Inside the World of Cambridge Analytica

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Re: Inside the World of Cambridge Analytica

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Apr 10, 2018 1:12 pm

Whistleblower Christopher Wylie is working to testify to Mueller's investigation and to Congress.



Carole Cadwalladr

Wow. Some interesting details in this. Yes, Cambridge Analytica may have your private messages. And, yes, this is definitely a problem for Britain (& everywhere else too).

Peter Jukes

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Thanks @facebook - looks like my 'likes' (a profound indication of psychometric disposition) was harvested by #CambridgeAnalytica and presumably shared with #Brexit campaigns and (according to SCL boast) other shady UK elections.

To find out more search
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https://twitter.com/peterjukes/status/9 ... 8826295296



Mexico data protection body to investigate possible links to Cambridge Analytica

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico’s data protection body said on Monday it had opened an investigation into whether companies possibly linked to political consultancy Cambridge Analytica broke the country’s data protection laws.

INAI, the transparency and data protection regulator, said it was looking at Mexican companies that worked with cellphone app Pig.gi, which gives users free top-ups in exchange for receiving ads and completing surveys.

The app cut ties with Cambridge Analytica in Mexico after the British company was accused by a whistleblower of improperly accessing data to target U.S. and British voters in recent elections.

Pig.gi, which has 1 million downloads in Mexico and Colombia combined, said it had shared results of two election polls of Mexican users with the consultancy and other partners.

Cambridge Analytica has denied Facebook data was used to help to build profiles on American voters and build support for Donald Trump in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Reporting by Christine Murray and Lizbeth Diaz; Editing by Michael Perry
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mexi ... SKBN1HH0BV



Cambridge Analytica boss Alexander Nix dined with two of Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign advisers in 2015
Nix and his companies have come under fire for using data harvested from Facebook, which recently revealed that some 1.2 million Filipinos on Facebook were affected by the data breach
PUBLISHED : Sunday, 08 April, 2018, 9:00pm




Raissa Robles


Could Cambridge Analytica boss be probed for Philippine meddling?
8 Apr 2018

When Alexander Nix, the recently suspended boss of Cambridge Analytica, went to Manila in May 2015, he did more than deliver a talk on his new method of managing elections.

Nix dined with Jose Gabriel “Pompee” La Viña and Peter Tiu Laviña, cousins who later played key roles in Rodrigo Duterte’s presidential campaign, notable for its use of social media. At the time, Nix identified himself as a board director of Cambridge Analytica’s parent company, Strategic Communications Laboratories (SCL).
Peter snapped photographs of Nix’s talk at the National Press Club (NPC) in Manila and his meal at the club’s dining room, and posted them on his Facebook page. Also present on that occasion were NPC president Joel Sy Egco – now Undersecretary at the Presidential Communications Operations Office or PCOO – and Taipan Millan, a lawyer and family friend of Duterte.
Six months after that meal with Nix, both cousins were among those who convinced Duterte to run for president. Duterte appointed “Pompee” La Viña as his social media director – a first in Philippine election history – and Peter Laviña as his campaign spokesman.
Sources who worked on the campaigns of Duterte’s two rival candidates told the South China Morning Post they had never met nor heard of Nix or SCL.


The source who worked on the presidential campaign of Senator Grace Poe said he was not aware of any contact from Nix or SCL. The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity for lack of authority to comment, added: “We used our own social media strategy.”
Ibarra Gutierrez, the spokesman for Mar Roxas, the ruling party contender, said the same.
How Cambridge Analytica’s parent company helped ‘man of action’ Rodrigo Duterte win the 2016 Philippines election

“[The campaign had] no organised effort to the extent others were utilising social media,” he said. “The focus of the campaign was traditional organising of local political allies at the grass roots level.”
He laughed off recent accusations from Duterte supporters that it was Roxas and not Duterte who was the unidentified client of SCL in the Philippines. SCL had previously posted on its website it had managed elections for a male politician in the Philippines, who it recommended be rebranded into a tough crimebuster. This post has since been removed but archived copies remain.
I’m not sure who [Alexander Nix] is. I attended one forum at the NPC where a foreigner was resource speaker. Can’t recall if it was this guy you are mentioningPETER TIU LAVIÑA
Gutierrez said they had neglected to use social media because “we simply underestimated its impact on the elections”. He explained they based their strategy on a survey that indicated Filipinos got 70 per cent of their news from television.
Duterte won the election, although without a majority of votes. Roxas was a distant second, closely followed by Poe.
Basking in post-election glory, Pompee La Viña credited “Duterte social media warriors” for the win. He could not be reached for comment for this story.
However, his cousin, Peter, denied – via Facebook Messenger – the Duterte camp had contracted Nix or SCL for the election.

“We never had any foreign help during the campaign,” Peter Tiu Laviña said.
Asked how many times he met Nix, he replied: “I’m not sure who he is. I attended one forum at the NPC where a foreigner was resource speaker. Can’t recall if it was this guy you are mentioning.”
He did not reply whether this was the only time he had met this foreigner.
The “intervention” of foreigners and foreign entities in Philippine elections is a criminal offence. But to be punishable, such meddling has to occur during the campaign period, according the Commission on Elections (Comelec) regulations.

Christian Monsod, a former Comelec chairman, said the Post’s reporting of the activities of Nix and SCL in Manila provided “sufficient grounds” for a preliminary investigation. Such an investigation could consider “the accountability of any candidate or political party as principal, accomplice or accessory to the crime”.
Nix and his companies have come under fire for using data harvested from Facebook, which recently revealed that some 1.2 million Filipinos on Facebook were affected by the data breach.
http://www.scmp.com/news/asia/southeast ... wo-rodrigo



Polly Sigh


A month after Russian oligarch Deripaska was offered “private briefings” by his stooge, then-Trump campaign mgr Paul Manafort, he secretly met w/Russian deputy PM Prikhodko to "solve the issue w/America" [and party w/prostitutes, obv].
via @navalny #Maddow http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/02 ... g_share_tw




"We had our doubts at first when the US media claimed that Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska tried to rig the US elections. But after this investigation, everything falls into place." -@navalny
Video with English subtitles

Paul Manafort offers Oleg Deripaska private briefing. Deripaska goes on three-day sailing holiday off Norway with Russian dep PM Prikhodko, briefs him on "US issue" - fascinating investigation by @Navalny, also featuring call-girl https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQZr2Ng ... e=youtu.be … [Russian] #Trump

One of the call-girl's 2016 videos shows Deripaska [Manafort money-man] talking to her about relations w/America, RU deputy PM Prihodko & "Prihodko's friend," then-US State Dept official Victoria Nuland, who's phone was hacked by Russia in 2014.
#Maddow http://politi.co/2BXB1En




Deripaska: We've got bad relations w/ America bc of the "friend" of Sergey Prihodko [Russia's Dep PM], Nuland.
FYI: When then-asst Sec of State Victoria Nuland met Prikhodko, he scornfully called her "girlfriend." They're not friends.
HT


Prikhodko has been deputy PM since Yeltsin. Recall: Yeltsin stepped down so he & cronies might escape corruption charges [they were part of Russian mafia boss Mogilevich's Bank of NY laundering scheme] & hand-picked Putin as successor to that end.


Deripaska's father in law, Yumashev, was Yeltsin's CoS & is married Yeltsin's daughter. Yumashev & Deripaska BFF Abramovich are part of the small group of Yeltsin oligarchs who put Putin in power. Putin ousted them all to avoid appearance of corruption. Prikhodko is their proxy.


One of Putin's first moves was to pardon Yeltsin, giving him "immunity from criminal or administrative investigations." He also cut a deal w/Yeltsin oligarchs: he'd stay of their business if they stayed out of politics. Prikhodko -> oligarch proxy.


8. Putin was a mid-level KGB agent until mastermind Voloshin made him president & Yeltsin's inner circle filthy rich.


ICYMI: Thread connecting Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska →Russin mafia boss Semyon Mogilevich & his top leutinient Birshtein [father in-law of Trump business partners Schnaider] and to Manafort, plus a dash of Dmitry Firtash.
wash, rinse, repeat

^ So we have:

Deripaska → Birshtein & Mogilevich → Schnaider → Trump → Manafort…


Russian oligarch Deripaska: “I warn the media against dissemination of these mendacious accusations [which @navalny backed up by pics & audio]. I will severely suppress any attempts...defend my honor & dignity in court-"
@washingtonpost: *Yawn*
#Maddow http://wapo.st/2BjsmQ6?tid=ss_tw&utm_term=.fd4d5b59ece9



Russia threatens to block access to YouTube & Instagram if they don't remove @navalny's video & a call girl's pics that show a Sr Kremlin official sailing on a yacht w/ oligarch Deripaska, who has links to former Trump campaign manager Manafort.


Russian oligarch & Manafort/Gates patron Oleg Deripaska to step down as president of EN+ energy company & aluminium producer Rusal. via @ASLuhn
ICYMI: Rick Gates cut a plea deal with Mueller & will testify against his longtime boss, Paul Manafort.
#Maddow http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/02 ... g_share_tw



Nastya Rybka & Alex Leslie, who can potentially prove Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska bribed RU Deputy PM Prikhodko & of their involvement in 2016 US Election interference [@navalny video], have been jailed in Thailand. via @zenxv
HT @MollyJongFast #Maddow http://bit.ly/2ouCcre


Nastya Rybka appealed to the US to help get out of Thai jail, promising to provide 'missing puzzles in US election meddling'...Russia's AF1 Plane has landed Thailand where Rybka & Leslie were to be released on bail yesterday. via @christogrozev


She is potentially the woman who can prove billionaire Oleg Deripaska bribed Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Prikhodko & of their involvement interfering with the 2016 US Election. Now, Russia's Air Force One has landed in Thailand and it's suspected they will extradite her & Alex.


A self-described sex expert from @navalny video says she'll spill info on Trump & Russia to get out of a Thai jail: “I'm the only witness & missing link btwn Russia & US election—in the long chain of Oleg Deripaska, Prikhodko, Manafort, & Trump.”
#Maddow http://wapo.st/2BUeTOU?tid=ss_tw&utm_term=.b039a622798d



Oleg Deripaska's professional escort who's jailed in Thai prison says audio recordings show Russian meddling in US Election: “If America gives me protection, I'll tell everything I know. I am afraid to go back to Russia. Strange things can happen.”
#Maddow https://nyti.ms/2FWQmso


Oleg Deripaska's professional escort who claims to have audio recordings which show Russian meddling in US Election: “If America gives me protection, I'll tell everything I know. I am afraid to go back to Russia. Strange things can happen--” Yup.

Assassination Attempt? Former Russian army colonel & intelligence officer who sold out Kremlin’s spies, collapses in UK street as a result of suspected exposure to an unknown substance.





seemslikeadream » Thu Apr 05, 2018 7:24 am wrote:
Olga_Lautman NYC ..

Sam Patten and Russian Intel Agent Kilimnik opened a company in DC in Feb 2015 tied to Cambridge Analytica.

Sam Patten was also very involved in the Ukrainian elections and was Kilimnik’s boss in 2001. Considering Kilimnik freely spoke of his Intel work Patten should have known

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10:37 PM - 4 Apr 2018
https://www.washingtonpost.com
https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.washin ... story.html

This is getting really ridiculous why so many criminals are freely walking around and that they should have been monitored for decades. Wtf

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.thedai ... perative-3

Screenshots are from this article and the Wapo article

Accused Russian Intel Asset Teamed Up With GOP Operative

Konstantin Kilimnik found himself a partner in Sam Patten, a lobbyist and political hand who just happens to have worked previously for Cambridge Analytica.

As 2016 campaign season neared, a Russian national who special counsel Robert Mueller now believes was working with the country’s intelligence services founded a consulting firm in Washington, D.C.

Begemot Ventures International was incorporated in February 2015, occupying an office on Constitution Avenue. Like other firms in the nation’s capital it offered services catering to the politically inclined. But unlike those other shops, Begemot had executives tied not just to an alleged Russian influence campaign, but also a controversial data firm that would later help elect President Donald Trump.

The space that the firm continues to occupy also houses the offices of Sam Patten, a Republican lobbyist and foreign policy consultant who had previously worked to hone the firm Cambridge Analytica’s microtargeting operation during the 2014 midterm election cycle. They don’t just share a location either. Patten is listed as one of two Begemot executives in D.C. incorporation records.

The other is Konstantin Kilimnik, who is currently front-and-center in the federal investigation into Russian government meddling in the 2016 presidential election. A recent court filing by Mueller alleged that “Person A”—believed to be Kilimnik—“has ties to Russian intelligence service and had such ties in 2016.”

Kilimnik has a years-long professional relationship with former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, whom Mueller has accused of illegally advancing the interests of foreign clients in the U.S. Kilimnik was a frequent intermediary between Manafort and Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, to whom Manafort offered private briefings on the 2016 presidential race. Kilimnik has long been suspected of having worked with or for Russian intelligence services in the past. But Mueller’s allegations are so explosive because they allege such ties continued through the presidential election—ties that would, by virtue of Kilimnik’s association with Manafort, represent the Trump campaign’s closest known link to Kremlin operatives.

But those close to Kilimnik say the allegations are at a minimum overblown, and at most an outright fabrication. Patten too rejected allegations of Kilimnik’s Russian intelligence ties in an interview this week.

Patten acknowledged his collaboration with Kilimnik on Begemot, which he said operates entirely abroad despite its D.C. address. Patten also confirmed his work with Cambridge Analytica, saying he assisted the firm’s U.S. operations in 2014, and also worked with the company on “several overseas campaigns.” He declined to go into further detail, citing a nondisclosure agreement, but stressed that his work for Begemot and Cambridge Analytica were entirely separate.

Cambridge Analytica did not respond to a request for additional information.

There is little public information about Begemot, whose name literally translates (from Russian) to hippopotamus but also may be a reference to a character in the Russian novel The Master and Margarita. Its emergence on the political scene—and the principles involved in its creation—underscore the smallness of the universe of Republican operatives and foreign policy hands who have done business with those at the center of the Russia investigation.

Begemot’s website says it “helps its clients win elections, strengthen political parties, build the right arguments before domestic and international audiences, and achieve better results.” But it doesn’t disclose any of those clients, or even the countries in which they operate. Patten declined to go into any detail about its work.

Patten’s relationship with Kilimnik goes back nearly two decades, when they worked together at the International Republican Institute, a GOP-aligned foreign policy group. In 2007 and 2008, Patten was an undersecretary of state for Democracy and Global Affairs in the Bush administration. He has also lobbied for political parties in Iraq and Georgia, and currently represents a group called the Committee to Destroy ISIS, a campaign funded in part, records show, by a Jordanian construction company.

“I operate in a small niche,” Patten said of his work.

Patten’s association with Cambridge Analytica began in 2014. His personal website says he worked with the firm “to introduce new technologies and methodologies to U.S. campaigns during the 2014 congressional cycle.” The “beta run” of Cambridge Analytica’s microtargeting efforts, the website says, was “adopted by at least one major U.S. presidential candidate.” At the time the website was written, Patten said, Cambridge Analytica was working on behalf of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), though Patten never worked on behalf of the Cruz campaign. Cambridge Analytica would later work to elect Trump.

The data firm is at the center of controversy over the use of social media data in political micro-targeting efforts. A Cambridge Analytica whistleblower claims the company pilfered data from Facebook for use on behalf of its political clients. The company denies any wrongdoing. And Trump campaign officials have tried to downplay the efficacy of the firms work, even though the campaign spent nearly $6 million for its services.

Mueller’s team is examining the role that Cambridge Analytica played in Trump’s election victory, but there is no indication that Patten’s work for the firm is problematic or of any interest to the special counsel’s investigation. Patten himself played down the connection, saying his work for the firm was “wholly unconnected” to Begemot and Kilimnik.

Begemot, Patten said, “is a privately-held, small consulting company that has provided public relations and political strategy advice for clients outside the United States, and [is] not related to the ongoing circus here.”

Patten expressed skepticism about Mueller’s recent allegations about his colleague. “A lot of people in our country wish Mueller well. If this is his ace in the hole, I am profoundly depressed,” he said.

“I have no reason to suspect him of being a Russian agent,” Patten added. “For people to continuously repeat the ‘in contact with/working with Russian intel’ epithet about anyone who lives or works in a country ruled by an ex KGB officer is rather absurd.” Such a description, he said, could include “anyone who rides the Moscow metro.”
https://www.thedailybeast.com/accused-r ... perative-3


Funny how people conveniently forget
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Carole Cadwalladr

But Sam Patten played a central role on the Nigeria campaign. And we knew he was a long time associate of both Manafort and Kilimnik, now a star of a Mueller filing.
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We took Sam Patten out of the piece because the article was already too preposterous. (But true) Chucking in the man with with the known connection to a Russian spy just seemed like a step too far...

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seemslikeadream » Wed Apr 04, 2018 5:49 pm wrote:
THE RUSSIA WEB
Accused Russian Intel Asset Teamed Up With GOP Operative

Konstantin Kilimnik found himself a partner in Sam Patten, a lobbyist and political hand who just happens to have worked previously for Cambridge Analytica

LACHLAN MARKAY
04.04.18 2:43 PM ET
As 2016 campaign season neared, a Russian national who Special Counsel Robert Mueller now believes was working with the country’s intelligence services founded a consulting firm in Washington D.C.

Begemot Ventures International was incorporated in February 2015, occupying an office on Constitution Avenue. Like other firms in the nation’s capital it offered services catering to the politically inclined. But unlike those other shops, Begemot had executives tied not just to an alleged Russian influence campaign, but also a controversial data firm that would later help elect President Donald Trump.

The space that the firm continues to occupy also houses the offices of Sam Patten, a Republican lobbyist and foreign policy consultant who had previously worked to hone the firm Cambridge Analytica’s microtargeting operation during the 2014 midterm election cycle. They don’t just share a location either. Patten is listed as one of two Begemot executives in Washington D.C. incorporation records.

The other is Konstantin Kilimnik, who is currently front-and-center in the federal investigation into Russian government meddling in the 2016 presidential election. A recent court filing by Mueller alleged that “Person A”—believed to be Kilimnik—“has ties to Russian intelligence service and had such ties in 2016.”

Kilimnik has a years-long professional relationship with former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, whom Mueller has accused of illegally advancing the interests of foreign clients in the U.S. Kilimnik was a frequent intermediary between Manafort and Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, to whom Manafort offered private briefings on the 2016 presidential race. Kilimnik has long been suspected of having worked with or for Russian intelligence services in the past. But Mueller’s allegations are so explosive because they allege such ties continued through the presidential election—ties that would, by virtue of Kilimnik’s association with Manafort, represent the Trump campaign’s closest known link to Kremlin operatives.

But those close to Kilimnik say the allegations are at a minimum overblown, and at most an outright fabrication. Patten too rejected allegations of Kilimnik’s Russian intelligence ties in an interview this week.


Patten acknowledged his collaboration with Kilimnik on Begemot, which he said operates entirely abroad despite its D.C. address. Patten also confirmed his work with Cambridge Analytica, saying he assisted the firm’s U.S. operations in 2014, and also worked with the company on “several overseas campaigns.” He declined to go into further detail, citing a non-disclosure agreement, but stressed that his work for Begemot and Cambridge Analytica were entirely separate.


NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 25: Robert Mercer and Rebekah Mercer attend the 2017 TIME 100 Gala at Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 25, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
Rebekah Mercer Stands by Cambridge Analytica

It’s Not Just Facebook & Trump—The Whole Web Is Stalking You
Cambridge Analytica did not respond to a request for additional information.

There is little public information about Begemot, whose name literally translates (from Russian) to hippopotamus but also may be a reference to a character in the Russian novel “The Master and Margarita.” Its emergence on the political scene—and the principles involved in its creation—underscore the smallness of the universe of Republican operatives and foreign policy hands who have done business with those at the center of the Russia investigation.

Begemot’s website says it “helps its clients win elections, strengthen political parties, build the right arguments before domestic and international audiences, and achieve better results.” But it doesn't disclose any of those clients, or even the countries in which they operate. Patten declined to go into any detail about its work.

Patten’s relationship with Kilimnik goes back nearly two decades, when they worked together at the International Republican Institute, a GOP-aligned foreign policy group. In 2007 and 2008, Patten was an Undersecretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs in the Bush administration. He has also lobbied for political parties in Iraq and Georgia, and currently represents a group called the Committee to Destroy ISIS, a campaign funded in part, records show, by a Jordanian construction company.

“I operate in a small niche,” Patten said of his work.

Patten’s association with Cambridge Analytica began in 2014. His personal website says he worked with the firm “to introduce new technologies and methodologies to U.S. campaigns during the 2014 congressional cycle.” The “beta run” of Cambridge Analytica’s microtargeting efforts, the website says, was “adopted by at least one major U.S. presidential candidate.” At the time the website was written, Patten said, Cambridge Analytica was working on behalf of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), though Patten never worked on behalf of the Cruz campaign. Cambridge Analytica would later work to elect Trump.

The data firm is at the center of controversy over the use of social media data in political micro-targeting efforts. A Cambridge Analytica whistleblower claims the company pilfered data from Facebook for use on behalf of its political clients. The company denies any wrongdoing. And Trump campaign officials have tried to downplay the efficacy of the firms work, even though the campaign spent nearly $6 million for its services.

Mueller’s team is examining the role that Cambridge Analytica played in Trump’s election victory, but there is no indication that Patten’s work for the firm is problematic or of any interest to the special counsel’s investigation. Patten himself played down the connection, saying his work for the firm was “wholly unconnected” to Begemot and Kilimnik.

Begemot, Patten said, “is a privately-held, small consulting company that has provided public relations and political strategy advice for clients outside the United States, and [is] not related to the ongoing circus here.”

Patten expressed skepticism about Mueller’s recent allegations about his colleague. “A lot of people in our country wish Mueller well. If this is his ace in the hole, I am profoundly depressed,” he said.

“I have no reason to suspect him of being a Russian agent,” Patten added. “For people to continuously repeat the ‘in contact with/working with Russian intel’ epithet about anyone who lives or works in a country ruled by an ex KGB officer is rather absurd.” Such a description, he said, could include “anyone who rides the Moscow metro.”
https://www.thedailybeast.com/accused-r ... 3?ref=home



Polly Sigh

How Putin's proxies helped funnel millions into GOP campaigns – @UofDallas researcher Ruth May is an expert in all things corporate in Russia and has mapped the money trail from Russian oligarchs to the @GOP and Trump.
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Buried in the campaign finance reports available to the public are troubling connections between a group of Kremlin-linked wealthy donors and their political contributions to Trump and a number of top @GOP leaders.

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An example is Kremlin-linked Len Blavatnik [Access Industries/AI-Altep], who in 2015-2016 pumped $6.35M into @GOP PACs, w/ millions going to top GOP leaders including McConnell, Rubio & Graham and in 2017 poured $1M into to McConnell's Senate Leadership Fund.
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^ The extent of Russian infiltration in many state election systems remains unclear. Obama's DHS Sec wanted to declare the systems as national critical infrastructure in Aug 2016 [giving fed gov’t broader powers to intervene] but @GOP balked.
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Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
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Re: Inside the World of Cambridge Analytica

Postby stillrobertpaulsen » Tue Apr 10, 2018 5:45 pm

seemslikeadream » Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:12 pm wrote:
Cambridge Analytica boss Alexander Nix dined with two of Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign advisers in 2015


Are there any friends of Nix's that aren't friends of Trump? :sarcasm
"Huey Long once said, “Fascism will come to America in the name of anti-fascism.” I'm afraid, based on my own experience, that fascism will come to America in the name of national security."
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Re: Inside the World of Cambridge Analytica

Postby Grizzly » Tue Apr 10, 2018 6:01 pm

https://www.reddit.com/r/conspiracy/comments/8b8c1z/ocasio2018_mark_zuckerberg_plans_on_giving_of_all/
Mark Zuckerberg plans on giving, of all people, the *Koch Brothers* “unprecedented access” to Facebook data? This is dangerous. The Koch brothers have been working for decades to impose their ideology in our elections. How is this in any way appropriate? (twitter.com)
If Barthes can forgive me, “What the public wants is the image of passion Justice, not passion Justice itself.”
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Re: Inside the World of Cambridge Analytica

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Apr 10, 2018 6:05 pm

do you have a source for that please?
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
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Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2005 11:28 pm
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Re: Inside the World of Cambridge Analytica

Postby Grizzly » Fri Apr 13, 2018 12:56 am

https://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/prnewswire/press_releases/California/2018/04/09/DC59875

Hewlett, Knight, Koch foundations, with other funders, will support independent research on Facebook's role in elections and democracy

https://gritpost.com/facebook-data-koch-brothers/
Facebook Will Give Koch Brothers ‘Unprecedented Access’ to Our Personal Information
If Barthes can forgive me, “What the public wants is the image of passion Justice, not passion Justice itself.”
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Re: Inside the World of Cambridge Analytica

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Apr 13, 2018 8:09 am

Revealed: Aleksandr Kogan collected Facebook users' direct messages

People who logged into This Is Your Digital Life shared their news feed, timeline, posts and messages

Carole CadwalladrLast modified on Fri 13 Apr 2018 05.21 EDT
Aleksandr Kogan collected direct messages sent to and from Facebook users who installed his This Is Your Digital Life app, the Guardian can reveal. It follows Facebook’s admission that the company “may” have handed over the direct messages of some users to the Cambridge Analytica contractor without their express permission. The revelation is the most severe breach of privacy yet in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

The social network admitted to the transfer of data in its warning to users whose friends had installed the This Is Your Digital Life app, which harvested data from not only the installer, but also all their friends on the site.

“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,” the company told affected users.

The statement appears to echo previously unreported claims made by Christopher Wylie, the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower. Wylie told the Observer that he had seen a table, produced by Kogan, that included private messages. It remains unclear whether GSR, Kogan’s company, or Cambridge Analytica ever used the messages to build any targeting models.

Kogan declined to comment, referring the Guardian to an interview with the New York Times in which he said his app collected information from a “couple thousand” people, and that the data “was obviously sensitive so we tried to be careful about who could access it”.

Kogan told the New York Times that he took messages only from people who had installed his app, not their friends, and that none of the information was shared with Cambridge Analytica.

For users who did not install the app, only their messages with the friend who had actively installed the app could have been shared, owing to the specific functionality offered by Facebook at the time. But those users would not have been offered any opportunity to opt out of the data sharing, since Facebook required the mailbox owner only to consent to uploading the entire contents, both sent and received.

For the users who did install the app, potentially their entire mailbox history was uploaded. Those users, however, would have been explicitly notified – through a simple clickthrough panel listing all the permissions they were handing over – that they were granting mailbox access.

The potential that Facebook may have handed over direct messages was first publicly highlighted in late March by Jonathan Albright, a professor at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism. On 21 March he noted that apps such as Kogan’s “could also request users’ private messages [ie their Facebook DM inbox] via the ‘read_mailbox’ API request”. Albright said at the time that Facebook should “immediately” share the API access that it had granted Kogan, as well as whether or not private messages were collected.

Speaking yesterday, Albright said: “Have to admit, I didn’t expect private DMs/messages to show up in people’s CA notifications today … Might explain why FB late getting these [notifications] out?”

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/201 ... are_btn_tw
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They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
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Re: Inside the World of Cambridge Analytica

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Apr 13, 2018 4:52 pm

Two Democrats Accuse Cambridge Analytica CEO Of Misleading House Committee In Still-Secret Testimony

Alexander Nix answered "no" to a question about whether Cambridge Analytica had obtained bulk data from Facebook.

Thomas FrankApril 13, 2018, at 9:01 a.m.
Alexander Nix has been suspended as Cambridge Analytica CEO.


Two Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee have told BuzzFeed News that the head of the embattled political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica misled the committee last year when he denied that his company had obtained millions of personal records through Facebook.

Alexander Nix’s disputed testimony is likely to intensify pressure in Washington for more information on the role Cambridge Analytica played in Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, including whether Trump’s digital operation gave data to Russians to help them target US voters through social media.

Special counsel Robert Mueller reportedly has sought emails of Cambridge Analytica employees who were assigned to the Trump campaign. Any effort by the Trump campaign to help Russia could fit into Mueller’s broad investigation into possible coordination between the two.

Nix’s testimony to the committee in December has not been made public. But Reps. Mike Quigley and Joaquin Castro, who are Democratic members of the committee, both said they believe he was dishonest when he was asked whether Cambridge Analytica had obtained its data from Facebook.

“His testimony was at odds with the truth,” Quigley told BuzzFeed News.

Castro said, “Cambridge Analytica has not been honest with us.” If Nix is proven to have deliberately lied, “charges should be pursued against him,” Castro said.

Both Quigley and Castro declined to describe Nix’s exact comments. But a source close to the committee read notes to BuzzFeed News of an exchange in which a Democratic staffer asked Nix, “Has Cambridge Analytica acquired bulk data through Facebook?”

“No, it has not,” Nix replied, according to the notes.

“Did Cambridge Analytica use any other third-party data that was not purchased?”

“As far as I’m aware, it did not,” Nix said.

A third Democrat on the committee, California Rep. Eric Swalwell, would not characterize Nix’s testimony, but told BuzzFeed News, “His answers need to be tested by obtaining third-party data and interviewing people who worked around him” — something that's unlikely to happen now that Republicans have shut down the committee's Russia investigation.

Nix faced allegations of dishonesty three weeks ago when a British official said he “deliberately misled” officials in the United Kingdom over Cambridge Analytica’s use of Facebook data. Cambridge Analytica suspended Nix as its CEO on March 20, after a British TV station aired footage of him offering to entrap a political candidate by sending women to his house.

The allegations against Nix could signal additional trouble for Cambridge Analytica as it reels from a global scandal over its improper acquisition of Facebook data on 87 million people, including 71 million in the US.

The outrage against Facebook for failing to protect its users’ privacy has largely overshadowed Mueller’s interest in the company and its role in helping Trump’s digital operation target voters for narrowly tailored messages and ads.

In testimony before Congress this week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg faced withering questioning about the company’s inability to protect users’ privacy.

But US investigators of election meddling in the 2016 presidential race are more interested in how Cambridge Analytica might have been involved in Russia’s efforts.

A US intelligence community report on the 2016 election found that the Kremlin’s meddling included social media attacks on Trump opponent Hillary Clinton. More recently, two ties between Cambridge Analytica and Russia have emerged: Cambridge Analytica’s British parent, SCL Group, had contacts in 2014 and 2015 with Russian oil giant Lukoil, which had expressed interest in targeting US voters; and Aleksandr Kogan, the UK-based data scientist who helped Cambridge Analytica get Facebook records, did research at St. Petersburg State University in Russia.

Rep. Eric Swalwell of California.

“We know that a big part of the Russian interference campaign was hacking and weaponizing social media, and a big part of what Cambridge Analytica did was using social media to deliver the candidate’s [Trump’s] message,” Swalwell said. “Knowing that Cambridge Analytica was willing to use inappropriately obtained data to help the Trump campaign, I think it’s fair to pursue whether they were willing to work with Russia.”

Cambridge Analytica and the Trump campaign have denied using the company’s Facebook records during the 2016 presidential election or sharing them with Russians. Democrats say Nix’s testimony shows that Cambridge Analytica officials can’t be trusted.

“We need to understand how Cambridge Analytica acquired all the data from Facebook, whether they shared it or sold it to third parties, and how they used it, including its use with any political campaigns,” Castro said.

Nix’s answers to the committee could be seen as technically correct because Cambridge Analytica did not get Facebook records directly from Facebook. Rather, Cambridge Analytica received the Facebook records from a company, Global Science Research, that had acquired records of millions of Facebook users with a personality quiz application.

In addition, Nix was technically accurate when he said Cambridge did not use "third-party data that was not purchased" because Cambridge paid Global Science Research for its Facebook records.

An intelligence committee Democrat acknowledged that Nix might have been accurate, but said "he was being less than candid."

Intelligence committee Democrats plan to interview Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie, who recently revealed the company’s improper acquisition of Facebook users’ personal data. Although Republicans ended the committee’s official probe of the 2016 election with no finding of collusion, Democrats are continuing an inquiry and plan to release their own report.

House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes did not respond to a request for comment, nor did committee Republicans Reps. Mike Conaway, Trey Gowdy, Peter King, and Frank LoBiondo.

The committee’s ranking Democrat, Adam Schiff, pointed to previous comments he’d made in which he said he had “serious questions about the truthfulness of Mr. Nix’s testimony” in light of TV news footage showing him belittling the committee and explaining his use of self-deleting emails. Schiff declined to comment on whether he believed Nix should be referred to the Justice Department on charges of lying to the committee.

It’s disputed whether the Trump campaign used Cambridge Analytica’s Facebook records to target voters through social media campaigns.

Nix was recorded by a British TV crew working undercover saying that “our data informed all the strategy.”

“We did all the research, all the data, all the analytics, all the targeting,” Nix told the TV crew, which was posing as a prospective client. “We ran all the digital campaign, the television campaign, and our data informed all the strategy.”

In the same TV segment, Nix belittled the House Intelligence Committee. “Republicans asked three questions,” Nix said. Although Democrats “asked two hours of questions,” Nix dismissed them, saying, “They’re politicians, they’re not technical. They don’t understand how it works.”

Brad Parscale, the Trump campaign’s digital director, has dismissed Nix’s comments as self-aggrandizement. He has said the campaign used voter databases compiled by the Republican National Committee — not from Cambridge Analytica — and that Cambridge Analytica only analyzed them. Trump recently named Parscale manager of his 2020 reelection campaign.

Cambridge Analytica said in a recent statement that after being hired by the Trump campaign in June 2016, “the company initially used its own commercial and political data,” which did not include Facebook records. Starting in August 2016, Cambridge Analytica used data from the RNC, polls, commercially available consumer records and the campaign’s own records of donors and volunteers.

“We used the data to identify ‘persuadable’ voters, how likely they were to vote, the issues they cared about and who was most likely to donate,” the company’s statement says. Cambridge Analytica also built a poll-tracker and helped develop targeted advertising.

The company did not respond to a request for comment on Nix and his testimony to the House Intelligence Committee.

But two statements by campaign officials, not widely reported previously, suggest that Cambridge Analytica did more than just analyze records and may have used its own data to target voters.

Theresa Hong, the Trump campaign’s digital content director, told the British Broadcasting Company in August that Cambridge Analytica researchers “collected data” to find groups of voters with common interests to be targeted with issue-specific online ads.

“They’ve collected data and they have identified as working mothers that are concerned about child care,” Hong told a BBC reporter as she played a campaign ad showing families with young children. It’s unclear what data Hong is referring to. She did not return phone calls and emails.

At a forum in December 2016 on the election, Matt Oczkowski, head of product at Cambridge Analytica, said his company’s database helped target voters.

“On the targeting piece, we’re talking about building a database, working with the RNC, working with the [Trump campaign’s] Alamo database … and then leveraging Cambridge’s database,” Oczkowski said. “Combining those three things, we’re talking about building partisanship models, turnout models, persuadable voters, 12 different issue sets — the basic building blocks you need from a campaign.”

Oczkowski told BuzzFeed News that his comment about “leveraging” referred to work he and other Cambridge Analytica employees were doing analyzing the Trump campaign’s own data for voter-targeting.

“There was no commingling between Cambridge Analytica database that existed at headquarter and the Trump campaign database in San Antonio,” Oczkowski said. He left Cambridge Analytica last year and formed his own email marketing firm.

“I don’t know if we can conclude that this shows the Trump campaign made use of Cambridge Analytica’s stolen data,” said Brendan Fischer of the Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan group focused on election law. But the campaign may have benefited indirectly from the pirated Facebook records, Fischer added.

“One of the things they [Cambridge Analytica] used the stolen data for was to make more effective models, to identify the traits or characteristics that would allow certain messages to resonate more,” Fischer told BuzzFeed News. “If Cambridge Analytica used the stolen data to develop more effective modeling and then applied it to the RNC or Trump campaign data, that presents a way for the Trump campaign to have benefited from the stolen data.”

https://www.buzzfeed.com/thomasfrank/tw ... .iddEwqa02
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
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Don’t forget that.
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Re: Inside the World of Cambridge Analytica

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Apr 17, 2018 8:04 am

Cambridge Analytica:

Hadas Gold‏Verified account @Hadas_Gold

The recordings were taken by Dr. Emma Briant while she was researching a book about media bias and the Trump election. The UK committee compelled her to give this as evidence – she also included this essay

https://www.parliament.uk/documents/com ... Essays.pdf

In new audio recordings submitted as evidence to U.K. committee, SCL ceo Nigel Oakes (parent company of Cambridge Analytica) compares Trump rhetoric to Hitler’s.

Clip 8

Nigel Oakes: Nazi methods of propaganda
Emma Briant: It didn’t matter with the rest of what he’s [Donald Trump] saying, it didn’t matter if he is alienating all of the liberal women, actually, and I think he was never going to get them anyway.
Nigel Oakes: That’s right
Emma Briant: You’ve got to think about what would resonate with as many as possible.
Nigel Oakes: And often, as you rightly say, it’s the things that resonate, sometimes to attack the other group and know that you are going to lose them is going to reinforce and resonate your group. Which is why, you know, Hitler, got to be very careful about saying so, must never probably say this, off the record, but of course Hitler attacked the Jews, because… He didn’t have a problem with the Jews at all, but the people didn’t like the Jews. So if the people… He could just use them to say… So he just leverage an artificial enemy. Well that’s exactly what Trump did. He leveraged a Muslim-I mean, you know, it’s-It was a real enemy. ISIS is a real, but how big a threat is ISIS really to America? Really, I mean, we are still talking about 9/11, well 9/11 is a long time ago.

This interview was conducted by Dr Emma L Briant, University of Essex
https://www.emptywheel.net/2018/04/16/s ... ent-733824



Three Explanatory Essays Giving Context and Analysis to Submitted Evidence Part 1: Cambridge Analytica,  and Trump's 'Big Lie'
the Artificial Enemy
By Emma L. Briant, University of Essex
Last week, whistleblowers, including former Cambridge Analytica research director
Chris Wylie, exposed much of the hidden workings behind the Cambridge Analytica
digital strategy funded by the Mercers which empowered the US far right and their
Republican apologists, and revealed CA’s involvement in the “Brexit” campaign in the
UK. Amid Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix’s gaslighting and deflection after
Trump’s election victory, few questions about this powerful company have been
answered.
As a propaganda scholar, I have spent a decade researching SCL Group, a
conglomerate of companies including Cambridge Analytica who did work for the Trump
campaign. Following the US election, I used the substantial contacts I had developed to
research an upcoming book. What I discovered was alarming. In this and two other
linked explanatory essays, I discuss my findings concerning the involvement of these
parties in Brexit (See Part 2) and Cambridge Analytica’s grossly unethical conduct
enacted for profit (See Part 3). I draw on my exclusive interviews conducted for my
upcoming book What’s Wrong with the Democrats? Media Bias, Inequality and the rise
of Donald Trump (co-authored with George Washington University professor Robert M.
Entman) and academic publications on the EU referendum, and my counter-terrorism
research.
Due to my expertise on this topic, I was compelled by the UK Electoral Commission,
Information Commissioners Office and the Chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Committee's Fake News Inquiry Damian Collins MP to submit information and research
relating to campaigns by SCL, Cambridge Analytica and other actors. Statements from
my research interviews with staff at Cambridge Analytica (CA), SCL personnel or
otherwise related to their campaigns were submitted in evidence to the Inquiry. It is
essential therefore that I comment on and contextualize what are academic research
interviews. I discuss the evidence I submitted here in three accessible explanatory texts.
The interviews submitted in evidence address key questions and illustrate the unethical
nature of this company’s practices. Cambridge Analytica promotes itself as a “data-
driven” company and there has been much debate over how data was obtained and
used in the US election, including use of personality tests and ‘psychographic targeting’.
Regarding this, the Director of Business Development Brittany Kaiser said, “
What they used certain campaigns and what they didn't, it's hard to say, but all of our data, you
1
know, that [...] was used for everything, whether or not we actually did psychographic groupings or not, it doesn't change the fact that we undertook to those quant surveys and that was put into our data set. And then some of those, some of those, uh, variables were used in our models. So in general you would say everything was used in everything but [...] not to the extent that I think some people had prophesized.”
not just dividing up an audience along the lines of gender or what you’ve bought, but along the lines of
the disposition – the psychological profile of those audiences.”
(Interview: Kaiser/Briant, 4th March 2018). We now know from Chris Wylie that data
they used was harvested in unethical ways and hoarded to analyse, ‘microtarget’, and
change audience behaviour, all enabled by Facebook’s business model. CA Chief data
officer Alex Tayler has explained that psychological analysis is used for “
Regulation is failing to
keep up with the rapid progression of coordinated data-driven propaganda powered by
AI and augmented with insights from neuroscience and psychology, this should raise
alarm for us all.
Use of Data and Psychological Tests
CEO Alexander Nix first claimed CA deployed personality-driven 'psychographic'
techniques for Trump, but later denied this saying the methods were used only for Ted
Cruz and foreign and commercial campaigns. I asked Vice President of Global Media at
CA Molly Schweikert about this and she denied they used OCEAN tests for the US
election, reported elsewhere (
an acronym for openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, neuroticism) (Interview: Schweikert/Briant, 17th November
2017). Data scientist Alexander Kogan worked with Cambridge Analytica and pulled data on Facebook users using personality tests.
When I asked how they research
people's values, Kaiser told me their psychological research on US citizens goes
beyond OCEAN which has been discussed widely elsewhere. She said they deploy “a
combination of different tests that, that were designed by a psychologist. So obviously
the ocean [...] tests, which I'm, you know, plenty about, but there were different surveys
that we were undertaking in order to understand like emotionality attachments and
values and all of this stuff where, you know, instead of, instead of just asking, um, you
know, ocean survey based questions, you know, they'd be things like, you get along
well with children to believe in the importance of art. Do you see yourself as a leader in
the community? So you'd like to, you know, give back to charity, like stuff like that
where you can start to probe different psychological traits that aren't just personality.”
(Interview: Kaiser/Briant, 4th March 2018).
analysed ‘the dark triad’:
psychopathy, narcissism and machiavellianism. In the 2016 election, Cambridge
Analytica produced messages engineered to maximise emotional and psychological
Some of these tests
impact, utilizing divisive rhetoric and lies where they could be most electorally effective.
2
Kaiser told me the company emerged at the right time to provide a new service for the
Republican Party:
“when I first went [...] with Alexander to the US. [...] The Republicans, almost everyone I went to see had never seen technology like this. If they did, they had bought like a basic license of I360 or had used some Datatrust data, which was great, but they never had like this full, like N10 integrated solution. They had never used data to inform the creative. [...] They would use it segment people and then they would decide themselves what those segments wanted to hear. So... it was never. It never used models that informed what the message should be, which is the whole point of having psychographic models, understanding what different groups of people want to hear. Otherwise, they were using models to be like, OK, well if somebody is, you know, young and cares about the environment, then they must obviously like this type of messaging or if they're older and they care about gun rights and they've never voted before, then maybe this is good for them. But it's guesswork. It's not science.” (Interview: Kaiser/Briant, 4th March 2018).
There has been comparatively less revealed so far of other related companies and the
parent company, SCL Group Ltd. The CEO and founder of SCL, Nigel Oakes, set up
SCL Elections and CA with, and to be led by, his close SCL business partner Alexander
Nix (Wendy Siegelman and Ann Marlowe have illustrated the company structures here).
Oakes is an ‘old school’ PR man and a bit dismissive of the new big data techniques
that Nix’s side of the business sells for political campaigns. He sees them as ‘very
powerful’ but still in their 'infancy' and for him the real value comes from a social science
framework that underpins the work of all the companies. In defence and politics alike,
SCL Group sought to put a pseudo-academic spin on their work as they expanded in a
highly competitive industry a facade that obscured dirty tactics.
Having ‘the balls’ to Target the Innocent
The Channel 4 expose reveals Cambridge Analytica derived their power from a
willingness to abuse it, targeting the vulnerable, hacking, and entrapping opponents. In
the US election Oakes told me, with a tone of admiration, that they recognized the
power in Trump’s message
, “...when we explain in the two-minute lift pitch what happened with Trump... you can forget all the micro-targeting and micro-data whatever
and come back to some very very simple things which is: Trump had the balls, really the balls to say what people wanted to hear.” (Interview: Oakes/Briant, 24th November 2017).
3
CA’s political campaigns hinged on lies, and Oakes recognized this and understood it was not without victims. Indeed Oakes knew the kind of false messaging they were deploying has had victims before. He told me,
“sometimes to attack the 'other' group, and know that you're gonna lose them, is going to reinforce or resonate your group, which is why, Hitler... I've got to be very careful about saying so... you must never say this... off the record, but... of course, Hitler attacked the Jews because... he didn't have a problem with the Jews at all. But the people didn't like the Jews... so if the people thought... [...] He could just use them to say... so he just leveraged an artificial enemy, well it's exactly what Trump did. He leveraged a Muslim- I mean, you know, it's... it was a real enemy... ISIS or whatever... but how big a threat is ISIS really to America? I mean, really? I mean, we're still talking about 9-11, well 9-11 is a long time ago.' (Interview: Oakes/Briant, 24th November 2017 Original Emphasis - this interview excerpt has been published in parliamentary evidence).
While, of course, ISIS and their terrorism posed a very real threat within Iraq and Syria and have been responsible for a massive humanitarian crisis, a report by the US Government Accountability Office shows that from Sept. 12, 2001, to Dec. 31, 2016, there were 85 deadly attacks by homegrown violent extremists of which 62 were by far right extremists.
Rhetoric of a ‘Muslim threat’ to Western countries has been used repeatedly by politicians to argue for immigration controls, increased defense spending for counter- terrorism abroad, and for domestic programs deployed to ‘counter’ oft-exaggerated threats. Oakes
NO: '[Trump] also said ridiculous things like, we're going to ban Muslims from coming into the country because I'm sick of people taking machine guns and pointing them at schools... and our children... and our children are the most important thing... Well there's never been a Muslim, ever that's put a gun on an American school, but it seems to-'
EB: it's the perception
NO: '-yeh, that's terrorism, and they must be Muslims, and there've been a lot of shootings... They're all Americans doing the shootings! And people go 'Yeah, fuck, it's our children! [...] And so you've got Hillary Clinton going 'We're going to increase the fiduciary financial spending and four percent growth in our area.....' and people go 'well, you know, good luck with that... I wanna build a wall...'' (Interview: Oakes/Briant, 24th November 2017).
joked about Trump manipulating and reinforcing Americans' false belief
that Muslim migrants are a threat to their country, a myth propagated extensively on the
right of American politics:
4
While, according to Oakes, “all the micro-targeting and micro-data whatever” helped the messaging reach the right people, he also shows cynical awareness that what CA was disseminating, Trump’s statements about Muslims, were calculated and harmful lies. In Oakes' statements, truth is for those who don’t have ‘the balls’ to lie in order to win — citizens are reduced to levers and tools, and value is placed only in fetishizing the levers of power. The most extreme manipulations are admired for their Machiavellian ruthlessness with no empathy for the victims.
Prior to establishing SCL, Oakes was quoted in a 1992 interview about marketing saying that, ‘We use the same techniques as Aristotle and Hitler’ in appealing to emotions. Oakes’ belief that Hitler “didn’t have a problem with the Jews” and his shocking enthusiasm for what he considers comparable techniques in Trump’s deployment of a propaganda strategy built on religious persecution against another group he recognizes as innocent, offers insight into both his character and this approach to political campaigns.
Oakes evokes in his comments, Hitler's ”big lie” conspiracy theory from Mein Kampf; Hitler’s lie presented Germany as “innocent, besieged” and under attack by the artificial enemy he created — an international Jewish conspiracy, an idea then repeated in Nazi propaganda as they carried out the holocaust (Herf, 2005). Oakes understands the significance of comparing the messaging CA put out for Trump to Hitler's disinformation. He told me that Trump secured political control by manipulating an artificial fear of an innocent “other” — his messaging then propagated by CA and supposedly ‘independent’ but coordinated groups. Their methods may seem extreme, but the propaganda themes only resonated because they echoed false beliefs and simplistic explanations for inequality and global insecurity that have been widely disseminated, especially by Republicans, in US politics and ideological media.
The “othering” Oakes refers to has not suddenly emerged since 9/11. Islamophobic sentiment has increased as a byproduct of political and media rhetoric emphasising “threat” to justify the intractable “war on terror,” the politically unpopular Iraq War, domestic mass surveillance, and countless other incursions on civil liberties and human rights deployed in the name of “security.”
A sustained, politically motivated campaign of media coverage in both the U.S. and Britain has blamed refugee victims of these wars for the violence inflicted upon their citizens by terrorists. It portrays them as a threat, as criminal and as economically
Propaganda, fear mongering and dog whistles to racism are not new in American
politics.
5
motivated and deceitful (see my co-authored book Bad News for Refugees for example).
The ‘War on Terror’ conflicts which fueled public fears and fed this “othering” rhetoric also provided crucial early contracts on which Oakes built SCL’s business. Oakes set up the Behavioural Dynamics Institute, a research facility which both SCL and CA would later draw on (Interview: Oakes/Briant, 24th November 2017) to help develop their influence techniques. I discuss SCL and BDI's “War on Terrorism” role more fully in my last book, Propaganda and Counter-terrorism.
CA’s violations of ethical conduct and use of potentially illegal activities (revealed by award-winning journalist Carole Cadwalladr, with The Guardian and Channel 4) to bring Trump to power represent an onslaught on democracy and against ordinary Americans’ civil rights. This “othering” strategy deployed against artificial enemies and often targeting people’s deepest fears, was accompanied by a surge in anti-Muslim attacks recorded by the FBI, activist groups, and journalism organizations during Trump's campaign.
African Americans and Mexicans were also easy targets for Trump. Oakes, mocked the simplicity of the message compared to the Democrats’ dry miscommunications:
‘We all thought it was a joke every time he said it. He says that we’re going to put up a wall... for the Mexicans... and we were all ‘you can’t say that!’ you know, that’s loony!’ And then we’re gonna get the Mexicans to pay for it, and the Mexican President’s going ‘I’m not bloody paying for any of it!’ But it didn’t matter because in the Rust States the guys were saying ‘look, I’ve got people, the Mexicans coming across illegally, not paying any tax [...] And [...] he didn’t say ‘we’re going to redress the...’ he said ‘we’re gonna build a wall and keep these fuckers out!’ (Interview: Oakes/Briant, 24th November 2017 original emphasis).
There is little to enforce ethical conduct on digital propaganda strategies now emerging.
Hacking and Propaganda
Accompanying prolific lying and the explosion of “computational propaganda” used by the Trump campaign and Cambridge Analytica, they also aimed to exploit the series of exposed emails from the DNC (Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta was hacked on March 19, 2016) and the ongoing investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email
Using CA’s media strategy, Trump’s false racist and Islamophobic comments,
resentment and fear were deployed where they would be most effective — mobilizing
swing state audiences, using voters’ personal data to monitor them, and using
psychological profiling to manipulate their emotional responses en masse.
6
server. While the DNC hack was attributed by US intelligence agencies to Russia, which the Russian Government denied (US National Intelligence Council, 2017). Importantly, Brittany Kaiser was involved in establishing CA’s relationships with Black Cube hackers who hacked emails for the Nigerian elections, a campaign which also used content where people were being dismembered and apparently murdered to terrify and intimidate voters.
CA sought cooperation with Wikileaks to aid distribution of the leaked DNC emails. Nix publicly stated they approached Assange in early June 2016 but recently insisted at the UK Fake News Inquiry for which I submit this evidence that he has “never spoken to them.” This is unlikely as Nigel Oakes, told me that, "Alexander, if he got the release... of the Hillary Clinton emails it would have dramatically pushed her down in the polls. But there’s nothing wrong with that... that’s perfectly legitimate, Julian Assange was releasing things every day and Alexander rang up and said, you know, ‘Any chance we can help you release the Hillary Clinton things?’” (Interview: Oakes/Briant, 24th November 2017).
Testimony by Glenn Simpson to the House Intelligence Committee indicated Nigel Farage may have provided Assange with the original USB stick. In his testimony Simpson claims WikiLeaks was part of a "somewhat unacknowledged relationship" between the Trump team and the "UKIP people." The FBI investigation has been scrutinizing CA’s interactions with Wikileaks, Russian ties, and whether CA knew more.
Assange tweeted in 2017 confirming
When asked about the wisdom in attempting to help Assange given the leaks may have come from
Russian sources, Oakes said “At the time, at the time, you didn’t know there was an- ... that anyone’s ever going to mention the Russians.” He continued defending the decision to approach Assange saying the Russians weren’t yet in the media, “In hindsight ... remember, this is 18 months before ... and it was a year before the election. No-one had been in the press.” (Interview: Oakes/Briant, 24th November 2017).
Oakes’ claims their contact with Assange may have been 12 –18 months before the November 2016 election, far earlier than Nix stated and before they were working on the campaign, raises questions of a longer term relationship with Assange. The dates he claims would mean that CA was in contact before Assange released the archive in March 2016. Now indicted by the FBI, Gen. Flynn, who formerly held an advisory role at Cambridge Analytica, also may have tried to facilitate this.
“an approach by Cambridge Analytica [prior to
November last year] and can confirm that it was rejected by WikiLeaks.”
7
Nigel Oakes told me how SCL began working with Flynn, the connection made by “The chief executive of SCL group US [...] a guy called Josh Veseche. He’s actually Sri Lankan. He worked for six years for Flynn and [...] we’ve done a lot of work with Flynn, with JIEDDO’ a Pentagon programme started in 2006 to tackle the problem of IEDs.” He continued, “We presented to, uh, the head of the strategic — he was called up in the Pentagon. He was the right hand man to their chief of staff and [...] this guy said you need to meet Flynn, and I was prepped to get onto the aeroplane that night to fly to the Bagram air base and actually to let JEIDDO back in, and so I said can I come back tomorrow, and the guy said, I’ve already briefed Flynn. Your contract starts tomorrow with JIEDDO, and we didn’t even meet--the first contract with Flynn we didn’t even meet to do.” (Interview: Oakes/Briant, 24th November 2017).
Recent discussions of fake news have focused on content and spread — and solutions
to manage it include censorship, blacklists, countering the content with government
propaganda, and a confusing multiplicity of fact checking sites. Some of these proposed
solutions challenge free speech and media freedom, complicating the issue for the
public.
Media responses largely ignore the powerful elites responsible for turning media flows
into an unsettling slurry of propaganda and making a mockery of democracy, as a
problem that’s too hard to address. And it is not just foreign elites’ propaganda that
threaten elections, it can be uncomfortable to interrogate power at home. It may not
surprise us to learn today that unethical campaigns were deployed by unethical people,
but the reporting on dark innards of the Trump-Mercer Republican machine has been
the most vital journalism we have seen since the start of this fetid campaign —
accountability matters.
Didn’t Obama do this too?
Nix claims at the Fake News Inquiry that “big data and predictive analytics in political
campaigns was something that was really championed by Obama’s campaign in 2008”
and “in 2012, the Democrats pioneered the use of addressable advertising technology
in order to improve the way that they use this data to target people as individuals”
to
justify CA's actions. While true, Nix also emphasised CA’s advancements and now
can't have it both ways. He may be drawing false equivalence.
Chris Wylie worked on the Obama campaign, a campaign known for transforming data-
driven targeting that also laid the groundwork for manipulative techniques with which
campaign contractors are now experimenting. Yet Brittany Kaiser, CA's director of
business development who worked on data for the 2008 Obama campaign is friends
with the data scientists who worked for Clinton and told me their campaign data
8
operations were very basic by comparison. Indeed, this is what attracted her to take the
She emphasised the extent of their use of data compared to the Democratic campaigns throughout the interview,
including the scale of their surveys of ”millions of people in the United States” and “Instead of considering, you know, thousands and thousands of data points and buying in licensing, commercial and lifestyle data from every source and even having people go down to getting like, you know, church group lists and everything for extra data points. I mean what we were doing was as far as you could possibly go... on their [Democrat] side [...] they were really relying upon, [...] past voting history [...] people's election data, more than other things. At least that's what they say. So I don't know if they would say that if it wasn't true, that'd be really strange.” (Interview: Kaiser/Briant, 4th March 2018).
It doesn't really make any sense when the reason why Trump won was because of the first time voters and disaffected voters, people who had not voted in a long time that were moved to come out. So if you're
spending all your time on people that have voted before and judging what they're going to do based on their past political engagement then that's just not right. It doesn't make any sense.” (Interview: Kaiser/Briant, 4th March 2018).
post at CA (Interview: Kaiser/Briant, 4th March 2018).
Kaiser explained that the parties used data differently, and Democrats did not exploit
personality and values to the same degree. “
Such methods and algorithms as CA deployed are ”black-boxed” and difficult to prove.
The CA press officer claimed the company ran a “traditional” campaign comparable to
the Democrats — CA has been backpedaling publicly, but Kaiser recently stressed to
me that the types and extent of data that CA uses are quite different.
Extensive evidence on unethically sourced data was presented by Wylie to the
Guardian, and even some skeptics about the uniqueness of CA's technology, Jay Pinho
for example, recognize the powerful significance of CA's use of misleading and
manipulative, grossly unethical tactics as setting them apart from Obama's campaign.
Fetishizing their specific technology will only promote its power. The point is how they
abused data (and people) for profit, the political impact of their campaign, and the
implications of rapid development in this area for the future for all our democracies.
CA played a fundamental role and helped the Trump campaign win the presidential
election, lift far-right views to heightened prominence, and give those views legitimacy.
Trump was aided by the Republican Party, and the blindness and complacency of elite
Democrats too distant to see the urgent need to address deepening inequality and
mount an effective response to mounting tensions. Democrats must recognize the need
to propose real solutions for inequality (Hacker & Pierson, 2016; Frank, 2016) — not
race for this new tech themselves.
9
Americans must strengthen regulatory and oversight systems from this experience to
ensure that their upcoming elections are transparent and ethically and democratically
deployed. We must prepare for a very different future and investigate further the
potential threat of commercial and political exploitation of our communication
environment and the emotions we reveal within it poses. Our data can reveal more
about us than we wish to think about; the potentials for harm in some capabilities cannot
be understated — machine learning can successfully identify markers of depression
from our Instagram photos for instance (Reece and Danforth, 2017) — as many declare
#metoo, post-Weinstein, it is not unlikely that future campaigns could seek to combine
these and similar data to exploit psychological wounds and trigger emotional responses.
We've mostly heard about Trump and Cruz, but CA also did work for John Bolton and Ben Carson, and
The extent of CA's work in US
politics is unclear but I asked Brittany Kaiser:
EB: How many did you work on in total then, with the small races?
BK: Oh my God, I can't - It's hard to even say, to be honest because, I mean I must have pitched ...hundreds of campaigns. The amount that we actually ended up working on is kind of hard to tell because sometimes when we would work for like a, a super pac or a state GOP, where technically our data and our work was going into like, you know, all of the campaigns in the state, but we weren't actually individually working for all those campaigns. You're just supporting them with our data, our models our creative strategy. So it's kind of difficult to measure individual clients versus the actual races that we were supporting in that kind of way. (Interview: Kaiser/Briant, 4th March 2018).
CAs research then informed the Trump campaign: “We basically built and experimented on so many different things because we had [...] the, the caucuses and state by state primaries [...] allowed us to really zone in on, [...] all of these different states and undertake very state specific research... and really have a good understanding of the different audiences and every state for those primaries. So I think it prepared us really well for him hitting the ground running in the Trump campaign.” (Interview: Kaiser/Briant, 4th March 2018).
In December 2017 A
Sam Patten told me he worked for CA on three races in Oregon, part
of a ‘trial run’ they did of several other campaigns before working for Cruz and Trump
(Interview: Patten/Briant, 23rd July 2017). He said matter-of-factly, “I’ve worked for
Ukraine, Iraq, I’ve worked in deeply corrupt countries, and our system, isn’t very
different” (Interview: Patten/Briant, 23rd July 2017).
lexander Nix stated that CA was moving away from US politics.
Yet, Molly Schweikert, global head of digital at CA, told me shortly before the
10
statements that CA still had current US political campaigns, it is unlikely they would
abandon existing commitments: “We have some engagements that we’re currently
working with, they’re current so I can’t speak directly to them...” (Interview:
Schweikert/Briant 17th November 2017).
The US and other democracies must urgently demand stronger protections for how data
is used. Modern data-driven propaganda is evolving rapidly and poses a real threat in
the hands of those who aim to exploit the vulnerable or crush their voices, while they
climb to power and wealth by deeply unethical means.
References:
Briant, Emma L (2015) Propaganda and Counter-terrorism: Strategies for Global Change, Manchester: Manchester University Press.
Hacker, J & Pierson, P (2016) American Amnesia: How the War on Government Led Us to Forget What Made America Prosper. Simon and Schuster.
Frank, Thomas. (2016) Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the
People? Metropolitan Books.
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Part 2: Cambridge Analytica: Backbone of Brexit
By Emma L. Briant, University of Essex
See also my previous essay Cambridge Analytica, the Artificial Enemy and Trump's 'Big Lie' that exposes the cynical deployment of a racist and Islamophobic strategy by then Candidate Donald Trump and Cambridge Analytica (CA), the Mercer-funded digital operation, and how it helped manipulate fear through smearing innocent people in order to seize his presidency.
This essay focuses on Cambridge Analytica’s relationship to Brexit, specifically Leave.EU. My findings reveal that Leave.EU deployed its cynical and calculating strategies using borrowed methods of Cambridge Analytica (CA), to win at all costs despite violence unfolding before their eyes. Leave.EU sought to create an impression of ‘democracy’ and a campaign channeling public will, while creating deliberately ‘provocative’ communications to subvert it and win by channelling hateful propaganda.
I conducted interviews with key leaders and employees of CA and Leave.EU in 2017 and 2018 as part of my primary research as an academic with specialism in research on migration and media narratives (See my co-authored book Bad News for Refugees). Findings of my interviews confirm that work was performed by CA for Leave.EU, and while the interviews were inconsistent on how far CA was involved in Leave.EU, they are illuminating in the light of questions raised by ongoing investigations of both.
1.
2. Did CA work on any of the Leave.EU campaign data and were CA methods used
(even if this was prior to the campaign)? 3.
Cambridge Analytica’s level of Involvement:
I interviewed Gerry Gunster, an American strategist who worked for Leave.EU, and questioned him on CA’s involvement and role with Leave.EU as follows:
GG: 'And then Cambridge Analytica, although they were involved early on, they they sort of gave a bit of a backbone on how to do behavioral targeting and micro-targeting... um, they didn’t actually do the execution, though, that was done...'
EB: So they didn’t do this like psychographic stuff that keeps being claimed?
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Some of the key questions regarding CA’s relationship with Leave.EU that I explored in
my research interviews included:
What was CA's level of involvement in the Leave.EU campaign?
What data was used in the Leave.EU campaign and how?
4. What parallels or cooperation existed with the Trump Campaign?
5. What methods were deployed in the Leave.EU campaign, how and by whom?

GG: 'No. They did not, no. I mean, they provided some backbone for how to do it and then a lot of it was just kind of handed over to the campaign staff.' (Interview: Gunster/Briant, 4th October 2017).
EB: You know, um, who was coming up with the actual messaging? Was that Cambridge Analytica?
GG: 'That was all of us.'
EB: That was all of you all together.
GG: 'That was us. That was me working with Aaron [Banks] and Andy [Wigmore] and everybody coming up with the messaging. I mean, Cambridge Analytica - They're nothing more than analytics. They're not messaging people... They're not campaign managers.'
EB: Yeah. Okay. I guess so. I guess so. So they just figure out the response. What did you call it?
GG: 'Yeh...behavioral targeting. And the optimization.'
(Interview: Gunster/Briant, 4th October 2017).
Gunster’s interview suggests that CA may have provided Leave.EU modelling or strategies they used to deploy the algorithms but did not participate in developing the messages used in the Leave.EU campaign. Gunster directed me to talk to Andy Wigmore the Communications Director for Leave.EU. and/or Arron Banks co-founder of the Leave.EU campaign.
I interviewed Andy Wigmore with Leave.EU in October 2017, and he shared, 'they [Cambridge Analytica] didn’t give us a little box of toys and say, there you are, have a go. They just said look, if-- you gotta prepare for this because if we come in, this is what we need and what we want -- we want to do it' (Interview: Wigmore/Briant, 4th October 2017).
Gunster confirms that CA provided Leave.EU with a 'backbone' and if this involved
communicating ‘how to do it’ as Gunster says, CA gave instruction on behavioural
targeting and micro-targeting, but he did not firmly say how Leave.EU actually used the
methods, and could not comment on whether this guided their messaging. Gunster,
later hints at the kinds of activities CA may have provided including analytics,
behavioural targeting and optimization:
Wigmore’s statements regarding CA have been inconsistent in public and within in his
interview with me. At times, he claimed their product wasn't very good, played down its
significance to Leave.EU (they 'weren't necessary, almost') and
yet praised them
('they
had an incredibly clever product') but he said that their methods for targeting were
useful to Leave.EU. On two different occasions Wigmore stressed that they copied CA:
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'if we got designated then yes they would have been but what we - they did tell us they were going to do was, probably yes - it probably was useful because we copied it. We didn't use them because we couldn’t and they didn’t - believe me they’re commercial. They wouldn’t do nothing for nothing, it would’ve cost us about six million quid if we was to hire them...' (Interview: Wigmore, 4th October 2017).
Wigmore also explains how they [Leave.EU] used CA’s method and how it was put into play by Arron Banks’ company, Eldon Insurance, actuaries directing the crucial CA inspired targeting for the campaign:
‘“So, some of the things they [Cambridge Analytica] did tell us, which were-- which were-- we did copy. And no question about that, is about, you know, these small clusters, this you need to find out in the - where these people are and what matters to them. And what we were able to deduce from that, and remember, um, ah, and as an insurance company you have actuaries that work for you. Actuaries are brilliant, they’re mathematicians. So if you give them a problem and you say right we want to look, here’s, here’s some stuff. What do you think of the probabilities. They will-- came up with the probabilities of the areas that were most concerned about the EU and we got that from our own actuaries. We had - we have four actuaries which we said right, tell us what this looks like from our data and they’re the ones that pinpointed the twelve areas in the United Kingdom that we needed to send Nigel Farage to.’ (Interview: Wigmore/Briant, 4th October 2017).
CA’s contribution to data use and campaign methods used by Leave.EU
Brittany Kaiser did the pitch for Leave.EU; in an American example, she told me the process for pitching involved examining data, telling them where they need to focus and that it included producing a plan:
‘it would be more like working with the heads of the Superpac to understand what data they had access to, what they wanted to achieve, what, what states [...] they thought they were going to concentrate on and if they didn't know, then we could look at our data and tell them where they needed to concentrate, know where, where their funding sources coming in and they're like, what was the budget that we would be able to- to use for digital, tv or whatever it was going to be. Then you could say, you know, based off of your internal capacity and the funding sources that you have in the data you already have access to, these are how many, you know, members of my team, you're going to need [...] this is how much you're going to spend on analytics on digital on television based on the budget you have. It's kind of like building out the plan so that you can write the proposal and contract and get a job.' (Interview: Kaiser/Briant, 4th March 2018 -
14
emphasis added). She said, ' I mean I was involved in that for, for almost everything we did besides Cruz' (Interview: Kaiser/Briant, 4th March 2018).
Kaiser expressed to me that CA promotes itself as a “data-driven” company using data that they collect to understand, model and change the behaviour of an audience; they certainly do ‘do messaging.’ In discussing the U.S., Brittany Kaiser told me 'the whole point of all of our research was to really seek to produce sets of models that could inform what you needed to say to people' (Interview: Kaiser/Briant, 4th March 2018).
When a company demonstrates these kinds of campaign tools work and how effective their
campaign would be, they have to do this by actually analysing data and building models. T
es states that while they did not get paid to work on the Leave.EU campaign, CA demonstrated their
method for them, and he shared that they 'had to do the work' and were 'fully engaged' before Leave.EU lost the official designation:
NO: There were two campaigns... there were four campaigns, two for the ‘for’... and two for ‘against’... and they had to fight internally to see who gets the money. And they were given equal money to try and make it as fair as possible. We were with the campaign that lost - that’s all it was. So we were fully engaged. And if we were going to work on it we would’ve worked on it and been paid by that campaign and that was all lined up and whatever but the truth was we lost. And we were not on the winning bid. So there was no contract and no money...
EB: Yeh, but there was also preparatory work I think... NO: But that’s not work...
EB: I was told that you guys did analytics...
Though Cambridge Analytica and Leave.EU continued to deny they worked together,
Kaiser has now publicly spoken out saying that their claims of no work being done are
not true.
The Leave.EU 'backbone' on how to target may have come from proof of method work
they did for the Leave.EU team before they lost the official designation bid.
hey would need to use data from that country - otherwise it may work in
another country with a very different population but be entirely culturally inappropriate
and ineffective for the new audience. Methods cannot be proven any other way.
I interviewed Nigel Oakes, the CEO of SCL Group (CA is part of the SCL Group, a
conglomerate of companies), and asked about CA’s role in Brexit. In particular, I
explored this question of preparatory work done involving Leave.EU's data while CA
was competing for the contract. In the exchange detailed below Oak
15
NO: What we did was we had to prove to the team, our bidding team... and we had to do the work so that our bidding team could present and to show that the quality of what they then had got.
EB: You had to prove your method...
NO: Yes. But there was no work that was done... so when Alexander Nix says we did not work on the campaign it’s absolutely the truth. There was no work we done on the cam- because none of this group [Vote Leave] used anything from the lost bid work...They didn’t say can we take all the work that you’ve done...and use it themselves because they hated each other. So... the press twist these things round into the most extraordinary machinations. (Interview: Nigel Oakes/Briant, 24th November 2017).
Here Oakes completely avoids the question of whether Leave.EU used the lost bid work,
'Importantly, CA have a relationship to the Canadian company who assisted Vote Leave, Aggregate IQ, coordination between the campaigns is prohibited. Andy Wigmore, interestingly referred to AIQ in interview as ‘SCL Canada’, a nod to that link (Interview: Oakes/Briant, 4th October 2017). Work conducted on the data, even if before the campaign, might conflict with campaign funding restrictions in the UK, and should have been declared. It might also be problematic if the work were funded by foreign donor, such as the Mercers who fund Cambridge Analytica. Also, given that they had done the proof of method for Leave.EU, it would be interesting to confirm whether they used their analytics and what data was worked on to give the campaign its 'backbone' as per Gunster's comments.
Recently, Wigmore has openly admitted that Cambridge Analytica offered to break the law for them “...they said look, you give us a million pounds and we'll get this campaign going and it will generate you six million pounds. So that was the scenario they suggested...they were convinced you could do it. But it was clearly illegal. Not only our lawyers said it but when the rules came out you could see you couldn't accept foreign donations. So we dismissed it.” In the same interview “Wigmore” gives contrasting explanations for why “Leave.EU” chose to send Nigel Farage where they did, and he doesn’t admit they copied CA. When J. J. Patrick asked him about the parallels between the Leave.EU approach and the CA methods, he sought to present himself as ‘naive’ - something he is not, having met him - ‘I pointed out this is exactly the same method Nix employs. “It is. But we found out by accident," Wigmore said.
CA's algorithms and modelling, for their media campaign. He corrects himself
mid-sentence and specifies that the campaign who got the official designation, Vote
Leave, hated Leave.eu and so did not use CA's modelling, but does not say if Leave.eu
used it which would be more logical if the models were developed for them.
16
Following The Trump Doctrine
It is clear that Leave.EU and the Trump campaigns deployed parallel strategies; with centrality of Facebook for Leave.EU and Twitter for Trump and obvious ideological parallels. Trump channelled resentment and fear on immigrant scapegoats as 'Drug dealers, criminals, rapists' and leveraged a Muslim ‘artificial enemy’ (Interview: Oakes/Briant, 24th November 2017 - this interview excerpt has been published in parliamentary evidence) in a manner that SCL CEO Nigel Oakes compared coldly to Hitler's propaganda against Jews. Interestingly, Leave.EU's Communications Director Andy Wigmore also mentioned the Nazis, and how Goebbels' propaganda strategy has value in a ‘pure marketing sense’ - if you can forget about the horrible killing they did:
‘You’d’ve studied this, you know, the propaganda machine of the the Nazis for instance, if you take away all the hideous horror, all that kind of stuff, it was very clever, the way they managed to do what they did. In its pure marketing sense you -oh ok! You can see the logic of how they presented things and the imagery, everything from that and think oh ok! And that is propaganda - ISIS... interestingly... uhhhh... (Interview: Wigmore/Briant, 4th October 2017)
Wigmore continues, drawing a parallel to the Brexit campaign:
‘I know- and well you know this of course you do- but looking at that in hindsight now having been at the sharp end of this campaign you think Crikey, this is not new. And it’s using the tools you have at the time... I think 2016 was unique, I don’t think you could ever repeat it. And I don’t think you could repeat the techniques you used in 2016, it was of its time. Twitter and Facebook...’ (Interview: Wigmore/Briant, 4th October 2017).
he only way we were going to get - make a noise, was to follow the Trump Doctrine which was, the more outrageous we are, the more attention we get and the more attention we get, the more outrageous we’ll be. And that’s exactly what we did. So our tiles were provocative and they were designed to be provocative and they got the attention. The amount of bollockings that we got.
EB: So you were copying Trump campaign?
AW: Completely, completely, completely. (Interview: Wigmore/Briant, 4th October 2017).
Although Trump’s campaign concluded after the Brexit vote, Andy Wigmore told me that
as the Leave.UK campaign progressed they were copying the Trump campaign’s
strategy to drive publicity by being provocative, a strategy that emerged in the U.S. as
the ‘Trump Doctrine.’ :
AW: T
17
Andy Wigmore explained that the Leave.EU team could see their strategy was having a negative impact and 'created a wave of hatred and um, racism and all this right movement, empowering all those things', then Jo Cox MP was stabbed by a Britain First terrorist. He saw it as paralleled by the spread of emboldened racism in the US:
AW: So [Nigel Farage] said, Right, if we keep immigration at the top of the debate, his “instinct said we would win. And the reason why we polled so much because we were so unsure constantly if we were doing the right thing, particularly when you have horrific incidents like Jo Cox. And you think wahhh that’s too much. And then the blame from the media: immigration, you’ve created a ... wave of hatred and um, racism and all this right movement, empowering -- all those things, which, you know, Trump’s experienced as well. We were very wahhh, maybe we have gone too far. (Interview: Wigmore/Briant, 4th October 2017)
However, this question did not, for them, become a question of ethics and morality, personal responsibility, or indeed national security:
AW: 'The only thing we can do to test that is take a look how, what the reaction... The London here is a very different country to the rest of the country. So, out there in the places where, where, you know, people were- had different ...reasons to the London - the Jo Cox thing was sad, dreadful, but it didn’t change their views. There was no shift on the dial as they call it. [...] So everything was going well up to that point. Even Nigel thought that was it, we’ve lost. And, um. The breaking point poster which remember we cooked up, he put up. Again, everything we did was tested.' (Interview: Wigmore/Briant, 4th October 2017).
Wigmore’s response echoes Oakes’ focus on levers of power, having ‘the balls’ to do what would win at all costs. The impact in this case was evaluated only on whether it was affecting their popularity with their supporters and whether the message was ‘working’ with the audience they were seeking to sway . If it 'worked' in exciting supporters then they would continue, regardless of believing they were having a negative impact on the country's domestic security by emboldening racists and the far right and stirring up tensions. Importantly, the engineers and strategists who created both the Trump and Brexit campaign propaganda had designed the propaganda to engage very specific emotions, with the most provocative content and manipulative methods they could harness. They have then, an interest in making the emotions they created seem spontaneous and pre-existing in the population. An interest in deflecting away from the actions they took to create and excite those emotions to a level where suppressed racism and implicit bias turned into explicit and expressed racism and even violent actions. In this narrative which arose several times in interviews, the will of the people existed already, public desire was simply channelled... the brexiteers, and
18
indeed Trump just gave voters what they already wanted. This framing allows them to create and reinforce despite their manipulative methods, the illusion of consent, and a fairly won campaign embodying democratic will.
19
Part 3: Cashing in on Dirty Tricks: Leave.EU, and SCL Group
By Emma L. Briant, University of Essex
See also my previous two essays. The first, Cambridge Analytica, the Artificial Enemy and Trump's 'Big Lie' exposes the cynical deployment of a racist and Islamophobic strategy by then Candidate Donald Trump and the Mercer-funded digital operation by Cambridge Analytica who helped to knowingly smear innocent people in order to seize his presidency at all costs; and the second, Cambridge Analytica: Backbone of Brexit, focuses on Cambridge Analytica’s relationship to Leave.EU during the ‘brexit’ campaign.
In this third essay I examine findings revealing the relationship between the companies,
examine business tactics for boosting profits across the linked SCL Group businesses,
illuminating a network of companies who promoted their campaigns in the West, while
hiding the unethical business deals in the developing world that this reputation helped
secure, all to drive up profits across the SCL Group. I also look at how Leave.EU, who
borrowed from Cambridge Analytica’s methodology then exploited the ‘Brexit’ campaign
Artificial Intelligence methods for profit in the Insurance Industry. I then look at the future
of influence and behavioural change; a propaganda industry few knew existed which is
flourishing and profiting from conflicts and corruption worldwide.
From Brexit there was money to be made, directly and indirectly. The Leave.EU
campaign was bankrolled by wealthy investors who tried to profit from Britain's post-
Referendum decline and instability. Among these Arron Banks shot onto the Rich-List
in 2017, with estimated £250M net worth thanks to his company Eldon Insurance
recording £16.7million underlying profits in the first six months of 2017. What Banks
used to propel himself there was the Artificial Intelligence techniques they developed
during the Brexit propaganda campaign. Importantly, Andy Wigmore
stated if they had won the designation, ‘we
would’ve been given data, not by Cambridge Analytica, by the Government, electoral
roll data which you can then use [...] Because Cambridge Analytica artificial intelligence
requires data - if you don’t have it, you can’t do it. So if we’d won the designation we
would have absolutely used them. But because um... we didn’t, we didn’t.’ - this implied
that they couldn’t do CA’s artificial intelligence because they didn’t have enough data
(Interview: Wigmore/Briant, 4th October 2017). Applied to insurance risk Banks has said
AI developed during the Leave.EU campaign meant they could 'profile the people we
want, and also the people we don't want.'
, former
Communications Director of Leave.EU,
Wigmore, having said they couldn’t do CA’s AI method as they didn’t have the data, excitedly explained to me how they developed
AI and used it for profit.
20
In Part 2 I explained that Leave.EU had Eldon Insurance employees deploy what they
learned from Cambridge Analytica (CA), four actuaries, two marketers and a graphics
team running (and learning from) the campaign all out of the same address, Lysander
House in Bristol, Leave.EU audited everything to then learn from it (Interview:
Wigmore/Briant, 4th October 2017). I was given evidence that revealed how little effort
was made to distinguish Eldon Insurance and Leave.EU. T
using Leave.EU’s data to illustrate how their insurance can profit
from the racially charged digital communication strategy of the Leave.EU campaign.
Another document shows how they used Leave.EU’s outputs for Eldon’s own purposes;
even the branding is identical (see second Leave.eu document).
‘profitability overview’
October 2017)
It raises the question of how they were able to apply the algorithms from their Leave.EU data --
which Wigmore claimed was quite limited (Interview: Wigmore/Briant, 4th October 2017) -- and apply this to their insurance data. It begs the question of whether they used the Eldon Insurance data for Leave.EU?
his document shows a
Wigmore told me ‘the referendum’s just finished. What we discovered, we were actually
quite bloody good at artificial intelligence. And we’ve applied what we learned in the
referendum to our business model for insurance. [...] So we’ve started an operation in
Ole Miss University in Mississippi which is the centre for artificial intelligence in the
world’ (Interview: Wigmore/Briant, 4th October 2017). Eldon’s AI methods apparently
were developed from what they did on the Leave.EU campaign but it is hard to imagine
how they would do this without using the same data (
He explained, ‘So you have a lot of data when you’re an insurer. And
that data is, it’s, there’s layers and layers and layers. You know, you have, [...] lifestyle
data, of course you do. You have, um, credit check data which of course you do. All
that data you put that together, the way you can actually then make risk against an
individual is incredibly strong.’ (Interview: Wigmore/Briant, 4th October 2017).
Interview: Wigmore/Briant, 4th
Wigmore shared that he had been working on this new venture for some time with a
data scientist in Mississippi, and eagerly told how powerful and lucrative it was: ‘So that
in artificial intelligence terms is the holy grail in insurance. So that was a byproduct of
what we discovered, brilliantly. And that’s all about data. That is all about data. So um,
that was - that was the upshot. So we’ve set this up in Mississippi. It’s been going for
nine months, we’ve been testing for twelve months now, testing all the insurance
against it and it’s extraordinary.’ (Interview: Wigmore/Briant, 4th October 2017).
Wigmore shared that the profits from applying the AI modelling drawn from their EU
Referendum experimentation was huge ‘Massive. Massive. Our loss ratios have
dropped by about 13 - 14%. And in - in insurance terms that’s millions of pounds.
Millions. Because what happens, for every pound of insurance you give someone, you
21
have to put two pounds into like an escrow account to cover just in case that person
ever makes a claim. It’s called solvency. Very dull, very boring. But, so if you imagine
now actually I only need to put a pound in against two pounds because we’re confident
that person isn’t going to make a claim...’ (Interview: Wigmore/Briant, 4th October
2017). Use of data and the relationship to UKIP, Eldon’s involvement in Banks'
investments in the campaign and 'dark money', possibly from Russia are all under
investigation by the Electoral Commission.
As I detailed in Part 2 “Cambridge Analytica: Backbone of Brexit”, these campaign methodologies were at least influenced in their targeting by what Leave.EU learned from Cambridge Analytica before the campaign began. If, as they claim, they weren't paid for their work, what did Cambridge Analytica and SCL themselves get out of what seems a generous gift to the campaign? Often with groups of companies they absorb costs and losses from one company which will overall benefit the group. Brexit generated heightened brand recognition which was lucrative for CA and SCL Group overall. This was aided by the reputational boost by media attention which often focused on the tools and their effectiveness rather than the ethics and abuses of power. While they did do the preparatory work, and apparently Leave.EU did borrow or learn from this, Alexander Nix then exaggerated CA’s role in Brexit to drive up notoriety that helped drive business. Profits shot up between 2015 and 2016 for related companies invested in Cambridge Analytica. As Nigel Oakes stated 'Alexander Nix has one down side, which I don’t agree with [...] He believes that all press is good press. And if he can keep the journalists saying ‘did they, didn’t they?’' - the company remains in the news boosting their global status. He recognised this wasn't a safe strategy, 'Yeh, and instead of saying ‘we did not do brexit, we were on the losing side’ he goes ‘well you know we were flirting with them and...’ and then everybody gets more interested... And then of course, you then have the Trump card at the end, cause it goes... of course we didn’t work with them... but he’s got 6 months of press out of it. And this is what has encouraged people to still come to us. (Interview: Nigel Oakes/Briant, 24th November 2017 - this interview excerpt is now published as parliamentary evidence). According to Wigmore and Gunster’s accounts in Essay 2 of my series, Leave.EU staff actually use some of what they had been shown by CA. The
Driving Unethical Business Deals
Trump's campaign in June 2016 shortly before the UK referendum went to Leave. Nix
Mercers pulled CA in to work on
claimed recently at the Fake News Inquiry that “we don't involve ourselves in the UK as
a rule of thumb.” but Alex Tayler, CA’s Chief Data Officer and now acting CEO was
happy to confirm to me they were working in the UK, particularly in Commercial and had
plans to expand in Political (Interview: Alex Tayler/Briant, 3rd November 2018).
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Who was Nix trying to attract with what seems like very negative press about their role
in Brexit? SCL Group, in which he is invested, have diversified their business with
many contracts under their defence, commercial and political arms, internationally. I
asked Oakes if the money had meant the company he started had been rebalanced
away from its roots in defence and towards commercial and political work and his
response confirmed '
But we shouldn't worry of course because Nix assures the Inquiry that 'we only
work in free and fair democracies'. This I found surprising, since Oakes mentioned to
me in one breath the advantages for defence, then next for political:
2017).
Yes, it has...' (Interview: Nigel Oakes/Briant, 24th November
NO: ‘I’ve got a Swedish contingent, business unit coming on Tuesday. They’re bringing 37 representatives to come and talk to us about... well we just wouldn’t be on the radar if we hadn’t been in the thing.... And you can imagine on the politics side, when people say ‘oh well these guys they got some pretty unethical ways of achieving their result’, well for the average President, they go ‘well that’s what we need! We’re going to lose another election’. So, you know, we have to play a very delicate line as well. About - You know, people are coming to us are not ethical... they are not saying we want to do this in the most - you know, Kenyatta and whatever... he’s saying that - I mean frequently people come to us and say ‘we’ve got so many dirty tricks against us, we need to know the dirty tricks to go back. Or we need to know how to counter the dirty tricks. And you guys seem to know how to do it!’
EB: Well what’s being talked about will sell...
NO: Well exactly, I mean, no company’s whiter than white but...’ (Interview: Nigel Oakes/Briant, 24th November 2017 - this interview excerpt is now published as parliamentary evidence).
This shows how clearly the SCL/CA businesses, arrogantly risked deeper investigation to the feed each others' profits and expansion. Exag
statements about what they did were Nix's deliberate strategy to use CA to drive up
geration and inconsistent
revenue for CA and other apparently 'unrelated' companies across the SCL Group.
Brittany Kaiser claims to be committed to humanitarian concerns yet played a key role
in many of SCL’s unethical international political campaigns, she said 'I had been paying
attention very much to what they were building for the Cruz campaign. And I had to
learn about all of that data, all of that because it was part of when I would be presenting
to international clients that wanted us to work in, you know, Lithuania or Nigeria or
wherever it was' (Interview: Kaiser/Briant, 4th March 2018). Oakes' acknowledgement
that their campaign was deployed unethically in Kenya is of note considering Cambridge
23
Analytica have been accused of exploiting divisions in a sensitive election that was
marred by violence.
It is important to note Oakes' frequent and repeated use of ‘we’ to discuss apparently
separate people and SCL Group companies he and Nix are connected to including CA.
that high-profile political work does... us a lot of good in terms of generating commercial interests, so it all feeds into each other' (Interview: Taylor/Briant, 3rd November 2018). Tayler
‘Propaganda and Counter-terrorism: Strategies for Global Change’ and I continue to write on this topic. Behavioural Dynamics Institute (BDI) is a research center of the SCL Group, Oakes serves as its Chairman and described its work as providing 'the magic'. BDI methods developed through work with academics and with DARPA, particularly during the Arab Spring 'we’ve been working with DARPA for some time because they like all of this fronted experimental stuff' and all SCL companies including CA draw on BDI for their methods (Interview: Nigel Oakes/Briant, 24th November 2017). Oakes told me that 'The BD methodology is now being taught right away across NATO. In fact, we’ve got a huge contract with what’s going on in Holland. [...] they’re literally setting up [...] commands to understand strategic communication and staffing them with people who understand social media and persuasion because in their view, this is going to be the new way of warfare [...] the Dutch and the Singaporeans are way ahead of everyone else on this' (Interview: Oakes/Briant, 3rd November 2018).
SCL were engaged in training for Britain’s 15th PSYOPS Group, and I submitted evidence also that prompts questions of whether work may have been done for JTRIG, Britain’s so-called digital ‘deception unit’.
Lee Rowland's specialism is the scientific advances in that area of influence, and on future directions he said that in, "20, 30 and 50 years’ time there's a lot we will be able to do ... this is where you should be looking, 2020 and 2030. Because some of the technology that's coming along is going to be incredible. You're going to be able to remotely derive and implement influence and behavioural campaigns... now I don't ethically approve of this, I just want to sketch out the possibilities... but... while I don't ethically approve of it... it IS going to happen... and we have seen some evidence of that with the recent Edward Snowden NSA case... What I'm writing about at the moment is the technological advances that are going to massively change the way that people are... influenced and the data we collect about people, often covertly." He clarified that he meant, "That you would be able to remotely... You must've heard of
Tayler said '
-- who also features in the Channel 4 expose film which led to
Nix stepping down -- has just stepped into Nix’s shoes as acting CEO.
I first interviewed Nigel Oakes and his colleagues about SCL’s defence work for my
book
Lee Rowland at the Behavioural Dynamics Institute (BDI) in 2013 about counter-
For another upcoming publication I interviewed
terrorism,
24
brain imaging and ... fMRI and those kinds of technologies? Well they're developing new technologies now that mean you won't have to put people in huge scanners ... in order to measure changes in their brain. Now that's a long way off before they can do that with any degree of sophistication... or spatial or temporal resolution but it's not far off before they will be able to notice changes in people's brains remotely... It's very science fiction, but it's really happening. They are developing the technology to do this, and even if they're not developing the technology... for bad means... there's no bad or good technology per se, it's the way it could be used" (Interview: Lee Rowland/Briant, 5th July 2013). Rowland’s account illuminates developments he anticipates, with concern, in the rapidly developing field of influence, which have alarming potential for abuse in the wrong hands.
In the light of all of this there should be a transparent investigation to determine that SCL’s taxpayer funded defence work does not raise similar concerns to its international political work.
Relationship between SCL and Cambridge Analytica
In May 2017 journalists began to raise questions about whether CA might be deploying their experience and techniques that were developed through SCL’s work in military information operations in conflict zones within election campaigns. Carole Cadwalladr cited a former employee who discussed them using “‘the same methods the military use to effect mass sentiment change. It’s what they mean by winning ‘hearts and minds’. We were just doing it to win elections in the kind of developing countries that don’t have many rules.” That article was subject to legal challenges and Cambridge Analytica began to emphasise the ‘separateness’ of SCL as a company but CA’s website (CA, 2018) still states ‘The CA advantage’ that ‘We are the global leader in data-driven campaigning with over 25 years of experience, supporting more than 100 campaigns across five continents’. SCL Elections and CA, were both just established recently since 2013. Prior to that SCL was a military contractor only. Cambridge Analytica stresses that 25 years of experience (of SCL who worked on conflict propaganda during this time) is also CA’s experiential advantage. Kaiser commented that 'just because we've undertaken psychographic research and we created psychographic models in some of those models are variables in some of our other models. That doesn't mean that we're using weapons grade technology, we're just using really advanced science in order to understand how to talk to people.' (Interview: Kaiser/Briant, 4th March 2018).
CA draw on the same BDI methodological base and insights although their methods are
adapted to be effective in the context in which they are deployed, as in any campaign,
and CA adapted the methods more for social media to capitalise within a U.S. political
market, and then SCL sold them back to the world.
25
Oakes spoke of Nix like a close business partner, Oakes leads on the defence work, Nix
on elections, despite stressing separateness there is much discussion, as between any
business partners. SCL have worked as a contractor both for the U.K. and U.S.
Governments including counter-terrorism work, which they are currently doing for the
State Department (Briant, 2015; Interview: Nigel Oakes/Briant, 24th November 2017).
British and American taxpayers have helped make SCL rich, our political representatives should, be aware how deeply unethical this company is, how they are seeking out shady business building their reputation for ‘dirty tricks’.
Asked about his
relationship to CA, Oakes said he had worked on elections 'in the past. I set up the
company [Cambridge Analytica] but now, I'm totally defence and I've gotta be totally
defence'. He said, 'the defence people can't be seen to be getting involved in politics,
and the State Department, they get very upset-' so Oakes stated that they imposed
'strong lines' between the companies (Interview: Nigel Oakes/Briant, 24th November
2017). Certainly there is 'siloing' where some staff within the companies seem genuinely
unaware of what other parts of the company, or group, are doing. It is a large network
and they are sometimes just focused on fulfilling their own role within it.
Brittany Kaiser's account of her work at CA however, conveyed ease of drift between
working in international politics and defence then U.S. politics. As a Democrat, Kaiser
initially was reluctant to get involved in Republican politics but told Nix, '
as she liked in the African business deals probably due to all the shady practises
exposed by Channel 4 on 19th March 2018, including Nix securing the deal by offering
Yet Kaiser was unable to go as far
to supply prostitutes for blackmail. She
I'd love to work
between your international elections and defense.'
started 'working on, you know, elections in Africa and Eastern Europe and working on winning that business and helping manage
that business' (Interview: Kaiser/Briant, 4th March 2018) and apparently this has included bringing in hackers to supply personal emails. After six months Kaiser asked Nix if she could move into working on US Republican campaigns, and cited limitations on how involved she could be in the African deals: as a '26 year old like young American girl. I'm going in and pitching like African billionaires [...] there's only so far that I'm going to get without having to call you [Nix] to fly in [to] close the deal or something because they're going to need to see ...an older man in some of these countries.' (Interview: Kaiser/Briant, 4th March 2018). It makes sense that knowledge of the most unethical or controversial practises would be on a need-to-know basis, it is unclear how much she knew.
Some of the people they hire do not seem to care about ethics or legality, this isn't even contemplated in the following example where Sam Patten told me in 2017 about a recent opportunity working for SCL:
26
SP: ‘when they contacted me they said they had a short fuse sort of thing in
Kosovo, and they didn’t really get into details and they said could you be ready
one day if this happens? I said yes without even... I assumed it was the dirty
bad guys, the mafia guys? You know, the gangsters?’
EB: ‘Yeh’
SP: ‘Well the Clinton’s have had those for years. Kosovo is the last country on
earth that still believes it owes its existence to the Clintons. Therefore, as
everyone gets tired of all these [unclear] and CGI people and Noone’s hiring
them anymore... at least the gangsters in Kosovo will still continue to. Because
they have a statue of the guy. They believe that the Clintons created their
country.
EB: ‘Wow.’
SP: ‘Anyway, the irony was... because it was SCL I assumed it was the bad
guys, but it wasn’t! It was the old liberal professors who were the clients. So... it
was an interesting, yeah, one of these three week campaigns.’ (Interview: Sam
Patten/Briant, 23rd July 2017).
Behavioural Integration and the U.S. Election
So how close are SCL and Cambridge Analytica? Oakes also told me that 'the two companies [Cambridge Analytica and SCL] at one stage sort of literally went apart...'
EB: And they came back together?
NO: ‘Yes, exactly. It was a sort of personality clash, not necessarily of personality but of corporate personalities.’
EB: The method as well? Could you tell me a bit about that.
NO: ‘Yes, it’s it’s that... it’s very simple. It’s that, Alexander Nix said the future of behavioral changes is going to be in big data. So big data is going to be used to predict things and whatever. And I said No, the future of behavioral change is going to be in basically Humint.'
Oakes told me how the U.S. election 'is the way the companies came back together again because it does have to be both. You have to have the human element and you have to have the big data element. You got to merge them so this is what we now have. We now have behavioral integration. So we’ve got the big data, so we got 5,000 data points on every American or whatever, which is very very cold and [that includes data like] how old they are, how many children they have, not very impressive data, but once you start adding in the profiles, the behavioral stuff, the models of what these people are likely to do if you segment them in this way, you now start getting into something that’s very very powerful and this is now what we’re doing so so I think Alexander Nix is right. It is big data, but we were also right. It is Humint, so we don’t-- it’s not like we have to fight about it anymore.' (Interview: Oakes/Briant, 4th March 2018). It is interesting he refers to 'Humint' Human Intelligence, a defence and
27
intelligence term, he’s using in relation to political campaigns. Oakes and Nix are close business partners, Oakes stressed his closeness to Nix and importance in the intellectual work on which CA rely:
NO: ‘where Alexander Nix has been very clever. [...] He’s turned it into a very successful commercial entity... Whereas he would say exactly the same about me... he’d say I’m too academic ... and the analogy in a tiny, tiny, lot more arrogant scale is that... if he’s the Steve Jobs, I’m the Steve Wozniak. I’m sort of the guy who wants to get the engineering right and he’s the guy who wants to sell the flashy box. And he’s very good at it. And I admire him enormously for doing it. But I’m the guy who say, yeh, but without this you couldn’t do any of that!' (Interview: Nigel Oakes/Briant, 24th November 2017).
The Future of Influence?
It seems the ‘flashy box’ that Nix is selling, is fashioned from the exploitation of vulnerable Eastern European prostitutes (see the explosive Channel 4 reporting, the smearing of a Muslim ‘Artificial Enemy’ in Part 1, invasive psychological profiling of US citizens, and Brexit’s plunder of British democracy in Part 2). If we lose the EU, Britain may become more dependent on other markets. CA and SCL Group are one high profile case but this exposes what seems to be an industry flourishing off the spoils of conflicts and corruption worldwide . As Britain’s outrage is rightly ignited, we make calls for our political representatives to act to protect our democracies. But we must recall also these industries’ most vulnerable victims. It is Britain’s shame that these industries have been allowed to grow fat off ‘approved’ Western conflicts tearing the developing world apart, then still fatter off feeding Western addiction to consumerist distractions, and again still fatter off Western political elites’ artificial enemies – so as we seek our own protections we must not ignore the deeply unethical and deeply unequal impacts of the global propaganda industry’s expansion. When we sure up our domestic systems, an inquiry must properly consider how to stop them returning to gorging themselves on the spoils of human suffering abroad, Nix and others like him cannot be permitted to continue selling their 'flashy' pandora's box in which human rights abusers can hide their own, and British, and America’s shame.
Sadly, new GDPR ‘transparency’ and data protection legislation provides no
reassurance - CA’s Chief Data Officer Alex Tayler said Facebook was the last big
opportunity, next it was GDPR legislation being rolled out to ‘protect’ us: '15 years ago,
who would’ve thought that Facebook was going to be such a powerful tool for
advertising and communicating with such incredibly personalized way? [...] coming up--
the big opportunities that we see [...] the first is [...] what we’d call, data portability or
data sovereignty. I don’t know if you’re familiar with GDPR?' (Interview: Alex
Tayler/Briant, 3rd November 2018). He told me 'it's a huge opportunity' CA are looking
28
forward to taking advantage of GDPR which they see as making things easier for them
to deploy their method in Europe where legally access to data is currently more limited
than the US (Interview: Tayler/Briant, 3rd November 2017).
GDPR will allow companies to take advantage of ordinary people's data naiveté. It places responsibility at the consumer level of choice, allowing companies like CA to financially incentivise consent for sharing and use of data - which explains their expansion into crypto-currencies and blockchain (Interview: Tayler/Briant, 3rd November 2017). It is not only CA. Others will do the same. A likely consequence we must act now to prevent is the spiralling competition between companies’ efforts to ‘out- do’ each other’s manipulative methods and find loopholes to exploit our data, which are becoming more accessible and vulnerable, as the battle for our minds becomes more desperate. Just as for governments 'every act of transparency is actually an act of concealment meant to obscure' mass accumulation and concealment of information, private companies learn to hide behind the belief in greater transparency and privacy while seeking to profit from extensive hoarding of data and people's ignorance of what is being given up. Anyone worried about their Facebook data can check out this useful article from the Guardian on how to secure themselves. The investigations that are ongoing, by for example the Electoral Commission and ICO, each respond to specific questions that fall within those specific bodies' remit, they are under-resourced and better coordination is needed to come close to grappling with the subterranean corruption of the brexit campaign. Given the complexity, international dimensions, and far reaching implications for the future of Britain, a proper investigation requires resources and reach - the British public must demand an official Inquiry into Cambridge Analytica and Facebook’s use of data as well as what appears to be grossly unethical, corrupt and apparently illegal practises during the EU Referendum, which appear to have severely compromised British democracy and could be repeated if we do not act now.
Briant, Emma L (2015) Propaganda and Counter-terrorism: Strategies for Global Change, Manchester: Manchester University Press.
https://www.parliament.uk/documents/com ... Essays.pdf
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
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Re: Inside the World of Cambridge Analytica

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Apr 17, 2018 9:04 am

The head of the parent company of Cambridge Analytica knew Trump’s demonization of Muslims was comparable to Hitler’s demonization of the Jews - and saw that as a feature, not a bug.



Carole Cadwalladr

BREAKING: Brittany Kaiser's written evidence has explosive new claims about Breitbart's relationship with Cambridge Analytica. Company had "exclusive rights to re-sell Breitbart engagement data". Steve Bannon key role in both orgs. Major new qs about Bannon & Brexit...
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This is MASSIVE. Eldon insurance data being used for political purposes. "I saw this with my own eyes," says Brittany Kaiser. This is Facebook/Cambridge Analytica levels of data abuse
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Eldon customers were called by http://Leave.EU employees to flog Brexit...
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Fake news inquiry raises concerns over targeting of voters in Brexit referendum

New evidence published by MPs includes interview that compares Trump’s campaigning to Hitler’s

Pamela DuncanMon 16 Apr 2018 16.05 EDT
The parliamentary committee investigating fake news has published excerpts of interviews with individuals connected to Leave.EU and SCL that it says raise concerns about how voters were targeted in the Brexit referendum.

In one clip, the founder of SCL, Cambridge Analytica’s parent company, can be heard comparing Donald Trump’s political campaigning strategy to that of Adolf Hitler.

The committee chair, Damian Collins, said the interviews provided “a unique insight into the private thoughts of key people at Leave.EU and SCL” and that some of the statements would “raise concerns that data analytics was used to target voters” concerned about immigration.

Material from the interviews, conducted by Emma Briant, an academic specialising in propaganda, has been published by the digital, culture, media and sport committee in connection with its inquiry into fake news.

In another excerpt, Leave.EU’s former communications director, Andy Wigmore can be heard saying that the group sent Nigel Farage to locations identified as prime campaigning targets by insurance actuaries.

Wigmore also apparently told Briant that Leave.EU copied strategies shared with them by Cambridge Analytica, the firm at the heart of the Facebook data harvesting scandal, as part of preliminary work. Leave.EU never formally hired the company.

“Some of the things they [Cambridge Analytica] did tell us, which we did copy – no question about that – was about these small clusters: you need to find out where these people are and what matters to them,” Wigmore said.

“What we were able to deduce from that – remember, as an insurance company, you have actuaries who work for you. Actuaries are brilliant: they’re mathematicians. If you give them a problem, and you say right we want to ... here’s some stuff, give us probabilities, they came up with the probabilities of the areas that were most concerned about the EU.

“We got that from our own actuaries. We had four actuaries, which we said: ‘Right, tell us what this looks like from our data.’ They [the actuaries] are the ones that pinpointed12 areas in the United Kingdom that we needed to send Nigel Farage to.”

In response to a request for comment, Wigmore accused the committee of being “complicit in creating a fake news agenda” intended to undermine the result of the EU referendum.

He denied that Leave.EU had used Cambridge Analytica “in any way”, and said “we discovered we were better at understanding what they suggested we do based on our own experiences of marketing insurance products”.

He also said: “No actuaries were employed on our campaign – but we understood how they approached pricing and marketing so applied that to our marketing during the referendum.”

In a separate interview with Briant published by the DCMS committee, Nigel Oakes, the founder of SCL, can be heard comparing Trump’s campaigning strategy to that of Hitler. The Trump campaign was a client of Cambridge Analytica during the 2016 US presidential election.

In his interview with Briant, Oakes explained how an electorate could be motivated to support a particular candidate by attacking minority groups.

Oakes presented Hitler’s demonisation of Jews as an example of this strategy, asserting that Hitler “didn’t have a problem with the Jews at all, but the people didn’t like the Jews … So he just leveraged an artificial enemy”.

He continued: “Well that’s exactly what Trump did. He leveraged a Muslim ... I mean, you know, it’s ... it was a real enemy. Isis is a real, but how big a threat is Isis really to America?”

A spokesperson said: “Nigel Oakes has never worked for Cambridge Analytica and did not work on the Trump campaign in any way whatsoever.

“Mr Oakes was speaking in a personal capacity about the historical use of propaganda to an academic he knew well from her work in the defence sphere. These are comments that have already been reported on in the media in the past few years.”


https://www.theguardian.com/politics/20 ... are_btn_tw




Leave campaign `deliberately stoked outrage´ in Brexit campaign

A key figure in the campaign to take Britain out of the EU has privately acknowledged that they deliberately used “outrageous” and “provocative” tactics to keep immigration at the top of the referendum debate.

Speaking to an academic researcher, Andy Wigmore appeared to compare the process to the “very clever” propaganda techniques of the Nazis.

Mr Wigmore was communications director for the Leave.EU campaign fronted by then Ukip leader Nigel Farage and funded by millionaire Arron Banks.

His comments were described as “particularly concerning” by Damian Collins, the chairman of the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, which is conducting an inquiry into the phenomenon of “fake news”.

But Mr Wigmore retorted that the committee itself was “complicit in creating a fake news agenda designed to bring down Brexit”.

In interview recordings released by the committee, Mr Wigmore can be heard discussing Leave.EU’s contacts with the controversial company Cambridge Analytica, which has come under fire over the use of Facebook users’ personal data in Donald Trump’s race for the US presidency.

Mr Wigmore states that CA did no work for Leave.EU after it failed in its bid to be named lead Brexit campaigner.

But he said that Leave.EU “copied” CA’s methods for pinpointing groups believed to be susceptible to specific messages. And he suggested that actuaries from Mr Banks’s Eldon Insurance used probability calculations to identify areas where Mr Farage should campaign.

Mr Wigmore was among a number of figures from the Leave campaign and companies linked to Cambridge Analytica who spoke to Essex University researcher Emma Briant for an upcoming book on the Trump campaign.

He told Dr Briant that Leave.EU “completely, completely, completely” copied Trump’s campaign technique of making attention-grabbing and controversial comments.

“The only way we were going to make a noise was to follow the Trump doctrine, which was: the more outrageous we are, the more attention we’ll get, and the more attention we get, the more outrageous we’ll be,” said Mr Wigmore. “And that’s exactly what we did.”

He admitted that the campaigners were “unsure constantly if we were doing the right thing” and were concerned they would be blamed for creating “a wave of hatred and racism”.

After the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox, he said the campaign thought that “maybe we have gone too far”, with Mr Farage fearing Leave would lose the referendum vote a few days later. But he said that in the event there was “no shift in the dial” from voters outside London who “understood” the message behind Ukip’s controversial Breaking Point poster.

Nigel Farage launches the controversial Breaking Point poster during the referendum campaign (Philip Toscano/PA)
Nigel Farage launches the controversial Breaking Point poster during the referendum campaign (Philip Toscano/PA)

Mr Wigmore told Dr Briant: “The propaganda machine of the Nazis, for instance – you take away all the hideous horror and that kind of stuff, it was very clever, the way they managed to do what they did.

“In its pure marketing sense, you can see the logic of what they were saying, why they were saying it, and how they presented things, and the imagery.

“And looking at that now, in hindsight, having been on the sharp end of this campaign, you think: crikey, this is not new, and it’s just … using the tools that you have at the time.”

His comment was echoed by the chief executive of CA’s parent company SCL Group, Nigel Oakes, who told Dr Briant that Mr Trump “leveraged an artificial enemy” in the shape of the Muslims in the same way that Adolf Hitler played on pre-war German hatred for Jews.

Mr Oakes insisted that CA did not work for the Leave.EU campaign, but had made presentations as part of a bid for a contract had the group been designated lead campaigners.

He also told Dr Briant that CA’s suspended CEO Alexander Nix had approached Julian Assange to offer to help him to release leaked emails from Hillary Clinton during the presidential campaign, but was turned down by the Wikileaks founder.

Mr Collins said that the recordings gave a “unique insight” into the thinking of those at the top of the Leave.EU campaign, and said references to the Nazis were “particularly concerning”.

“Andy Wigmore states that he believes that the propaganda techniques of the Nazi’s were ‘very clever’,” said Mr Collins. “He also confirms that exploiting voters’ concerns about immigration was central to their campaign during the Brexit referendum.

“Given the extreme messaging around immigration that was used during the referendum campaign, these statements will raise concerns that data analytics was used to target voters who were concerned about this issue, and to frighten them with messaging designed to create ‘an artificial enemy’ for them to act against.”

Mr Collins said Dr Briant’s research made clear that Leave.EU benefited from their work with CA, and said the campaign had questions to answer about how it developed its database.

But Mr Wigmore said that the release “sounds like another attempt to try and justify a committee that is desperate to try and find any excuse to undermine the referendum”.

He said his conversations with Dr Briant were not for publication and described their release as “wilful deception and trickery”.

Leave.EU chairman Arron Banks accused the committee of creating fake news (Jonathan Brady/PA)
Leave.EU chairman Arron Banks accused the committee of creating fake news (Jonathan Brady/PA)

The Nazis came up for discussion “in a historical context” in reference to the scare tactics being used by the Remain campaign, said Mr Wigmore. He repeated Leave.EU’s denial that it used CA, and added that “no actuaries were employed on our campaign”.

“Immigration was the key issue in pretty much all polling,” said Mr Wigmore. “Facts are not scare tactics, if that’s what people feel is their concerns, and it was our opinion that we had to keep that top of the agenda in line with our polling and the strategy of Nigel Farage.”

Mr Banks said that the committee was “too scared to call me to give evidence”.

And he added: “Monty Python couldn’t make this up: a Parliament Committee inquiry into fake news creating fake news to then investigate fake news.”

CA said Mr Oakes had never worked for the company and “did not work on the Trump campaign in any way whatsoever”.

A spokesman said: “Mr Oakes was speaking in a personal capacity about the historical use of propaganda to an academic he knew well from her work in the defence sphere. These are comments that have already been reported on in the media in the past few years.

“Like much of the reporting surrounding our company, Dr Briant’s ‘explanatory essays’ contain uncontextualized comments, unsubstantiated assertions and the joining together of dots to establish a picture that suits the authors.”
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/pa/art ... paign.html


Cambridge Analytica misled MPs over work for Leave.EU, says ex-director

Paul LewisFri 23 Mar 2018 12.02 EDT
Exclusive: Brittany Kaiser contradicts CEO, who told MPs the data firm did not work with Brexit campaign group

• Full interview: “I’m so tired of making excuses for old white men”

Cambridge Analytica conducted data research for one of the leading Brexit campaign groups and then misled the public and MPs over the work the company had undertaken, according to a former employee who has spoken to the Guardian.

In an exclusive interview, Brittany Kaiser, Cambridge Analytica’s business development director until two weeks ago, said the work with Leave.EU involved analysis of data provided by Ukip.

Emails and other documents, seen by the Guardian, show the company was worried about whether it could speak openly about the “interesting findings” and the origins of the data that had been analysed. It decided against doing so.

Kaiser, 30, said the work took a number of weeks and involved “at least six or seven meetings” with senior officials from Leave.EU, which was co-founded by Arron Banks, a Ukip donor. She said the work took place as part of an effort to secure formal business with the campaign group.

Kaiser said she felt she had lied by supporting Cambridge Analytica’s company line that it had done “no paid or unpaid work” for Leave.EU. “In my opinion, I was lying,” she said. “In my opinion I felt like we should say, ‘this is exactly what we did’.”

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How did the Cambridge Analytica story unfold?

Kaiser’s revelations will reignite a fierce argument about the tactics used to try to influence voters in the Brexit campaign – and will add to the pressure on Alexander Nix, the CEO of Cambridge Analytica.

The company is already under investigation by the Electoral Commission over what role, if any, it played in the EU referendum campaign.

Banks said: “Leave.EU did not receive any data or work from Cambridge Analytica. Ukip did give Cambridge Analytica some of its data and Cambridge Analytica did some analysis of this. But it was not used in the Brexit campaign. Cambridge Analytica tried to make me pay for that work but I refused. It had nothing to do with us.”

Nix has repeatedly denied there was any involvement, telling MPs last month: “Let me be absolutely crystal clear about this. I do not know how many ways I can say this. We did not work for Leave.EU. We have not undertaken any paid or unpaid work for them, OK?”

His testimony appears to be challenged by Kaiser, who was a senior employee at the company until she left following a contractual dispute earlier this month.

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Alexander Nix, CEO of Cambridge Analytica

She admitted Leave.EU did not pay for the work but described how the relationship between them began in the autumn of 2015 when she visited the offices of Leave.EU and Ukip.

She said both organisations offered to share proprietary data with Cambridge Analytica’s lead scientist, David Wilkinson.

He requested access to Facebook pages, “subscriber, donation and local group data”, email engagement and call centre records. It is not clear what information they had – or what was passed over.

But Kaiser says the most fruitful work was conducted on data stored on a Ukip computer that was carried into Cambridge Analytica’s London office.

“Ukip had undertaken a survey on why people wanted to leave the EU or not, and they also had membership data. So we were able to build personas out of that. That was work that would normally be paid for.”

Kaiser said she briefed senior Leave.EU officials on the results of the research, but that the campaign never received a final report because it unexpectedly backed out of a contract.

Banks said that this work was not used in the Brexit campaign and was not connected to Leave.EU.

On 21 April 2017, the Electoral Commission launched its first investigation into Leave.EU, looking specifically at “whether one or more donations – including of services – accepted by Leave.EU was impermissible; and whether Leave.EU’s spending return was complete”.

Nix sent an email to Kaiser and other executives at 3.37am the following morning, arguing the company had “nothing to worry about” from the Electoral Commission and that the “narrative” should be that “we did not end up working together”.

He wrote: “Whilst there is no law against ‘lying’, I think that we need to establish the narrative that precipitated these two admissions, such that we can mitigate loss of credibility … both the press release and Brittany’s comments [at the Leave.EU launch] indicate that CA had already completed work for the campaign.”

He went on to express concern that “it might be argued that we contributed to the campaign in the form of ‘goodwill’”.

“When I first found out that we were going to say that we did zero work on it, I felt betrayed and lied to,” said Kaiser. “Because I was continually told I could go along with the narrative that we did work on it.”

She added: “I was like: the narrative should be that the work that we did was never paid for so Leave.EU, by not registering that we did that work, are the ones that should be in trouble. Not us for lying for their asses. Literally why should we make excuses for these people? Why? I’m so tired of making excuses for old white men.”

Since then Nix has repeatedly maintained that Cambridge Analytica did “no paid or unpaid work” for Leave.EU.

Alexander Nix.
Alexander Nix. Photograph: Pedro Fiuza/Sipa/Rex/Shutterstock
According to Kaiser, that does not tell the full story.

“The proposal was to do what we do for any other campaign in the world, which was to undertake a data audit. We do research for you, we build models, and then we help you execute that database through digital, direct mail, door-knocking, events, whatever.”

Kaiser said that the full proposal included two phases of work, and only the first was ever carried out. She claims she presented this initial data work to 15 members of the Leave.EU campaign team in a briefing meeting, but did not supply them with the usual final report as no payment was ever made.

However, she estimated the data modelling work done by Cambridge Analytica for Leave.EU and Ukip in the run-up to the referendum was worth around £40,000.

In particular, the firm was concerned about “the origins of the data we have analysed”, and whether it could declare it had looked at Ukip membership and survey data.

In the end, no details about the Ukip data study were made public, but Kaiser sat alongside leading members of Leave.EUfor its official launch in central London.

In the following weeks Kaiser said she personally advised Leave.EU campaigners in offices in London and Bristol.

“I sat with their social media person, worked through what they did; that’s all, in my opinion, invaluable advice, and in my opinion actual work that was undertaken although no one wants to hear that because it was never ever paid for – doesn’t mean that my time wasn’t given.”

Kaiser said she still feels Cambridge Analytica’s insistence it had undertaken no work for Leave.EU was “disingenuous”.

Nix, who the firm suspended earlier this week, has said the claim that Cambridge Analytica was involved in the referendum was fake news.


Cambridge Analytica chief denies working with Facebook data - video
He has blamed this on the “erroneous” publication of an article in Campaign magazine, attributed to him, which said that “Cambridge Analytica has teamed up with Leave.EU”.

“The moment that that statement went out,” Nix told MPs last month, “we were absolutely crystal clear to all the media outlets that we weren’t involved, that it had been released in error, and we tried to correct the press again and again and again.”

A UKIP spokesman said Cambridge Analytica saw UKIP membership data - but nothing else. “Cambridge Analytica pitched to us, no data changed hands, and the invoice was rejected unpaid as there was no commercial relationship between UKIP and Cambridge Analytica.”

The Electoral Commission said its inquiry into Leave.EU was ongoing.


https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/m ... are_btn_tw
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
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Re: Inside the World of Cambridge Analytica

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Apr 17, 2018 5:32 pm

Cambridge Analytica sought to create its own digital currency: reports

Ali Breland04/17/18 04:29 PM EDT
Cambridge Analytica reportedly planned to raise funding through an initial coin offering (ICO) before it became the subject of controversy for improperly obtaining the data of 87 million Facebook users.

The British research firm, which also worked for the Trump campaign, planned to conduct an ICO to raise capital — a tactic used by cryptocurrency-based projects for funding, according to The New York Times.
Despite being used by many legitimate companies, the process has also become a vehicle for scams. In recent months, U.S. regulators have threatened to crack down on the practice.

Cambridge Analytica’s digital token was intended to help individuals store and sell their personal data, a former employee told the Times.

The coin’s development was reportedly helmed by Alexander Nix, the British research firm’s chief executive and one of the figures at the center of the Facebook data scandal.

The firm intended to raise $30 million with an offering, according to a source who spoke with Reuters.

“Prior to the Facebook controversy, we were developing a suite of technologies to help individuals reclaim their personal data from corporate entities and to have full transparency and control over how their personal data are used,” a Cambridge Analytica spokesman said in an email to Reuters.

“We were exploring multiple options for people to manage and monetise their personal data, including blockchain technology.”

During the recent cryptocurrency boom, many companies have taken advantage of ICOs to raise money outside of the scrutiny and tight regulations of federal agencies like the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Companies have raised $6 billion through ICOs over the last year.

In many cases, digital tokens issued are essential to the success of some business models. But in other cases, firms use ICOs as a way to circumvent securities regulation.

The SEC has begun to shut down companies they believe are violating securities laws.

SEC Chairman Jay Clayton has signaled that he may expand the crackdown to all ICOs.
http://thehill.com/policy/technology/38 ... cy-reports
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
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Re: Inside the World of Cambridge Analytica

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Apr 19, 2018 11:34 am

TEXTIFIRE

Verint’s firm Terrogence has been interesting not just for harvesting FB images & facial recognition, but in 2013 @sbowers00 said Vincent Tchenguiz was an investor while still SCL’s largest shareholder @iblametom https://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasbrew ... eli-spies/


Image

https://twitter.com/textifire/status/986972472086941696
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
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Re: Inside the World of Cambridge Analytica

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Apr 19, 2018 3:13 pm

Palantir was helping Cambridge Analytica


Peter Thiel’s data-mining company is using War on Terror tools to track American citizens. The scary thing? Palantir is desperate for new customers.

By Peter Waldman, Lizette Chapman, and Jordan Robertson
April 19, 2018
High above the Hudson River in downtown Jersey City, a former U.S. Secret Service agent named Peter Cavicchia III ran special ops for JPMorgan Chase & Co. His insider threat group—most large financial institutions have one—used computer algorithms to monitor the bank’s employees, ostensibly to protect against perfidious traders and other miscreants.
Aided by as many as 120 “forward-deployed engineers” from the data mining company Palantir Technologies Inc., which JPMorgan engaged in 2009, Cavicchia’s group vacuumed up emails and browser histories, GPS locations from company-issued smartphones, printer and download activity, and transcripts of digitally recorded phone conversations. Palantir’s software aggregated, searched, sorted, and analyzed these records, surfacing keywords and patterns of behavior that Cavicchia’s team had flagged for potential abuse of corporate assets. Palantir’s algorithm, for example, alerted the insider threat team when an employee started badging into work later than usual, a sign of potential disgruntlement. That would trigger further scrutiny and possibly physical surveillance after hours by bank security personnel.

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Over time, however, Cavicchia himself went rogue. Former JPMorgan colleagues describe the environment as Wall Street meets Apocalypse Now, with Cavicchia as Colonel Kurtz, ensconced upriver in his office suite eight floors above the rest of the bank’s security team. People in the department were shocked that no one from the bank or Palantir set any real limits. They darkly joked that Cavicchia was listening to their calls, reading their emails, watching them come and go. Some planted fake information in their communications to see if Cavicchia would mention it at meetings, which he did.
It all ended when the bank’s senior executives learned that they, too, were being watched, and what began as a promising marriage of masters of big data and global finance descended into a spying scandal. The misadventure, which has never been reported, also marked an ominous turn for Palantir, one of the most richly valued startups in Silicon Valley. An intelligence platform designed for the global War on Terror was weaponized against ordinary Americans at home.
Founded in 2004 by Peter Thiel and some fellow PayPal alumni, Palantir cut its teeth working for the Pentagon and the CIA in Afghanistan and Iraq. The company’s engineers and products don’t do any spying themselves; they’re more like a spy’s brain, collecting and analyzing information that’s fed in from the hands, eyes, nose, and ears. The software combs through disparate data sources—financial documents, airline reservations, cellphone records, social media postings—and searches for connections that human analysts might miss. It then presents the linkages in colorful, easy-to-interpret graphics that look like spider webs. U.S. spies and special forces loved it immediately; they deployed Palantir to synthesize and sort the blizzard of battlefield intelligence. It helped planners avoid roadside bombs, track insurgents for assassination, even hunt down Osama bin Laden. The military success led to federal contracts on the civilian side. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services uses Palantir to detect Medicare fraud. The FBI uses it in criminal probes. The Department of Homeland Security deploys it to screen air travelers and keep tabs on immigrants.

Police and sheriff’s departments in New York, New Orleans, Chicago, and Los Angeles have also used it, frequently ensnaring in the digital dragnet people who aren’t suspected of committing any crime. People and objects pop up on the Palantir screen inside boxes connected to other boxes by radiating lines labeled with the relationship: “Colleague of,” “Lives with,” “Operator of [cell number],” “Owner of [vehicle],” “Sibling of,” even “Lover of.” If the authorities have a picture, the rest is easy. Tapping databases of driver’s license and ID photos, law enforcement agencies can now identify more than half the population of U.S. adults.
JPMorgan was effectively Palantir’s R&D lab and test bed for a foray into the financial sector, via a product called Metropolis. The two companies made an odd couple. Palantir’s software engineers showed up at the bank on skateboards. Neckties and haircuts were too much to ask, but JPMorgan drew the line at T-shirts. The programmers had to agree to wear shirts with collars, tucked in when possible.
As Metropolis was installed and refined, JPMorgan made an equity investment in Palantir and inducted the company into its Hall of Innovation, while its executives raved about Palantir in the press. The software turned “data landfills into gold mines,” Guy Chiarello, who was then JPMorgan’s chief information officer, told Bloomberg Businessweek in 2011.
The founder of Palantir is extremely well connected. Here’s how his life might appear in the company’s model.


Chart: Dorothy Gambrell
Cavicchia was in charge of forensic investigations at the bank. Through Palantir, he gained administrative access to a full range of corporate security databases that had previously required separate authorizations and a specific business justification to use. He had unprecedented access to everything, all at once, all the time, on one analytic platform. He was a one-man National Security Agency, surrounded by the Palantir engineers, each one costing the bank as much as $3,000 a day.
Senior investigators stumbled onto the full extent of the spying by accident. In May 2013 the bank’s leadership ordered an internal probe into who had leaked a document to the New York Times about a federal investigation of JPMorgan for possibly manipulating U.S. electricity markets. Evidence indicated the leaker could have been Frank Bisignano, who’d recently resigned as JPMorgan’s co-chief operating officer to become CEO of First Data Corp., the big payments processor. Cavicchia had used Metropolis to gain access to emails about the leak investigation—some written by top executives—and the bank believed he shared the contents of those emails and other communications with Bisignano after Bisignano had left the bank. (Inside JPMorgan, Bisignano was considered Cavicchia’s patron—a senior executive who protected and promoted him.)
JPMorgan officials debated whether to file a suspicious activity report with federal regulators about the internal security breach, as required by law whenever banks suspect regulatory violations. They decided not to—a controversial decision internally, according to multiple sources with the bank. Cavicchia negotiated a severance agreement and was forced to resign. He joined Bisignano at First Data, where he’s now a senior vice president. Chiarello also went to First Data, as president. After their departures, JPMorgan drastically curtailed its Palantir use, in part because “it never lived up to its promised potential,” says one JPMorgan executive who insisted on anonymity to discuss the decision.
The bank, First Data, and Bisignano, Chiarello, and Cavicchia didn’t respond to separately emailed questions for this article. Palantir, in a statement responding to questions about how JPMorgan and others have used its software, declined to answer specific questions. “We are aware that powerful technology can be abused and we spend a lot of time and energy making sure our products are used for the forces of good,” the statement said.
Much depends on how the company chooses to define good. In March a former computer engineer for Cambridge Analytica, the political consulting firm that worked for Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, testified in the British Parliament that a Palantir employee had helped Cambridge Analytica use the personal data of up to 87 million Facebook users to develop psychographic profiles of individual voters. Palantir said it has a strict policy against working on political issues, including campaigns, and showed Bloomberg emails in which it turned down Cambridge’s request to work with Palantir on multiple occasions. The employee, Palantir said, worked with Cambridge Analytica on his own time. Still, there was no mistaking the implications of the incident: All human relations are a matter of record, ready to be revealed by a clever algorithm. Everyone is a spidergram now.

Thiel addresses the 2016 Republican National Convention. JIM WATSON/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
Thiel, who turned 50 in October, long reveled as the libertarian black sheep in left-leaning Silicon Valley. He contributed $1.25 million to Trump’s presidential victory, spoke at the Republican convention, and has dined with Trump at the White House. But Thiel has told friends he’s had enough of the Bay Area’s “monocultural” liberalism. He’s ditching his longtime base in San Francisco and moving his personal investment firms this year to Los Angeles, where he plans to establish his next project, a conservative media empire.
As Thiel’s wealth has grown, he’s gotten more strident. In a 2009 essay for the Cato Institute, he railed against taxes, ­government, women, poor people, and society’s acquiescence to the inevitability of death. (Thiel doesn’t accept death as inexorable.) He wrote that he’d reached some radical conclusions: “Most importantly, I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible.” The 1920s was the last time one could feel “genuinely optimistic” about American democracy, he said; since then, “the vast increase in welfare beneficiaries and the extension of the franchise to women—two constituencies that are notoriously tough for libertarians—have rendered the notion of ‘capitalist democracy’ into an oxymoron.”
Thiel went into tech after missing a prized Supreme Court clerkship following his graduation from Stanford Law School. He co-founded PayPal and then parlayed his winnings from its 2002 sale to EBay Inc. into a career in venture investing. He made an early bet on Facebook Inc. (where he’s still on the board), which accounts for most of his $3.3 billion fortune, as estimated by Bloomberg, and launched his career as a backer of big ideas—things like private space travel (through an investment in SpaceX), hotel alternatives (Airbnb), and floating island nations (the Seasteading Institute).
He started Palantir—named after the omniscient crystal balls in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy—three years after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The CIA’s investment arm, In-Q-Tel, was a seed investor. For the role of chief executive officer, he chose an old law school friend and self-described neo-Marxist, Alex Karp. Thiel told Bloomberg in 2011 that civil libertarians ought to embrace Palantir, because data mining is less repressive than the “crazy abuses and draconian policies” proposed after Sept. 11. The best way to prevent another catastrophic attack without becoming a police state, he argued, was to give the government the best surveillance tools possible, while building in safeguards against their abuse.
Legend has it that Stephen Cohen, one of Thiel’s co-founders, programmed the initial prototype for Palantir’s software in two weeks. It took years, however, to coax customers away from the longtime leader in the intelligence analytics market, a software company called I2 Inc.
In one adventure missing from the glowing accounts of Palantir’s early rise, I2 accused Palantir of misappropriating its intellectual property through a Florida shell company registered to the family of a Palantir executive. A company claiming to be a private eye firm had been licensing I2 software and development tools and spiriting them to Palantir for more than four years. I2 said the cutout was registered to the family of Shyam Sankar, Palantir’s director of business development.
As shown in the privacy breaches at Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, the pressure to monetize data at tech companies is ceaseless
I2 sued Palantir in federal court, alleging fraud, conspiracy, and copyright infringement. In its legal response, Palantir argued it had the right to appropriate I2’s code for the greater good. “What’s at stake here is the ability of critical national security, defense and intelligence agencies to access their own data and use it interoperably in whichever platform they choose in order to most effectively protect the citizenry,” Palantir said in its motion to dismiss I2’s suit.
The motion was denied. Palantir agreed to pay I2 about $10 million to settle the suit. I2 was sold to IBM in 2011.
Sankar, Palantir employee No. 13 and now one of the company’s top executives, also showed up in another Palantir scandal: the company’s 2010 proposal for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to run a secret sabotage campaign against the group’s liberal opponents. Hacked emails released by the group Anonymous indicated that Palantir and two other defense contractors pitched outside lawyers for the organization on a plan to snoop on the families of progressive activists, create fake identities to infiltrate left-leaning groups, scrape social media with bots, and plant false information with liberal groups to subsequently discredit them.
After the emails emerged in the press, Palantir offered an explanation similar to the one it provided in March for its U.K.-based employee’s assistance to Cambridge Analytica: It was the work of a single rogue employee. The company never explained Sankar’s involvement. Karp issued a public apology and said he and Palantir were deeply committed to progressive causes. Palantir set up an advisory panel on privacy and civil liberties, headed by a former CIA attorney, and beefed up an engineering group it calls the Privacy and Civil Liberties Team. The company now has about 10 PCL engineers on call to help vet clients’ requests for access to data troves and pitch in with pertinent thoughts about law, morality, and machines.
During its 14 years in startup mode, Palantir has cultivated a mystique as a haven for brilliant engineers who want to solve big problems such as terrorism and human trafficking, unfettered by pedestrian concerns such as making money. Palantir executives boast of not employing a single sales­person, relying instead on word-of-mouth referrals.

The company’s early data mining dazzled venture investors, who valued it at $20 billion in 2015. But Palantir has never reported a profit. It operates less like a conventional software company than like a consultancy, deploying roughly half its 2,000 engineers to client sites. That works at well-funded government spy agencies seeking specialized applications but has produced mixed results with corporate clients. Palantir’s high installation and maintenance costs repelled customers such as Hershey Co., which trumpeted a Palantir partnership in 2015 only to walk away two years later. Coca-Cola, Nasdaq, American Express, and Home Depot have also dumped Palantir.
Karp recognized the high-touch model was problematic early in the company’s push into the corporate market, but solutions have been elusive. “We didn’t want to be a services company. We wanted to do something that was cost-efficient,” he confessed at a European conference in 2010, in one of several unguarded comments captured in videos posted online. “Of course, what we didn’t recognize was that this would be much, much harder than we realized.”
Palantir’s newest product, Foundry, aims to finally break through the profitability barrier with more automation and less need for on-site engineers. Airbus SE, the big European plane maker, uses Foundry to crunch airline data about specific onboard components to track usage and maintenance and anticipate repair problems. Merck KGaA, the pharmaceutical giant, has a long-term Palantir contract to use Foundry in drug development and supply chain management.
Deeper adoption of Foundry in the commercial market is crucial to Palantir’s hopes of a big payday. Some investors are weary and have already written down their Palantir stakes. Morgan Stanley now values the company at $6 billion. Fred Alger Management Inc., which has owned stock since at least 2006, revalued Palantir in December at about $10 billion, according to Bloomberg Holdings. One frustrated investor, Marc Abramowitz, recently won a court order for Palantir to show him its books, as part of a lawsuit he filed alleging the company sabotaged his attempt to find a buyer for the Palantir shares he has owned for more than a decade.
As shown in the privacy breaches at Facebook and Cambridge Analytica—with Thiel and Palantir linked to both sides of the equation—the pressure to monetize data at tech companies is ceaseless. Facebook didn’t grow from a website connecting college kids into a purveyor of user profiles and predilections worth $478 billion by walling off personal data. Palantir says its Privacy and Civil Liberties Team watches out for inappropriate data demands, but it consists of just 10 people in a company of 2,000 engineers. No one said no to JPMorgan, or to whomever at Palantir volunteered to help Cambridge Analytica—or to another organization keenly interested in state-of-the-art data science, the Los Angeles Police Department.
Gotham program
Screenshots of Palantir’s Gotham program, from a promotional video. SOURCE: YOUTUBE
Palantir began work with the LAPD in 2009. The impetus was federal funding. After several Sept. 11 postmortems called for more intelligence sharing at all levels of law enforcement, money started flowing to Palantir to help build data integration systems for so-called fusion centers, starting in L.A. There are now more than 1,300 trained Palantir users at more than a half-dozen law enforcement agencies in Southern California, including local police and sheriff’s departments and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
The LAPD uses Palantir’s Gotham product for Operation Laser, a program to identify and deter people likely to commit crimes. Information from rap sheets, parole reports, police interviews, and other sources is fed into the system to generate a list of people the department defines as chronic offenders, says Craig Uchida, whose consulting firm, Justice & Security Strategies Inc., designed the Laser system. The list is distributed to patrolmen, with orders to monitor and stop the pre-crime suspects as often as possible, using excuses such as jaywalking or fix-it tickets. At each contact, officers fill out a field interview card with names, addresses, vehicles, physical descriptions, any neighborhood intelligence the person offers, and the officer’s own observations on the subject.
The cards are digitized in the Palantir system, adding to a constantly expanding surveillance database that’s fully accessible without a warrant. Tomorrow’s data points are automatically linked to today’s, with the goal of generating investigative leads. Say a chronic offender is tagged as a passenger in a car that’s pulled over for a broken taillight. Two years later, that same car is spotted by an automatic license plate reader near a crime scene 200 miles across the state. As soon as the plate hits the system, Palantir alerts the officer who made the original stop that a car once linked to the chronic offender was spotted near a crime scene.
The platform is supplemented with what sociologist Sarah Brayne calls the secondary surveillance network: the web of who is related to, friends with, or sleeping with whom. One woman in the system, for example, who wasn’t suspected of committing any crime, was identified as having multiple boyfriends within the same network of associates, says Brayne, who spent two and a half years embedded with the LAPD while researching her dissertation on big-data policing at Princeton University and who’s now an associate professor at the University of Texas at Austin. “Anybody who logs into the system can see all these intimate ties,” she says. To widen the scope of possible connections, she adds, the LAPD has also explored purchasing private data, including social media, foreclosure, and toll road information, camera feeds from hospitals, parking lots, and universities, and delivery information from Papa John’s International Inc. and Pizza Hut LLC.
The Constitutionality Question

Why the courts haven’t ruled on whether Palantir’s analytical tools are legal

Civil rights advocates say the compilation of a digital dossier of someone’s life, absent a court warrant, is an unlawful intrusion under the U.S. Constitution. Law enforcement officials say that’s not the case. For now, the question is unsettled, and that may be no accident. Civil liberties lawyers are seeking a case to challenge the constitutionality of Palantir’s use, but prosecutors and immigration agents have been careful not to cite the software in evidentiary documents, says Paromita Shah, associate director of the National Lawyers Guild’s National Immigration Project. “Palantir lives on that secrecy,” she says.

Since the 1970s, the Supreme Court has differentiated between searching someone’s home or car, which requires a warrant, and searching material out in the open or shared with others, which doesn’t. The justices’ thinking seems to be evolving as new technologies rise.

In a 2012 decision, U.S. v. Jones, the justices said that planting a GPS tracker on a car for 28 days without a warrant created such a comprehensive picture of the target’s life that it violated the public’s reasonable expectation of privacy.

Similarly, the court’s 2014 decision in Riley v. California found that cellphones contain so much personal information that they provide a virtual window into the owner’s mind, and thus necessitate a warrant for the government to search. Chief Justice John Roberts, in his majority opinion, wrote of cellphones that “with all they contain and all they may reveal, they hold for many Americans ‘the privacies of life.’” Justice Louis Brandeis, 86 years earlier, wrote a searing dissent in a wiretap case that seems to perfectly foresee the advent of Palantir.

“Ways may someday be developed,” Brandeis warned, “by which the government, without removing papers from secret drawers, can reproduce them in court, and by which it will be enabled to expose to a jury the most intimate occurrences.”
—Peter Waldman

The LAPD declined to comment for this story. Palantir sent Bloomberg a statement about its work with law enforcement: “Our [forward-deployed engineers] and [privacy and civil liberties] engineers work with the law enforcement customers (including LAPD) to ensure that the implementation of our software and integration of their source systems with the software is consistent with the Department’s legal and policy obligations, as well as privacy and civil liberties considerations that may not currently be legislated but are on the horizon. We as a company determine the types of engagements and general applications of our software with respect to those overarching considerations. Police Agencies have internal responsibility for ensuring that their information systems are used in a manner consistent with their policies and procedures.”
Operation Laser has made L.A. cops more surgical—and, according to community activists, unrelenting. Once targets are enmeshed in a spidergram, they’re stuck.
Manuel Rios, 22, lives in the back of his grandmother’s house at the top of a hill in East L.A., in the heart of the city’s gang area. Tall with a fair complexion and light hair, he struggled in high school with depression and a learning disability and dropped out to work at a supermarket.
He grew up surrounded by friends who joined Eastside 18, the local affiliate of the 18th Street gang, one of the largest criminal syndicates in Southern California. Rios says he was never “jumped in”—initiated into 18. He spent years addicted to crystal meth and was once arrested for possession of a handgun and sentenced to probation. But except for a stint in county jail for a burglary arrest inside a city rec center, he’s avoided further trouble and says he kicked his meth habit last year.
In 2016, Rios was sitting in a parked car with an Eastside 18 friend when a police car pulled up. His buddy ran, pursued by the cops, but Rios stayed put. “Why should I run? I’m not a gang member,” he says over steak and eggs at the IHOP near his home. The police returned and handcuffed him. One of them took his picture with a cellphone. “Welcome to the gang database!” the officer said.
Since then he’s been stopped more than a dozen times, he says, and told that if he doesn’t like it he should move. He has nowhere to go. His girlfriend just had a baby girl, and he wants to be around for them. “They say you’re in the system, you can’t lie to us,” he says. “I tell them, ‘How can I be in the hood if I haven’t got jumped in? Can’t you guys tell people who bang and who don’t?’ They go by their facts, not the real facts.”
The police, on autopilot with Palantir, are driving Rios toward his gang friends, not away from them, worries Mariella Saba, a neighbor and community organizer who helped him get off meth. When whole communities like East L.A. are algorithmically scraped for pre-crime suspects, data is destiny, says Saba. “These are systemic processes. When people are constantly harassed in a gang context, it pushes them to join. They internalize being told they’re bad.”
In Chicago, at least two immigrants have been detained for deportation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers based on erroneous information in gang databases, according to a pair of federal lawsuits. Chicago is a sanctuary city, so it isn’t clear how ICE found out about the purported gang affiliations. But Palantir is a likely link. The company provided an “intelligence management solution” for the Cook County Sheriff’s Office to integrate information from at least 14 different databases, including gang lists compiled by state and local police departments, according to county records. Palantir also has a $41 million data mining contract with ICE to build the agency’s “investigative case management” system.
One of the detained men, Wilmer Catalan-Ramirez, a 31-year-old body shop mechanic, was seriously injured when six ICE agents burst into his family’s home last March without a warrant. He’d been listed in the local gang database twice—in rival gangs. Catalan-Ramirez spent the next nine months in federal detention, until the city of Chicago admitted both listings were wrong and agreed to petition the feds to let him stay in the U.S. ICE released him in January, pending a new visa application. “These cases are perfect examples of how databases filled with unverified information that is often false can destroy people’s lives,” says his attorney, Vanessa del Valle of Northwestern University’s MacArthur Justice Center.
When whole communities are algorithmically scraped for pre-crime suspects, data is destiny
Palantir is twice the age most startups are when they cash out in a sale or initial public offering. The company needs to figure out how to be rewarded on Wall Street without creeping out Main Street. It might not be possible. For all of Palantir’s professed concern for individuals’ privacy, the single most important safeguard against abuse is the one it’s trying desperately to reduce through automation: human judgment.
As Palantir tries to court corporate customers as a more conventional software company, fewer forward-deployed engineers will mean fewer human decisions. Sensitive questions, such as how deeply to pry into people’s lives, will be answered increasingly by artificial intelligence and machine-learning algorithms. The small team of Privacy and Civil Liberties engineers could find themselves even less influential, as the urge for omnipotence among clients overwhelms any self-imposed restraints.
Computers don’t ask moral questions; people do, says John Grant, one of Palantir’s top PCL engineers and a forceful advocate for mandatory ethics education for engineers. “At a company like ours with millions of lines of code, every tiny decision could have huge implications,” Grant told a privacy conference in Berkeley last year.
JPMorgan’s experience remains instructive. “The world changed when it became clear everyone could be targeted using Palantir,” says a former JPMorgan cyber expert who worked with Cavicchia at one point on the insider threat team. “Nefarious ideas became trivial to implement; everyone’s a suspect, so we monitored everything. It was a pretty terrible feeling.” —With Michael Riley
https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2018 ... ter-thiel/
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
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Re: Inside the World of Cambridge Analytica

Postby Grizzly » Fri Apr 20, 2018 12:46 am

Uncovering Cyberfraud at a Large Financial Institution
Palantir

This cyberfraud workflow is based on an actual case discovered at one of Palantir's largest and most successful commercial deployments. In this demonstration, we will show how an investigator uses Palantir to rapidly surf across data from multiple lines of business generated through customer interactions via multiple channels. The investigator is able to use a combination of analysis tools available on the platform to quickly trace the origin of a reported threat and protect the bank's assets from further exfiltration.
If Barthes can forgive me, “What the public wants is the image of passion Justice, not passion Justice itself.”
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Re: Inside the World of Cambridge Analytica

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Apr 23, 2018 9:10 am

Cambridge Analytica Data Scientist Aleksandr Kogan Wants You To Know He’s Not A Russian Spy

Aleksandr Kogan, the Cambridge University academic whose app has set off the firestorm about online user data, says he’s considering suing Facebook.

Ryan MacApril 22, 2018, at 6:01 p.m.
Aleksandr Kogan in New York City on April 20, 2018.


LONDON — Aleksandr Kogan wants to set the record straight. “I am not a Russian spy,” he tells BuzzFeed News aboard a Saturday evening flight to the British capital.

On Tuesday, the Cambridge University researcher is set to testify here in front of a parliamentary committee that is looking to determine whether the political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica influenced global elections and the United Kingdom’s Brexit vote. At the hearing, Kogan, who’s been accused of being a foreign agent, an unscrupulous scholar, and a mind manipulator, hopes to dispel the myths about himself and the data he collected from millions of Facebook users and handed to Cambridge Analytica’s parent company, SCL Elections.

While Kogan has spoken little since the Observer and the New York Times ran stories last month identifying him as the individual behind a leak of data from more than 50 million Facebook users, the 32-year-old psychologist granted BuzzFeed News a series of interviews ahead of his parliament appearance this week. In those conversations, he admitted that he did violate Facebook’s developer policy by harvesting user data and transferring it to a third party — but said that he was being unfairly pilloried as just one of many people who did this. In following up on the controversy, Facebook has vowed to find them all.

As he attempts to shift the narrative away from his own actions, Kogan maintained that observers have missed the big story: that companies have been collecting data on users for years using Facebook’s tools and tacit understanding. Kogan also disputes other aspects of the established narrative: that he’s a spy, for one, but also that Cambridge Analytics was capable of predicting individual behavior, that his relationship with Facebook was brief and casual, and that whistleblower Christopher Wylie had extensive knowledge about the data.

“Folks are only concerned right now about the story because they think it could have swung the elections or that they can be mind controlled, and that’s not a real worry,” Kogan said, labeling claims that Cambridge Analytica had effective behavior prediction models as “nonsense.” The real story, he noted, is that “folks have woken up” to privacy concerns and their data being and spread without their informed consent.

But as he’s waited to talk, the narrative surrounding Kogan has morphed without his input. Facebook, which Kogan said he is currently considering suing for defamation, suggested to the New York Times that he had acted unethically, using an app to collect Facebook user data he claimed was for academic purposes, but later gave to Cambridge Analytica. “This was a scam — and a fraud,” Paul Grewal, Facebook's vice president and deputy general counsel, told the Times last month.

Kogan disputed that characterization and noted that his app, which paid users around $4 to take surveys, was separate from his academic work at Cambridge and explicitly told users that the data would be used for commercial purposes. What’s more, the data scientist said his relationship was much deeper with Facebook than previously understood in news reports and the company’s statements.

Besides coauthoring a research paper on data that was provided to him by Facebook, Kogan made several visits since 2013 to its Menlo Park, California, campus where he gave talks to employees about behavioral psychology and served as a paid consultant for a week in November 2015. He worked on “at least 10” papers with Facebook’s Pete Fleming, who is now the head of research at Instagram, the company’s photo-sharing platform, while Joseph Chancellor, his cofounder and equal partner at Global Science Research (GSR), the company that harvested the ill-gotten Cambridge Analytica data, has worked at Facebook since late 2015. Kogan also said Chancellor informed Facebook about his work at GSR while interviewing for a position at the company in 2015.


BuzzFeed News
Kogan claimed that Facebook shelved plans to publish those papers after a December 2015 Guardian story tied GSR to Cambridge Analytica and the US presidential campaign of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. And while he still considers Chancellor his friend and believes he shouldn’t lose his job, he’s using his cofounder’s situation as evidence for what he said has been a hypocritical reaction by Facebook. The company has cut off Kogan’s personal Facebook and Instagram accounts and pointed fingers at him in full-page newspaper ads, company statements, and in CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s congressional testimony earlier this month.

In a statement, Ime Archibong, Facebook’s vice president of product partnerships, acknowledged the company’s previously undisclosed relationship with Kogan between 2013 and 2015, but said that “at no point during these two years was Facebook aware of Kogan’s activities with Cambridge Analytica.” Chancellor did not return a request for comment.

When asked why he became involved with SCL Elections in the first place, Kogan said he regretted it but believed the data had no role in shaping voting decisions. While he said he knew that the data was being used for political purposes and would likely be employed by the Republican Party — something he did not say during an uncomfortable appearance on CNN with Anderson Cooper — he assumed that was fair game. “Looking back, the last political campaign to collect Facebook data was the [2012] Obama campaign,” he said. “They were lauded for it.”

The Obama campaign did likely have similar data after allowing people to log in to the campaign website with their Facebook credentials, according to a Guardian report. But Obama’s team was using data that users had (perhaps without realizing) granted it permission to access, while GSR transferred the data to third parties. That violated Facebook’s rules, something Kogan said he was unaware of at the time, but now admitted he should not have done.

That oversight has proved costly. Kogan, who has an undergraduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and a doctorate from the University of Hong Kong, will likely not get another academic job once his position at Cambridge ends this summer, and he’s likely too “toxic” to be hired by any company. Kogan’s San Francisco survey software startup, Philometrics, is also likely dead in the water and is currently unable to raise another round of funding.

Kogan has accepted the professional implications, though it’s the personal ones that still bother him. In the coverage of the story, outlets like the Guardian have repeatedly played up the notion that he may somehow be connected to Russia, he said, by pointing out a short research stint at St. Petersburg State University and the fact that he was born in Moldova in the former Soviet Union.

“I think they strongly insinuated that I’m a Russian spy based on no evidence whatsoever,” he said, citing the hysteria around the current US investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. “There have been conspiracy theorists that are convinced that I am the missing link between Russia and Trump.”

Among those fanning the flames is Wylie, the former Cambridge Analytica employee whose interviews initially exposed his former employer’s work and data collection policies.

“There have been conspiracy theorists that are convinced that I am the missing link between Russia and Trump.”
“I think what’s important for people to understand is that this company misappropriated data of upwards of 50 million people from Facebook,” Wylie said on NBC’s Today last month. “That data was processed by psychologists who were going back and forth between London and Russia, who were also working on projects in Russia for Russians.”

Kogan called it “Russophobic” and “deeply irresponsible” of Wylie to say that, noting that his psychology work at St. Petersburg had nothing to do with Cambridge Analytica. With regards to his childhood, he said he and his family emigrated when he was 7 to the US from Moscow, where his father was stationed in the Russian army, due to anti-Semitic death threats.

Wylie did not respond to a request for comment on Sunday.

Beyond the personal attacks, Kogan said Wylie, who is quoted as having created “Steve Bannon’s psychological warfare tool” has had similar issues standing up claims that he’s made about Cambridge Analytica and its supposed efficacy in swaying voters. Kogan disputed the notion that his former colleague had any knowledge of data, laughing at the notion that he’d be called a data scientist, and referred to him as someone who was involved in business development and provided legal expertise. “Chris is as much a data scientist as I am a fashion icon,” Kogan said. “And I mostly wear sweatpants.”

“When he tells people he can do microtargeting with a data set like this, that’s just wrong,” he added. To illustrate his point, Kogan compared the accuracy of the data GSR gave to SCL to a game in which someone guessed a random person’s age: “It’d be like saying on average I’m around about your age by about 14 years. You’re 28? Oh sorry, I thought you were 42.”

Kogan hopes to illustrate that to parliament on Tuesday, the notion that the Cambridge Analytica scandal is one about privacy and not one about a manipulated election.

“If there’s one message I want parliament to walk away from, it’s not: Alex didn’t do anything wrong, he’s been scapegoated,” he said. “The main message is: What you’ve been worried about is bullshit, but there is a real issue to think about.”
https://www.buzzfeed.com/ryanmac/facebo ... blZ7nEaVxk


THE INDUSTRY
Facebook’s Ties With Kogan and Cambridge Were Even Cozier Than We Thought
By WILL OREMUS
APRIL 23, 201812:26 PM

Researcher Aleksandr Kogan says Facebook made him a scapegoat for its broader privacy problems.
Screenshot / CBS 60 Minutes via YouTube
When he testified to Congress this month, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg portrayed Cambridge University researcher Aleksandr Kogan as a rogue app developer who deceived the social network by harvesting data on users’ personalities that he then sold to the consulting firm Cambridge Analytica. He assured lawmakers that Kogan had been banned from the platform. And, as TechCrunch’s Natasha Lomas noted at the time, he went on to take a shot at Cambridge University more broadly, testifying that Facebook has uncovered “a whole program” associated with Cambridge in which a number of researchers were building similar apps.

What Zuckerberg didn’t mention was that Facebook itself had worked directly with Kogan and his Cambridge colleagues for years—and that it continues to this day to employ two of Kogan’s close research associates. In an interview with CBS’ 60 Minutes on Sunday, Kogan said one of them, his former co-worker Joseph Chancellor, was fully involved in harvesting the user data that they then sold to Cambridge Analytica. On Monday, Facebook spokesman Andy Stone confirmed to Slate that, with respect to Chancellor, “a review of the situation is ongoing.”


Kogan, the researcher at the Cambridge Analytica data scandal’s center, spoke out Sunday in greater depth than he has since the story broke in mid-March, shining a global spotlight on Facebook’s failure to protect its users’ personal data. In separate interviews with 60 Minutes and BuzzFeed News, Kogan tried to make it seem like he was the one betrayed by Facebook rather than the other way around.



No one should buy the idea that Kogan is a victim of any kind, or that Facebook’s alleged complicity exonerates him for hoodwinking users into giving up data not only on themselves but also on their friends, which he then sold. But he did make a persuasive case that Facebook had created conditions in which that sort of violation was almost inevitable—and that its scapegoating of him is disingenuous.

Far from sneaking in the back door to Facebook’s platform, Kogan emphasized that he had enjoyed a close working relationship with researchers at the company. From Kogan’s 60 Minutes interview:

I visited their campus many times. They had hired my students. I even did a consulting project with Facebook in November of 2015. And what I was teaching them was lessons I learned from working with this data set that we had collected for Cambridge Analytica. So I was explaining, like, “Here’s kind of what we did. And here’s what we learned. And here’s how you can apply it internally to help you with surveys and survey predictions and things like that.”

Facebook confirmed that it had a history of working with Kogan, but said it was never aware of his activities with Cambridge Analytica. The company provided the following statement from Ime Archibong, its vice president of product partnerships:

Kogan—a Cambridge University researcher—first approached Facebook in 2013 to do standard research using anonymized, aggregated data. And in October 2015, Kogan had a brief consulting contract with Facebook. At no point during these two years was Facebook aware of Kogan’s activities with Cambridge Analytica. It was not until December 2015 that we first learned Kogan had broken Facebook’s terms of service by selling to Cambridge Analytica Facebook information collected via an app he built.


That seems plausible, and Kogan didn’t deny that he had sold the data or hidden that fact from Facebook. Kogan also acknowledged publicly for the first time that he knew Cambridge Analytica planned to use his data for political purposes, likely for Republican candidates. The guy is hardly innocent, and “I figured everyone else was doing it too” is a weak excuse. There is a real difference between using people’s Facebook data for academic research and selling it to political targeting firms.

Yet while Facebook has banned Kogan himself, Kogan pointed out that it still employs his former co-worker and research partner, Chancellor. 60 Minutes’ Lesley Stahl asked Kogan: “Did he [Chancellor] have anything to do with the study you did for Cambridge Analytica?” Kogan’s reply: “Yeah. I mean, we did everything together.” Kogan told BuzzFeed that Chancellor even informed Facebook of his research when he applied for his job there in 2015.


The Intercept first reported Facebook’s relationship with Chancellor in 2017; my Slate colleague April Glaser reported in March that Chancellor appeared to still work there. (You can see his employee page for Facebook Research here.)

BuzzFeed also highlighted Kogan’s relationship with Pete Fleming, who is now head of research at Instagram, which Facebook owns. Kogan said he worked on “at least 10 papers” with Fleming over the years. That doesn’t mean Fleming did anything wrong, of course. But it further undermines Facebook’s implication that Kogan was some kind of rogue researcher acting entirely on his own. Facebook did not answer a question about Fleming’s ties to Kogan.

60 Minutes bolstered its Kogan segment by interviewing Sandy Parakilas, a former Facebook employee who has spoken out about what he believes was the company’s laissez-faire attitude toward user data. Parakilas told 60 Minutes that he tried to tell Facebook higher-ups about problems with their app developer policies, but “I think they didn’t want to know,” because if they knew then they could be held responsible. Parakilas said that was because the company was prioritizing user growth and monetization over privacy. (Facebook notes that it did in fact shut off developers’ access to the personal data of users’ friends beginning in 2014.)

In the BuzzFeed interview, Kogan downplayed the significance of the data he sold to Cambridge Analytica. He said whistleblower Christopher Wylie had exaggerated the data’s usefulness in political campaigns, adding that Wylie lacks the qualifications to be considered a data scientist. Kogan said his personality profiles were not precise enough to be used for effective microtargeting.

Separately, Cambridge Analytica released a statement Sunday in which it agreed that Kogan’s data was not useful for political targeting. “Cambridge Analytica’s research showed that the personality types licensed by GSR/Kogan underperformed compared to more traditional ways of grouping people by demographics,” the company said. It added that it did not use personality typing at all in its work for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

Kogan told BuzzFeed that he believes that Facebook’s own privacy policies were a more serious issue than anything he or Cambridge Analytica did. While that still doesn’t excuse him, he’s probably right.
https://slate.com/technology/2018/04/60 ... ought.html
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
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Re: Inside the World of Cambridge Analytica

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Apr 24, 2018 9:19 pm

Carole Cadwalladr


Hello Canada!
- Cambridge Analytica set up by Canadian
- 40% of Vote Leave budget went to Canadian company, AIQ
- 3 other Leave campaigns co-ordinated via AIQ
- AIQ is SCL Canada
- British Information Commissioner is Canadian
Tks for yr help. Because: you're outside jurisdiction
https://twitter.com/carolecadwalla/stat ... 0393712640
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
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