EU privacy rules force European companies to surrender data they hold on anyone, anywhere; and that includes SCL Elections, which owned Cambridge Analytica, the notorious Facebook data-miner and election-manipulator that extravagantly claimed to have won the election for Donald Trump. Read the rest
Damian Collins chairs the UK Parliament's Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee; it was he who ordered the Parliamentary Serjeant at Arms to drag a visiting US tech executive named Ted Kramer out of his hotel to surrender his laptop to Parliament so they could see the internal Facebook documents that a US federal judge had ordered sealed. Read the rest
Ted Kramer is CEO and co-founder of Six4Three, a creepy US-based machine-learning startup whose debut product was a Facebook app called Pinkini that let you search your friends' photos for pictures of them in bikinis; when Facebook shut down the app after a terms-of-service change, Six4Three sued Facebook and obtained a key trove of internal Facebook documents through the discovery process. Read the rest
A group of Facebook users who claim their personal data was misused, possibly to throw the 2016 U.S. Presidential election to Donald Trump, must wait until September to try and get more information from 'dark data' firm Cambridge Analytica. Read the rest
Another shady data company emerges from the ashes of Cambridge Analytica. It's fronted by a man who, in an undercover documentary, once boasted of Cambridge Analytica's links to government intelligence agencies. And the new company has already won a contract in an unnamed African state, the FT reports. Read the rest
Randy Lubin writes, "Earlier this year I teamed up with Scout.ai to design Machine Learning President, a simulation game to help pro-democracy folks think about the impact of technology on politics. Somehow a copy got in the hands of the Mercer family (previously) and, earlier today, the New Yorker covered it. We have no clue how they got the rules but we talked to Gizmodo to set the record straight." Read the rest
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador the front-running candidate for president of Mexico on a largely progressive ticket (tuition breaks, increased aid to seniors, drug war amnesty, though it's a mixed bag, reflecting the weird coalition of left-wing and right-wing parties he's fronting); and he is the target of a bizarre, mass-scale disinformation campaign being carried out by blanket robo-calling. Read the rest
Cambridge Analytica declared bankruptcy last month, but it's not like all its evil masterminds joined a Buddhist monastery -- they've started a new company Data Propria, helmed by Cambridge Analytica alum Matt Oczkowski, who bragged in public that he and Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale were "doing the president’s work for 2020." Read the rest
Mark Zuckerberg himself hosted World Hack Moscow, a hackathon in October 2012, handing the mic to Facebook product manager to Simon Cross, who walked the developers through the process of using Facebook's API to gather data on a users' friends, showing them how to get "a ton of information" on the entire friend graph of a Facebook user who gave simple permissions to their apps. Read the rest
A former executive from the data-mining dark operator Cambridge Analytica 'visited Julian Assange in February last year and told friends it was to discuss what happened during the US election,' the Guardian reported today.
Brittany Kaiser worked as a director there until not long ago, and is reported “to have channelled cryptocurrency payments and donations to WikiLeaks.”
Assange issued a statement saying that he had turned down the Cambridge Analytica offer. Alexander Nix, the company’s chief executive, told Westminster MPs the same in February, during an appearance at the Commons digital, culture, media and sport (DCMS) select committee. Nix said he found a contact for WikiLeaks’ speaking agency on the internet and sent Assange an email.
But visitor logs from the Ecuador embassy obtained by the Guardian and Focus Ecuador appear to show that Brittany Kaiser, a senior executive at Cambridge Analytica until earlier this year, visited Assange on 17 February 2017. Information passed to the DCMS committee in the UK and the Senate judiciary committee in the US states that the meeting was “a retrospective to discuss the US election”.
Kaiser is also alleged to have said that she had funnelled money to WikiLeaks in the form of cryptocurrency. She called the organisation her “favourite charity”. The reports passed to investigators say that money was given to her by third parties in the form of “gifts and payments”.
After the afore-quoted story was published, there was all-new news in London today.
Alexander Nix appeared as scheduled before the DCMS committee for the second time at 3pm on Wednesday (today), where he was questioned by lawmakers on Cambridge Analytica’s relationship with WikiLeaks and the disinformation campaign by Russia to elect Donald Trump. Read the rest
From 2007 onward, Facebook created dozens of data-sharing arrangements with mobile phone vendors that let them raid your friends' personal information as well as your own, in arrangements that are still ongoing today, years after Facebook publicly announced that it had closed off this kind of data-mining by its partners. Read the rest
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