"robert mercer"

Chicagoans can actually play "Machine Learning President," the election RPG

After the 2016 elections, Scout.ai and a group of technology activists created Machine Learning President, designed for "scenario planning to game out how tech might impact future elections, as a way to think through the potential challenges and pitfalls that might eat away at democracy." Read the rest

Cambridge Analytica is out of business, but its heavy hitters have reopened under a new name

Cambridge Analytica may be out of business thanks to bad publicity, but "Emerdata" is a new company, whose board includes the daughters of Robert Mercer, who bankrolled Cambridge Analytica; disgraced former Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix is on its board of directors, and much of Cambridge Analytica's C-suite has packed up their desks and moved into the Emerdata offices. Read the rest

Cambridge Analytica instructs its lawyers to warn journalists

Cambridge Analytica, the British consultancy firm founded by Steve Bannon and Robert Mercer, and whose CEO, Alexander Nix (pictured above), was secretly recorded boasting about using bribes and covert prostitution strings to blackmail candidates, tweeted that it has "instructed our lawyers to send letters to news media who have been covering this story, advising them not to repeat false and unfounded allegations as fact."

The replies on Twitter are delightful:

Image by Web Summit - SAM_7454, CC BY 2.0, Link Read the rest

Cambridge Analytica became a US powerhouse thanks Mercer's laundered money and a judas goat named John Bolton

After interviewing Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie and other CA sources and reviewing leaked documents, the Washington Post has pieced together the story of how the dirty-tricking electioneers worked their way Republican political circles, as billionaire founder Robert Mercer opened doors for them with other notorious GOP billionaire backers, with an able assist from newly minted national security adviser John Bolton, a notorious war-criminal with close ties to terrorist groups like MEK. Read the rest

Facebook says giving Cambridge Analytica info on 50 million people wasn't a “breach.” It was a feature

Writing for Bloomberg Businessweek, Paul Ford says Facebook's "not-a-breach" of personal information on 50 millions of its users is just the latest example of why it's time for a digital protection agency.

Facebook’s recent debacle is illustrative. It turns out that the company let a researcher spider through its social network to gather information on 50 million people. Then the Steve Bannon-affiliated, Robert Mercer-backed U.K. data analysis firm Cambridge Analytica used that data to target likely Trump voters. Facebook responded that, no, this was not a “breach.”

OK, sure, let’s not call it a breach. It’s how things were designed to work. That’s the problem.

...

How might a digital EPA function? Well, it could do some of the work that individuals do today. For example, the website of Australian security expert Troy Hunt, haveibeenpwned.com (“pwned” is how elite, or “l33t,” hackers, or “hax0rs,” spell “owned”), keeps track of nearly 5 billion hacked accounts. You give it your email, and it tells you if you’ve been found in a data breach. A federal agency could and should do that work, not just one very smart Australian—and it could do even better, because it would have a framework for legally exploring, copying, and dealing with illegally obtained information. Yes, we’d probably have to pay Booz Allen or Accenture or whatever about $120 million to get the same work done that Troy Hunt does on his own, but that’s the nature of government contracting, and we can only change one thing at a time.

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Just because Cambridge Analytica tells its customers it can sway elections, it doesn't follow that they're any good at it

Unilever founder John Wanamaker famously said, "I know that half the money I spend on advertising is wasted. My only problem is that I don’t know which half." It's an odd testament to the power of advertising, an industry whose executives are incredibly effective at selling their services to other executives, even if they can't prove they're any good at selling their customers' products to the public. Read the rest

Facebook insists that Cambridge Analytica didn't "breach" data, but "misused" it, and they're willing to sue anyone who says otherwise

Yesterday's bombshell article in the Guardian about the way that Cambridge Analytica was able to extract tens of millions of Facebook users' data without their consent was preceded by plenty of damage control on Facebook's part: they repeatedly threatened to sue news outlets if they reported on the story and fired the whistleblower who came forward with the story. Read the rest

Rumour mill says that the Mercers are going to axe Bannon from Breitbart over "Fire and Fury" remarks

In his new book Fire and Fury, Michael Wolff says that one-time White House chief strategist Steve Bannon accused the Trump campaign of "treason", a revelation that sparked a hilarious denunciation by Donald Trump, who claimed that his Chief Strategist didn't know anything about his strategies or his chiefs -- which drew more attention to the book (as did the legal threats the Trump administration fired at the book's publisher, Macmillan), widening the rift between Bannon and Trump. Read the rest

Thanks to the EU, the UK's privacy law may solve the mystery of Facebook and the last US election

The EU's data-protection framework is not without its flaws, but it does allow the public to force companies like Facebook to hand over all the data they hold on you, and that means that Americans can use the law to force Facebook to reveal how the Trump campaign's targeted ads worked. Read the rest

Guess who donated all the money to Black Americans for a Better Future Super PAC? Rich white men.

The Super PAC has $417,250 to spend on the upcoming election. $400K of that came from Robert Mercer, a white billionaire hedge-fund titan who is the major funder of the Ted Cruz campaign. Read the rest

Billionaire GOP superdonors aren't getting what they paid for

The billionaires who bankrolled Mitt Romney and other Republican establishment candidates are becoming disillusioned with the political classes, who give them the mushroom treatment: keep 'em in the dark and shovel shit all over them. Read the rest

Ted Cruz campaign hires dirty data-miners who slurped up millions of Facebook users' data

Cambridge Analytica is an obscure data-mining company funded by hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer (Cruz's main financial backer). Cambridge Analytica created "psychographic profiles" of millions of Facebook users by scraping their personal data without their knowledge or permission. Read the rest