Mexican election: saturation robo-calls spreading disinformation about Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador

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's key staffers formed a new company that's working on Trump 2020

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

In 2012, Zuckerberg hosted "World Hack Moscow" and gave prizes for figuring out how to mine Facebook friends' data

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

Cambridge Analytica: Director 'met Assange to discuss U.S. election', channelled $ to WikiLeaks

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.”

Excerpt:

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.

Former Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix. Read the rest

For more than a decade, Facebook shared your friends' data and other sensitive info with phone makers, even after they claimed not to (they're still doing it)

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 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 shut down

Cambridge Analytica, the firm that consulted on Trump's 2016 campaign and mined the data of 87 million Facebook users without their permission, has shut its doors. Same goes for the company's UK counterpart SCL. From Wired:

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."

(image by Mark Frauenfelder) Read the rest

Facebook warns investors to expect bigger and worse scandals than Cambridge Analytica

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

Cambridge Analytica data-raid: the number is "much greater than 87 million"

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

Facebook quietly admits they let Cambridge Analytica read your private messages

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

Facebook finally has a form where you can check whether Cambridge Analytica stole your data

Want to know if Facebook let Cambridge Analytica steal your person information? here's the company's form to check, but you'll need a Facebook login, so it won't work if you've already done the right thing (that is, #DeleteFacebook). (Image: hobvias sudoneighm, CC-BY) (via The Verge) Read the rest

Cambridge Analytica campaigned for Republicans across America in 2014

2016 wasn't Cambridge Analytica's first rodeo; in 2014, they worked for Republicans in races across the country. Read the rest

87 million Facebook users' data shared with Cambridge Analytica

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.

Another day, another numbingly obvious example of "dumb fucks." Read the rest

Facebook: Actually, looks like Cambridge Analytica got 87 Million user records

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

On the junk science and excellent PR of Cambridge Analytica

Cambridge Analytica claimed that it could sway elections thanks to the devastating power of psychometric profiling, and they may have even believed it, but those claims should be read with a critical eye, because they're marketing hype aimed at people whom Cambridge Analytica was pitching as client; and because Cambridge Analytica is not a scientific enterprise, but a secretive corporation whose researchers never had to subject their experiments and results to critical, peer-reviewed scrutiny, opening up endless possibilities for self-deception and truth-shading. Read the rest

The idea behind Cambridge Analytica's Facebook data-harvesting app came from a Palantir employee, with support from Eric Schmidt's daughter

Palantir is the surveillance company founded by authoritarian "libertarian" Peter Thiel; their business-development employee Alfredas Chmieliauskas was part of a cohort of Palantir employees who worked closely -- if informally -- with Cambridge Analytica as they hatched their plan to harvest 50,000,000 Facebook profiles with a deceptive "personality quiz" app. Read the rest

Fight back against Facebook overcollection with EFF's free Privacy Badger plugin

Privacy Badger is EFF's free privacy plugin; it blocks trackers and ads from companies that practice "non-consensual tracking," in which your browser's "do not track" instructions are not honored. Read the rest

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