Brent Longborough did me the enormous favor of translating my latest Locus column, Zuck's Empire of Oily Rags, into Portuguese, and sent it to me to publish.
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
The decision to close the company's doors internationally was announced to employees during a town hall meeting in the firm's New York City offices Wednesday. One source says that NYC employees were told to pack up and leave immediately....
Just yesterday, Cambridge Analytica's official Twitter account tweeted out a link to a website refuting the waves of bad press the company has received with the caption, "Get the Facts Behind the Facebook Story."
The Cambridge Analytica affair wiped billions off of Facebook's valuation and prompted millions of users to #DeleteFacebook, but inevitably, the company bounced back, reporting high earnings in its quarterly investor disclosures. Read the rest
Brittany Kaiser is an ex-Cambridge Analytica employee who gave written testimony and answered questions at the UK Parliament this week in which she revealed that the Facebook apps that Cambridge Analytica used to covertly gain access to millions of users' data went far beyond the ones disclosed to date, and that the number of total users implicated is "much greater than 87 million." Read the rest
Buried in Facebook's latest message to 87,000,000 users who had their data stolen by Cambridge Analytica is this eye-popping nugget: "A small number of people who logged into 'This Is Your Digital Life' also shared their own News Feed, timeline, posts and messages which may have included posts and messages from you." Read the rest
2016 wasn't Cambridge Analytica's first rodeo; in 2014, they worked for Republicans in races across the country. Read the rest
Facebook admitted Wednesday that 87 million users' data was harvested by Cambridge Analytica--about 74% more than previously disclosed.
The new figure sharply increased the company’s previous estimate of how many users’ information was harvested by Cambridge Analytica. For weeks, Facebook had said that the data of about 50 million users was at issue.
Facebook released the revised estimate of affected users as part of an extended statement about its plans for handling personal data. The company said it would start alerting users on April 9 about whether their information may have been shared with Cambridge Analytica.
Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer buried the news that Cambridge Analytica's total body-count was probably 87,000,000 (not 50,000,000 as previously recorded) at the end of a long-winded, mealy-mouthed update on the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal. He offered no explanation for the discrepancy. Read the rest