalty for ‘potentially unethical’ behaviour linked to scandal

Cambridge Analytica’s former chief executive Alexander Nix has been barred from acting as a company director for seven years.

Alexander Nix, the former boss of Cambridge Analytica, has been banned from serving as a company director for seven years over “potentially unethical” behaviour linked to his position at the centre of a global scandal.

The Insolvency Service said Nix had allowed companies to offer potentially unethical services, including “bribery or honey-trap stings, voter disengagement campaigns, obtaining information to discredit political opponents and spreading information anonymously in political campaigns”.

Nix did not dispute that he caused or permitted Cambridge Analytica’s parent company SCL Elections to offer such services, behaviour “demonstrating a lack of commercial probity” according to the Insolvency Service.

The Old Etonian and former financial analyst will be disqualified from holding directorships, or from promoting, forming or managing a company, starting from 5 October, the Insolvency Service said.

“Following an extensive investigation, our conclusions were clear that SCL Elections had repeatedly offered shady political services to potential clients over a number of years,” said the Insolvency Service chief investigator, Mark Bruce.

“Company directors should act with commercial probity and this means acting honestly and correctly. Alexander Nix’s actions did not meet the appropriate standard for a company director and his disqualification from managing limited companies for a significant amount of time is justified in the public interest.”

SCL Elections and five connected companies ceased trading in 2018 following revelations in the Observer about its role in harvesting data about millions of voters from social media sites such as Facebook, for use by Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign.

Cambridge Analytica was found to have used the data to build a powerful software program to predict and influence choices at the ballot box.

The fallout from the scandal included a scathing report by the House of Commons digital, culture media and sport select committee, which labelled Facebook “digital gangsters” who had tried to obstruct the MPs’ inquiry and had done little to tackle attempts by Russia to manipulate elections.

Facebook also agreed to pay a record $5bn (£3.9bn) fine in the US, as well as a £500,000 fine – the highest possible – to the UK Information Commissioner’s Office over the scandal.

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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.

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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

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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?

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