Inside the World of Cambridge Analytica

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Re: Inside the World of Cambridge Analytica

Postby stillrobertpaulsen » Mon Mar 19, 2018 5:45 pm

Yeah, I'm feeling pretty darn generous today. I tend to be that way with new threads, unless I think they were specifically created for the express purpose of trolling. I don't think that is the intent of the OP at all, for the record.
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But russia!!

Postby Rory » Mon Mar 19, 2018 5:46 pm

seemslikeadream » Mon Mar 19, 2018 1:42 pm wrote:lots of trees lots of bark and lots of Russian Dressing :P

how does Rory KNOW what Mueller is doing????

NO one knows what Mueller is up to


And there's me thinking the good Captain of the ship,"Thread Tppic", would keep her on course through choppy waters.
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Re: Inside the World of Cambridge Analytica

Postby Rory » Mon Mar 19, 2018 5:48 pm

Jerky » Mon Mar 19, 2018 1:36 pm wrote:Let the little doggies bark.

The train rolls on.

J.


Hahahaha, Jerky, you know all about trolling. You're one of the crude, but hardly the least prolific troll on this little outpost.

Good job on trying to play the straight man for a change. Always good to branch out in ones performance
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Re: Inside the World of Cambridge Analytica

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Mar 19, 2018 5:49 pm

Back on TOPIC AGAIN


Facebook says it’s hired a forensics team to investigate Cambridge Analytica

Colin Lecher
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge
After acknowledging that Trump campaign-linked data firm Cambridge Analytica mishandled the data of 50 million users, Facebook says it has hired a digital forensics team to investigate the company.

Facebook has hired a firm to investigate
On Friday, ahead of investigative reports detailing the scheme, Facebook said it had banned the company and its parent organization from the platform after it was revealed that a professor, using a seemingly innocuous app to draw in users, passed the resulting data to Cambridge Analytica, in violation of Facebook’s policies. In its announcement, Facebook said it had received reports that, contrary to claims from Cambridge Analytica, the data had not been destroyed.

The ensuing outrage directed toward both Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, which ran data operations for the Trump campaign, has been swift and widespread. Today, in a follow-up note, Facebook says it has hired the firm Stroz Friedberg to conduct the audit. According to Facebook, Cambridge Analytica is cooperating and offering access to their servers. The professor involved has also agreed to provide an audit, while a whistleblower involved has not, the company said.

Facebook says the investigation is meant to verify claims from Cambridge Analytica and others who say the data in question has, in fact, been destroyed. “If this data still exists, it would be a grave violation of Facebook’s policies and an unacceptable violation of trust and the commitments these groups made,” Facebook said in its statement.
https://www.theverge.com/2018/3/19/1714 ... -analytica
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Re: Inside the World of Cambridge Analytica

Postby stillrobertpaulsen » Mon Mar 19, 2018 5:51 pm

Inside the World of Cambridge Analytica. That's the topic, Rory, m'kay? If you had just started with that, I think we'll all follow suit. Is that cool with you?
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Re: Inside the World of Cambridge Analytica

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Mar 19, 2018 5:52 pm

AUTHOR: ISSIE LAPOWSKYISSIE LAPOWSKY
SECURITY
03.19.1803:57 PM
CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA EXECS CAUGHT DISCUSSING EXTORTION AND FAKE NEWS


HORACIO VILLALOBOS/CORBIS/GETTY IMAGES
IN A SERIES of undercover videos filmed over the last year, Britain's Channel 4 News caught executives at Cambridge Analytica appear to say they could extort politicians, send women to entrap them, and help proliferate propaganda to help their clients. The sting operation was conducted as part of an ongoing investigation into Cambridge Analytica, a data consulting firm that worked for President Trump's 2016 campaign.

The video follows an investigation by The Guardian and The New York Times, which revealed that Cambridge and its related company, SCL, harvested data on 50 million Facebook users, and may have kept it, despite promises to Facebook that they deleted the information in 2015. Cambridge and SCL have denied these accusations, and in a statement to Channel 4, the company also denied "any allegation that Cambridge Analytica or any of its affiliates use entrapment, bribes, or so-called 'honey-traps' for any purpose whatsoever."

The video evidence suggests otherwise.


In a series of five meetings and phone calls beginning in December 2017, a Channel 4 reporter posed as a fixer for a client they said was working to get candidates elected in Sri Lanka. They met with Cambridge CEO Alexander Nix; Mark Turnbull, managing director of CA Political Global; and Alex Tayler, chief data officer for Cambridge. They probed them on all manner of underhanded tactics, from deliberately spreading fake news to making up false identities. According to the video, the Cambridge executives took the bait. A spokesperson for Cambridge did not respond to WIRED's request for comment about Channel 4's report.

In one January, 2018 meeting shown in Channel 4's video, Nix appears to outline a potential plan to send operatives to bribe the candidate's political opponents and capture it on video. "They will offer a large amount of money to the candidate, to finance his campaign in exchange for land for instance, we’ll have the whole thing recorded on cameras, we’ll blank out the face of our guy and we post it on the internet," Nix said in the video. The Channel 4 video also shows Nix suggesting that they could send "some girls around to the candidate’s house."

"I’m just saying, we could bring some Ukrainians in on holiday with us you know, you know what I’m saying,” the video shows Nix saying.

The Channel 4 video also shows Nix expressing a willingness to help the "client" disseminate lies. “These are things that, I mean, it sounds a dreadful thing to say, but these are things that don’t necessarily need to be true, as long as they’re believed,” he said.

In a separate November 2017 meeting filmed by Channel 4, Turnbull appears to admit that the company is in the business of preying on people's fears. "Our job is to get, is to drop the bucket further down the well than anybody else, to understand what are those really deep-seated underlying fears, concerns," he says in the video. "It’s no good fighting an election campaign on the facts because actually it’s all about emotion, it’s all about emotion.”

That aptly describes fears about about Cambridge Analytica's so-called psychographic profiling, which aims to target people with ads based on their personality type. The company reportedly depended heavily on that trove of 50 million Facebook users' data to develop these profiles. That data was acquired via a third-party researcher, who created an app that asked users to take a personality quiz. Nearly 300,000 people downloaded that app, thereby handing the researcher—and Cambridge Analytica—access not only to their own personal data, but that of their friends. In 2015, Facebook officially closed the loophole that gave app developers the ability to suck up people's friends' data as well. Facebook also made Cambridge sign a legally binding agreement that it had deleted the data that year, but over the weekend, sources close to the company told WIRED that data was still visible to employees within Cambridge in early 2017. Facebook has since suspended SCL and Cambridge Analytica's access to the platform, while it investigates. SCL and Cambridge maintain the data was deleted in 2015.

Turnbull does appear to express doubt about these methods. In a Channel 4 video of a December 2017 meeting, he says: "So we’re not in the business of fake news, we’re not in the business of lying, making stuff up, and we’re not in the business of entrapment, so we wouldn’t, we wouldn’t send a pretty girl out to seduce a politician and then film them in their bedroom and then release the film. There are companies that do this but to me that crosses a line." Turnbull, though, was present for prior meetings in which such tactics were discussed.

In a phone call captured in the Channel 4 video, executives openly boast about working "in the shadows" because, as Nix explains to the reporters, "we have many clients who never wish to have our relationship with them made public.” Nix notes that the company often sets up fake IDs and websites. "We can be students doing research projects attached to a university, we can be tourists," he explains in the video of the January 2018 meeting.

Turnbull appears to make the same claim in the video of the December 2017 meeting, in which he says that the company would create "a different entity, with a different name, so that no record exists with our name attached to this at all, and I think we can work in that space as well.” One of the most mysterious aspects of SCL and its offshoot, Cambridge Analytica, is its organizational structure. The company includes a vast web of related businesses that even current and former employees struggle to truly comprehend.


In the same video of that December meeting, Turnbull plays up the company's ties to former British intelligence agents, who were part of MI5 and MI6. "They will find all the skeletons in his closet quietly, discreetly, and give you a report,” he explains.

The videos appear to offer unique insight into how Cambridge Analytica thinks about elections, although it doesn’t confirm that the company has actually done any of these things. It may just be bluster in an attempt to close a sale. And in a fuller response, Cambridge Analytica strongly disputed the report.

"The report is edited and scripted to grossly misrepresent the nature of those conversations and how the company conducts its business," the company said in a statement Monday, maintaining that it was the reporter who introduced topics like corruption and entrapment. "Assessing the legality and reputational risks associated with new projects is critical for us, and we routinely undertake conversations with prospective clients to try to tease out any unethical or illegal intentions," the Cambridge statement says. "The two Cambridge Analytica executives at the meeting humoured these questions and actively encouraged the prospective client to disclose his intentions. They left with grave concerns and did not meet with him again."

"In playing along with this line of conversation, and partly to spare our ‘client’ from embarrassment, we entertained a series of ludicrous hypothetical scenarios," said Nix in the statement. "I am aware how this looks, but it is simply not the case. I must emphatically state that Cambridge Analytica does not condone or engage in entrapment, bribes or so-called ‘honeytraps’, and nor does it use untrue material for any purpose."1

Still, it presents an unflattering look at a group already steeped in controversy. And the full truth may come out soon regardless; following the release of the video, Britain's Information Officer, Elizabeth Denham, said she would seek a warrant to seize Cambridge Analytica's servers.
https://www.wired.com/story/cambridge-a ... fake-news/
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Re: Inside the World of Cambridge Analytica

Postby Rory » Mon Mar 19, 2018 5:57 pm

stillrobertpaulsen wrote:
Rory » Mon Mar 19, 2018 3:44 pm wrote:Mueller been barking (intentionally) up the wrong tree the whole time. There was foreign interference, but not where what's attracted all that bandwidth on these parts.


Ok, this is better, somewhat substantive.

Now this is curious: your hypothesis is that Mueller knew going in to his position as Special Prosecutor that there was no Russia there? Is your contention that the thirteen Russian indictments are just empty window dressing?

And if so, isn't that just a wee bit off-topic?


You know Russia is never off topic round here. There's barely a degree of separation between anything remarked on here, and the insinuation that russia/putin/the kremlin/rasputin/reds under the bed, are somehow intrinsically linked.

Mueller is a capo for his employers. He's following orders. Of course there was no Russia (capitalized, primary actor in the election outcome) there. Some anecdotal page click farm bs, and a couple of blowhards saying Kremlin this, or Putin that, indictments, aren't substantive evidence his fishing expedition is going anywhere meaningful. This Cambridge Analytica stuff is substantive - but it doesn't fit 'The Narrative. So as I'm seeing here, expect lots of shoe horning, and crow barring in links and pseudo substantiation to try and eke out whatever's left of the flailing Russian Conspiracy Theory.
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Re: Inside the World of Cambridge Analytica

Postby Rory » Mon Mar 19, 2018 5:59 pm

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Re: Inside the World of Cambridge Analytica

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Mar 19, 2018 6:00 pm

Cambridge Analytica: links to Moscow oil firm and St Petersburg university

Why would a Russian oil company be targeting American voters?



In case you aren't putting 2 & 2 together. Trump's campaign manager, Bannon was a Director of Cambridge Analytica, whose CEO admitted on video to using bribes & sex workers to entrap politicians.The Trump Campaign Used Cambridge Do you still wonder why the GOP seems entrapped?

Steve Bannon, Trump's Campaign CEO and WH Chief Strategist, was VP of Cambridge Analytica, which is under an active search warrant at this very moment.

Cambridge Analytica is going up in flames, which means Parscale, Bannon, Mercer, Kushner, Trump also are.


Breaking: Channel 4 just announced they’re airing another undercover film tomorrow where Cambridge Analytica say they won the election for Donald Trump and describe how. This is a car crash airing live on TV. Journalism matters

The backlash against Facebook has destroyed $40 billion in market value in a matter of hours
https://qz.com/1232563/cambridge-analyt ... -of-hours/
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Re: Inside the World of Cambridge Analytica

Postby stillrobertpaulsen » Mon Mar 19, 2018 6:31 pm

Rory » Mon Mar 19, 2018 4:57 pm wrote:
stillrobertpaulsen wrote:
Rory » Mon Mar 19, 2018 3:44 pm wrote:Mueller been barking (intentionally) up the wrong tree the whole time. There was foreign interference, but not where what's attracted all that bandwidth on these parts.


Ok, this is better, somewhat substantive.

Now this is curious: your hypothesis is that Mueller knew going in to his position as Special Prosecutor that there was no Russia there? Is your contention that the thirteen Russian indictments are just empty window dressing?

And if so, isn't that just a wee bit off-topic?


You know Russia is never off topic round here. There's barely a degree of separation between anything remarked on here, and the insinuation that russia/putin/the kremlin/rasputin/reds under the bed, are somehow intrinsically linked.

Mueller is a capo for his employers. He's following orders. Of course there was no Russia (capitalized, primary actor in the election outcome) there. Some anecdotal page click farm bs, and a couple of blowhards saying Kremlin this, or Putin that, indictments, aren't substantive evidence his fishing expedition is going anywhere meaningful. This Cambridge Analytica stuff is substantive - but it doesn't fit 'The Narrative. So as I'm seeing here, expect lots of shoe horning, and crow barring in links and pseudo substantiation to try and eke out whatever's left of the flailing Russian Conspiracy Theory.


OK, now we're getting somewhere. I would have appreciated it if you had started with this instead of inflammatory snark which, as you know, is unproductive at best and trolling at worst. Got it?

Now as to Mueller being an order following capo, I'll buy that as intriguing intuition on your part, and IMO you may be correct to some extent. But as to Cambridge Analytica falling outside the purview of the whole narrative, I'm going to need more than just intuition. What's your evidence?
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Re: Inside the World of Cambridge Analytica

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Mar 19, 2018 6:39 pm

But as to Cambridge Analytica falling outside the purview of the whole narrative


how can it not be part of the purview? Evidence

Cambridge Analytica whistleblower says company worked with Corey Lewandowski, Steve Bannon
In a live interview with TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie, Christopher Wylie, a former employee of British company Cambridge Analytica, says the company misused personal Facebook data of some 50 million people to help influence the 2016 presidential election. Wylie says the company met with former Trump campaign manager (and current outside adviser) Corey Lewandowski, former chief strategist Steve Bannon as well as Russian oil companies.
https://www.today.com/video/cambridge-a ... 9326915651
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Re: Inside the World of Cambridge Analytica

Postby Rory » Mon Mar 19, 2018 6:44 pm

stillrobertpaulsen » Mon Mar 19, 2018 2:31 pm wrote:
Rory » Mon Mar 19, 2018 4:57 pm wrote:
stillrobertpaulsen wrote:
Rory » Mon Mar 19, 2018 3:44 pm wrote:Mueller been barking (intentionally) up the wrong tree the whole time. There was foreign interference, but not where what's attracted all that bandwidth on these parts.


Ok, this is better, somewhat substantive.

Now this is curious: your hypothesis is that Mueller knew going in to his position as Special Prosecutor that there was no Russia there? Is your contention that the thirteen Russian indictments are just empty window dressing?

And if so, isn't that just a wee bit off-topic?


You know Russia is never off topic round here. There's barely a degree of separation between anything remarked on here, and the insinuation that russia/putin/the kremlin/rasputin/reds under the bed, are somehow intrinsically linked.

Mueller is a capo for his employers. He's following orders. Of course there was no Russia (capitalized, primary actor in the election outcome) there. Some anecdotal page click farm bs, and a couple of blowhards saying Kremlin this, or Putin that, indictments, aren't substantive evidence his fishing expedition is going anywhere meaningful. This Cambridge Analytica stuff is substantive - but it doesn't fit 'The Narrative. So as I'm seeing here, expect lots of shoe horning, and crow barring in links and pseudo substantiation to try and eke out whatever's left of the flailing Russian Conspiracy Theory.


OK, now we're getting somewhere. I would have appreciated it if you had started with this instead of inflammatory snark which, as you know, is unproductive at best and trolling at worst. Got it?

Now as to Mueller being an order following capo, I'll buy that as intriguing intuition on your part, and IMO you may be correct to some extent. But as to Cambridge Analytica falling outside the purview of the whole narrative, I'm going to need more than just intuition. What's your evidence?


Before I return to the substance of your post, just to point out, a certain user used this thread to concern troll several times, definitely off topic, and unless you've spoken to them privately, I don't see you pulling them up for their less than discursive contributions.

I'll post later re the meat of what you said
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Re: Inside the World of Cambridge Analytica

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Mar 19, 2018 6:47 pm

Mr. Nix lied in the congressional hearing
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Re: Inside the World of Cambridge Analytica

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Mar 19, 2018 6:53 pm

seemslikeadream » Fri Sep 22, 2017 5:08 pm wrote:
seemslikeadream » Wed Sep 06, 2017 5:26 pm wrote:THINK JARED....THINK PARSCALE ......THINK CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA.....THINK MERCER


Facebook is now cooperating with the Russian investigation :evilgrin


Trump Parscale Chart
Chart below displays open-source information showing organizations and people connected to President Trump and Brad Parscale as of June 2017. Source links are provided below the chart. Also see SCL/Cambridge Analytica chart and Rosneft-Trump-Putin chart.

Image


Cambridge Analytica, Trump-Tied Political Firm, Offered to Entrap Politicians

By MATTHEW ROSENBERG
MARCH 19, 2018

Alexander Nix, head of Cambridge Analytica, speaking in New York City in 2016. Credit Bryan Bedder/Getty Images
WASHINGTON — Sitting in a hotel bar, Alexander Nix, who runs the political data firm Cambridge Analytica, had a few ideas for a prospective client looking for help in a foreign election. The firm could send an attractive woman to seduce a rival candidate and secretly videotape the encounter, Mr. Nix said, or send someone posing as a wealthy land developer to pass a bribe.

“We have a long history of working behind the scenes,” Mr. Nix said.

The prospective client, though, was actually a reporter from Channel 4 News in Britain, and the encounter was secretly filmed as part of a monthslong investigation into Cambridge Analytica, the data firm with ties to President Trump’s 2016 campaign.

The results of Channel 4’s work were broadcast in Britain on Monday, days after reports in The New York Times and The Observer of London that the firm had harvested the data from more than 50 million Facebook profiles in its bid to develop techniques for predicting the behavior of individual American voters.

The weekend’s reports about the data misuse have prompted calls from lawmakers in Britain and the United States for renewed scrutiny of Facebook, and at least two American state prosecutors have said they are looking into the misuse of data by Cambridge Analytica.

Now, the Channel 4 broadcast appears likely to cast an even harsher spotlight on the company, which was founded by Stephen K. Bannon and Robert Mercer, a wealthy Republican donor who put has put at least $15 million into Cambridge Analytica.

The firm’s so-called psychographic modeling techniques, which were built in part with the data harvested from Facebook, underpinned its work for the Trump campaign in 2016, though many have questioned their effectiveness.

Less noticed has been the work that Cambridge Analytica and its parent company, the SCL Group, has done outside the United States. The operations of the two companies were set up with a convoluted corporate structure and are deeply intertwined.

Mr. Nix, for instance, holds dual appointments at the two companies. Cambridge Analytica is registered in Delaware and almost wholly owned by the Mercer family, but it is effectively a shell — it holds intellectual property rights to its so-called psychographic modeling tools, yet its clients are served by the staff at London-based SCL and overseen by Mr. Nix, who is a British citizen.

SCL Elections has clients around the world, and it has experimented with data-driven microtargeting techniques in the Caribbean and Africa, where privacy rules are lax or nonexistent and politicians employing SCL have been happy to provide government-held data, according to former employees.

[ALSO READ: How Cambridge Analytica Harvested Facebook Data, Triggering a New Outcry]

But in the footage broadcast by Channel 4, Mr. Nix offered services that go far beyond data harvesting. The Times did not work with Channel 4 on its report about Cambridge Analytica.

“Many of our clients don’t want to be seen to be working with a foreign company,” he told the Channel 4 reporter, who was not identified. “We can set up fake IDs and websites, we can be students doing research projects attached to a university, we can be tourists. There’s so many options we can look at.”

The Channel 4 reporter posed as a “fixer” for a wealthy Sri Lankan family that wanted to help politicians they favored. In a series of meetings at London hotels between November and January, all of which were secretly filmed, Mr. Nix and other executives boasted that Cambridge Analytica employs front companies and former spies on behalf of political clients.

The information that is uncovered through such clandestine work is then put “into the bloodstream to the internet,” said Mark Turnbull, another Cambridge executive, in an encounter in December 2015 at the Berkeley hotel in London.

“Then watch it grow, give it a little push every now and again, over time, to watch it take shape,” he added. “It has to happen without anyone thinking, ‘That’s propaganda.’ Because the moment you think ‘that’s propaganda,’ the next question is, ‘Who’s put that out?’”

The most damning footage, though, was of Mr. Nix’s suggestion that the company could entrap political rivals through seduction or bribery.

At a meeting in January, also at the Berkeley hotel, Mr. Nix was direct about the techniques SCL could use to aid a client.

“I mean, deep digging is interesting,” he said. “But you know equally effective can be just to go and speak to the incumbents and to offer them a deal that’s too good to be true, and make sure that that’s video-recorded, you know. These sorts of tactics are very effective, instantly having video evidence of corruption, putting it on the internet, these sorts of things.”

Mr. Nix then suggested they could have someone pose as a wealthy developer. “They will offer a large amount of money to the candidate, to finance his campaign in exchange for land for instance,” he said. “We’ll have the whole thing recorded on cameras.”

Or, Mr. Nix said, they could “send some girls around to the candidate’s house — we have lots of history of things.”

The reporter asked what kind of girls, and Mr. Nix said they could find some Ukrainian women. “I’m just saying, we could bring some Ukrainians in on holiday with us you know,” Mr. Nix replied. “You know what I’m saying.”

“They are very beautiful,” he said. “I find that works very well.”

To be sure, though, Mr. Nix said that he was speaking only in hypotheticals. “Please don’t pay too much attention to what I’m saying because I’m just giving you examples of what can be done and what, what has been done,” he said.

For Mr. Nix, the footage comes at an already perilous moment. Earlier this month, he told a parliamentary inquiry into fake news and Russian interference in Britain’s referendum to exit the European Union that Cambridge Analytica never used or possessed Facebook data.

But following the reports in The Times and Observer on Saturday, Damian Collins, the Conservative lawmaker leading the inquiry, said he planned to call Mr. Nix back to testify.

“It seems clear that he has deliberately misled the committee and Parliament,” Mr. Collins said in a statement this weekend.

Elizabeth Denham, the British information commissioner, told Channel 4 News that on March 7 she asked for access to Cambridge Analytica, setting a deadline of 6 p.m. Monday. Ms. Denham said she did not accept the response as satisfactory and so would be applying in court on Tuesday for a warrant.

“We need to look at the databases, we need to look at the servers and understand how the data was processed,” she said.

In a statement, Facebook said that it had “hired a digital forensics firm, Stroz Friedberg, to conduct a comprehensive audit of Cambridge Analytica.”

But Mr. Collins, who is chairman of the House of Commons digital, culture, media and sport committee, said he was concerned that Facebook might gain access to data before the information commissioner did.

“What are they doing?” Mr. Collins asked on Channel 4 News. “Are they going in to physically recover data, to disturb the files? This investigation should be for the authorities.”

Mr. Collins said that the former Cambridge Analytica employee who came forward to disclose his company’s actions, Christopher Wylie, would be giving evidence to his committee. He said he wanted Mark Zuckerberg, or another senior executive from Facebook, to do the same.
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/19/us/c ... r-nix.html


seemslikeadream » Mon Oct 16, 2017 8:32 am wrote:
Cambridge Analytica, the shady data firm that might be a key Trump-Russia link, explained

Why House investigators think this company might have helped Russia spread fake news.

Updated by Sean Illing@seanillingsean.illing@vox.com Oct 16, 2017, 8:50am EDT

The Daily Beast reported last week that the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence is looking into a data analytics company called Cambridge Analytica as part of its investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election.

Cambridge Analytica specializes in what’s called “psychographic” profiling, meaning they use data collected online to create personality profiles for voters. They then take that information and target individuals with specifically tailored content (more on this below).

According to the Daily Beast report, congressional investigators believe that Russian hackers might have received help in their efforts to distribute “fake news” and other forms of misinformation during the 2016 campaign. Hence the focus on Cambridge Analytica.

So far there’s been a lot of speculation about the potential links between the Trump campaign and Russia, and most of the stories have orbited around the financial dealings of the Trump family and people like Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager. But this story is specifically about how team Trump might have facilitated Russia’s meddling in the US presidential election.

The stakes, in other words, are high.

So here’s what we know about Cambridge Analytica, its connections to the Trump campaign, and what sorts of things the House Intel probe is likely looking into.

Trump’s digital army
In June 2016, the Trump campaign hired Cambridge Analytica to take over its data operations.

We know from the reporting of Nicholas Confessore and Danny Hakim at the New York Times that Jared Kushner, who was charged with overseeing Trump’s digital operations, is the reason Cambridge Analytica joined the Trump campaign.

Kushner hired a man named Brad Parscale, a Texas-based digital expert who had worked previously for team Trump. According to Confessore and Hakim, Cambridge Analytica convinced Parscale (who has since agreed to be interviewed by the House Intelligence Committee) to “try out the firm.” The decision was reinforced by Trump’s campaign manager, Steve Bannon, who is also a former vice president of Cambridge Analytica.

It’s not clear to what extent Cambridge Analytica helped (Parscale denied that Cambridge was of any use in a recent 60 Minutes interview), but we do know that Trump’s digital operation was shockingly effective. Samuel Woolley, who heads the Computational Propaganda project at Oxford’s Internet Institute, found that a disproportionate amount of pro-Trump messaging was spread via automated bots and anti-Hillary propaganda. Trump’s bots, they reported at the time of the election, outnumbered Clinton’s five to one.

Pro-Trump programmers “carefully adjusted the timing of content production during the debates, strategically colonized pro-Clinton hashtags, and then disabled activities after Election Day.”

Martin Moore, director of the Centre for the Study of Media, Communication and Power at King’s College, told the Guardian’s Carole Cadwalladr that Trump’s campaign “was using 40-50,000 variants of ads every day that were continuously measuring responses and then adapting and evolving based on that response.”

These online ads were spread primarily thought bots on social media platforms. The ads that got liked, shared, and retweeted the most were reproduced and redistributed based on where they were popular and who they appealed to.

The benefit of this kind of data is that it allows data companies like Cambridge Analytica to develop more sophisticated psychological profiles of internet users (more data points means more predictive power).

Cambridge Analytica was also able to use this real-time information to determine which messages were resonating where and then shape Trump’s travel schedule around it. So, if there was a spike in clicks on an article about immigration in a county in Pennsylvania or Wisconsin, Trump would go there and give an immigration-focused speech.

When you consider how a few thousands votes in a handful of swing states determined the election, this is no small thing.

President Trump Attends National Prayer Breakfast
Then National Security Adviser Michael Flynn listens to remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast where US President Donald Trump spoke February 2, 2017, in Washington, DC. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images
Flynn and the Russians
In early July, Shane Harris of the Wall Street Journal released a series of reports that offered some of the most compelling evidence yet that Trump’s campaign colluded with Russian hackers.

Harris interviewed a man named Peter Smith, a pro-Trump GOP operative who sought to acquire the 30,000 deleted emails from Hillary Clinton’s private server. Of the several hacker groups Smith reached out to, at least two had connections to Russia — that’s according to Smith.

Smith told Harris that he was in regular contact with Gen. Michael Flynn, who at the time was one of Trump’s closest confidants — and of course later became Trump’s national security adviser.

Here’s a key passage from the Harris report, which my Vox colleague Andrew Prokop highlighted at the time:

“He [Smith] said, ‘I’m talking to Michael Flynn about this — if you find anything, can you let me know?’” said Eric York, a computer-security expert from Atlanta who searched hacker forums on Mr. Smith’s behalf for people who might have access to the emails. ...

...In phone conversations, Mr. Smith told a computer expert he was in direct contact with Mr. Flynn and his son, according to this expert. ... The expert said that based on his conversations with Mr. Smith, he understood the elder Mr. Flynn to be coordinating with Mr. Smith’s group in his capacity as a Trump campaign adviser.
Harris examined intelligence reports that described the efforts of Russian hackers to retrieve emails from Clinton’s server and pass them along to Flynn, who would then share them with the Trump campaign.

By itself, Harris’s reporting makes no connection to Cambridge Analytica. But in August the Associated Press published a report that helped connect the dots. In an amended public financial filing, Flynn was forced to disclose “a brief advisory role with a firm related to a controversial data analysis company that aided the Trump campaign.”

The “data analysis company” is none other than Cambridge Analytica. The precise amount of money Cambridge paid to Flynn is unknown, as are the details of Flynn’s role.

But we know that congressional and DOJ investigators believe that Trump’s campaign might have helped guide Russia’s voter targeting scheme and that Flynn, who worked for Trump’s campaign and with Cambridge Analytica, is suspected of having extensive ties with Russian operatives.

A Cambridge Analytica spokesperson confirmed to Vox that the company is cooperating with the Russia investigation but flatly denied any wrongdoing.

“As one of the companies that played a prominent role in the election campaign, Cambridge Analytica has been asked by the House Intelligence Committee to provide it with information that might help its investigation,” the statement said. “We believe that other organizations that worked on the campaign have been asked to do the same. CA is not under investigation, and there is no suggestion of any wrongdoing by the company.”

What does Cambridge Analytica actually do?
If you use the internet or social media, you leave behind a digital trail of crumbs. Every post you like, every tweet you retweet, every thread you participate in — it’s all data up for collection and input.

Cambridge Analytica, a company created by Robert Mercer, a billionaire patron of right-wing outlets like Breitbart News, has been swallowing up all the data they can get. They’re not the only company doing this, but they appear to be the most prominent — in part because of their high-profile clients.

In a 2016 speech, Alexander Nix, the CEO of Cambridge Analytica, unfurled the company’s methodology: “We’ve rolled out a long-form quantitative instrument to probe the underlying traits that inform personality,” he proclaimed. “If you know the personality of the people you’re targeting, you can nuance your messaging to resonate more effectively with those key groups.”


By “your message” he means whoever pays the company for its services. But so far the firm has only taken on Republican clients, with Ted Cruz and Ben Carson being the most visible. They also worked on behalf of 2016 pro-Brexit “Leave” campaign, mining online data and using it to target and persuade British voters.

So what are they doing with all that data?
Cambridge Analytica has built models that translate the data they harvest into personality profiles for every American adult — Nix claims to have “somewhere close to 4 or 5 thousand data points on every adult in the US.”

Their models are based on the psychometric research of Michal Kosinski, who in 2013 was still a PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge (hence the name “Cambridge Analytica”). Kosinski and his colleagues developed a model that linked subjects’ Facebook likes with their OCEAN scores. OCEAN refers to a questionnaire used by psychologists that describes personalities along five dimensions — openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.

Cambridge Analytica has combined this social psychology with data analytics. They collect data from Facebook and Twitter (which is perfectly legal) and have purchased an array of other data — about television preferences, airline travel, shopping habits, church attendance, what books you buy, what magazines you subscribe to — from third-party organizations and so-called data brokers.

They take all this information and use it for what Nix calls “behavioral microtargeting” — basically individualized advertising.

Instead of tailoring ads according to demographics, they use psychometrics. It’s a simple idea, really. Rather than assuming that all women or African Americans or working-class whites will respond to the same message, they target individual voters with emotionally charged content — in other words, ads designed to tug on emotional biases.

The success of this approach hinges on the accuracy of the company’s psychological profiles. But how much can they know about someone’s psyche on the basis of a few tweets or likes? Quite a lot, apparently. In a 2016 profile for Das Magazin, a Berlin-based culture magazine, Kosinski talked about the predictive power of his model.

Here’s how the authors summed it up:

The strength of their [Kosinski and his Cambridge colleagues] modeling was illustrated by how well it could predict a subject's answers. Kosinski continued to work on the models incessantly: before long, he was able to evaluate a person better than the average work colleague, merely on the basis of ten Facebook "likes." Seventy "likes" were enough to outdo what a person's friends knew, 150 what their parents knew, and 300 "likes" what their partner knew. More "likes" could even surpass what a person thought they knew about themselves.
Combine this kind of predictive power with an army of bots and you’ve got a potent propaganda tool. As Woolley told me, “One person controlling a thousand bot accounts is able to not just affect the people in their immediate circle but also potentially the algorithm of the site on which their operating.”

Bots are even more effective, as they’re able to react instantly to trending topics on Twitter and Facebook, producing targeted posts, images, and even YouTube videos.

“The technologies can capture what people are thinking at a particular moment,” Albright told me, “and serve it back to them over and over again.” And with the benefit of psychographic profiling, he adds, they’re able to deliver “content on an individual basis on Twitter and Facebook feeds where people are being grabbed and pulled in certain directions through certain types of posts and stories.

“I’ve called it an emotional leash,” Woolley said.


Billionaire founder of Cambridge Analytica Robert Mercer speaks on the phone during the 12th International Conference on Climate Change hosted by The Heartland Institute on March 23, 2017, in Washington, DC. Mercer is also a key patron of Breitbart News and Steve Bannon, who until recently was a vice president of Cambridge Analytica. Getty Images
There’s a lot we don’t know
We don’t know if Flynn actually passed any data to the Russians. Nor do we know if his numerous ties to Russia resulted in collusion.

We don’t know if the Trump campaign coordinated with the Russians to help their disinformation operation. We know only that there are many points of overlap. And if anyone in his campaign did coordinate with Russia, we don’t know if Trump himself was involved in any way.

We don’t know if the data produced by Cambridge Analytica ever found its way to Russians. And if it did, we don’t know for sure how it got there or how much it helped or if the company was aware of it.

We also don’t know how useful Cambridge Analytica’s work was to the Trump campaign. Researchers like Woolley told me that the company’s capabilities are a “bit overblown,” but we simply don’t know. We know only what they’ve admitted publicly about their methods and what they claim to be able to do.

One thing we do know is that data companies like Cambridge Analytica have changed things. Facebook is already under fire for allowing Russia to manipulate its algorithms during the 2016 election. And we’ve likely just scratched the surface in terms of how state actors are able to weaponize information online. The role of companies like Cambridge Analytica in these efforts remains something of a mystery, however.

In any event, no definitive evidence has emerged that connects Cambridge Analytica and the Trump campaign to Russia’s efforts to influence our election. What we’re left with, ultimately, is a ton of smoke and no fire. But if the ongoing investigations conclude that the Trump campaign did help Russia target voters, expect to hear more about Cambridge Analytica.

It’s entirely possible that such collusion could have occurred and the work of Cambridge Analytica had nothing to do with it; however, that would be strange, since targeting voters is precisely what the company was hired to do.
https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics ... ynn-russia
The trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy has overwhelmed Ursula, where children sleep in cages, the lights never go off, and detainees are brought in 24 hours a day. At this rate there will be 20,000 in cages by August

THIS IS PURE EVIL
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Re: Inside the World of Cambridge Analytica

Postby stillrobertpaulsen » Mon Mar 19, 2018 7:06 pm

Rory » Mon Mar 19, 2018 5:44 pm wrote:
Before I return to the substance of your post, just to point out, a certain user used this thread to concern troll several times, definitely off topic, and unless you've spoken to them privately, I don't see you pulling them up for their less than discursive contributions.


Weeeelllllll, since you asked so nicely:

Jerky, could you please remove any reference that implies Rory is a troll? I would appreciate that.

Rory, could you do the same as it applies to your posts to Jerky? Thank you.

I'll be gone until tomorrow. If anyone views that as an invitation to misbehave, I might not feel so generous in the morning. Be civil, please!
"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."
-Jim Garrison 1967
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