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Election of Trump: Cambridge, Aleksandr Kogan, Facebook [Update]

by Oui Sat Mar 17th, 2018 at 09:42:07 PM EST

Slowly the wheels are turning ....

For months I've stated the relevance of the work done by Cambridge Analytica .... but no, It's Putin Who Did It!

See my recent diary - Bigger than Putin.

LATEST NEWS: Facebook suspends Cambridge Analytica, the data analysis firm that worked on the Trump campaign

Revealed: 50 million Facebook profiles harvested for Cambridge Analytica in major data breach | The Guardian - 8 hrs ago |  

The data analytics firm that worked with Donald Trump's election team and the winning Brexit campaign harvested millions of Facebook profiles of US voters, in one of the tech giant's biggest ever data breaches, and used them to build a powerful software program to predict and influence choices at the ballot box.

A whistleblower has revealed to the Observer how Cambridge Analytica - a company owned by the hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer, and headed at the time by Trump's key adviser Steve Bannon - used personal information taken without authorisation in early 2014 to build a system that could profile individual US voters, in order to target them with personalised political advertisements.

More below the fold ...

Christopher Wylie, who worked with a Cambridge University academic to obtain the data, told the Observer: "We exploited Facebook to harvest millions of people's profiles. And built models to exploit what we knew about them and target their inner demons. That was the basis the entire company was built on."

Documents seen by the Observer, and confirmed by a Facebook statement, show that by late 2015 the company had found out that information had been harvested on an unprecedented scale.

The data was collected through an app called thisisyourdigitallife, built by academic Aleksandr Kogan, separately from his work at Cambridge University. Through his company Global Science Research [status per 1 nov. 2017 - dissolved], in collaboration with Cambridge Analytica, hundreds of thousands of users were paid to take a personality test and agreed to have their data collected for academic use.

More to follow ...


Mark Zuckerberg In Hot Seat After Facebook’s Data Misuse Exposed | The Forward |

Pressure is mounting on Mark Zuckerberg to speak publicly about Facebook’s alleged misuse of personal data about over 50 million users, Bloomberg Technology reported.

Facebook recently admitted that it allowed the data to be used offline by Cambridge Analytica, the political research firm founded by Stephen K. Bannon and Republican mega-donor Robert Mercer. The data was originally obtained by a professor who gleaned the data on Facebook’s system through an app that claimed to offer a personality quiz.

Damian Collins, a British lawmakers, said that Zuckerberger should “stop hiding behind his Facebook page and actually come out and answer questions about his company.” Collins is chair of Parliament’s U.K. Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Committee.

Senator Amy Klobuchar also called on Zuckerberg to testify before Congress.

What a stench ... the cistern tank opens up. Politics of dirty tricks, honey traps, fake news, false allegations, involve ex-spies ... do I recall Fusion GPS hired by Republicans to attack candidate Donald Trump during the primaries. The "hot" items of the "investigation" combined with the dodgy Steele dossier was bought by the Democrats. How stupid can one get.

Cambridge Analytica exited the Brexit campaign to enter US politics in Austin Texas under the banner of Robert Mercer, Breitbart and Steve Bannon. What a talent, I feel the uneasiness of Tricky Dicky turning in his grave. What a potential of social media, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram ... all of them to destroy democracy ... oh no, according to the Democats it's Russia we should fear ... FAKE, FAKE

Propaganda from all sides in the MSM, how will the young ones cope when the fair and truthful reports are few and far in between?

Cambridge Analytica boasts of dirty tricks to swing elections | The Guardian |

Bosses tell undercover reporters how honey traps, spies and fake news can be used to help clients

The company at the centre of the Facebook data breach boasted of using honey traps, fake news campaigns and operations with ex-spies to swing election campaigns around the world, a new investigation reveals.

Executives from Cambridge Analytica spoke to undercover reporters from Channel 4 News about the dark arts used by the company to help clients, which included entrapping rival candidates in fake bribery stings and hiring prostitutes to seduce them.

In one exchange, the company chief executive, Alexander Nix, is recorded telling reporters: "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."

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Mon Mar 19th, 2018 at 08:57:29 PM EST
re: The Decision to Trust published by Harvard Business Review (linked by "truthful reports")

The author states:

I define trust as confident [!] reliance on someone when you are in a position of vulnerability.
Then he proceeds to define a "model for trust" informally

as a process (ostensibly a human cognitive function)
which transforms values assigned to independent variables ("factors")
to yield the value of a dependent variable, "trust", inferred as above.

The author declares the following independent variables  in the expression.

Decision maker ("Truster")
P1{risk tolerance, level of adjustment, relative power }
Decision taker ("Trustee")
Situational Factors { security(risk tolerance), similarities(P2/P1), alignment of interests = = similaritiesn, benevolent concern*, capability = = similaritiesn, predictability&integrity**, level of communication}
* Σ trust n - 1, or number of trials
** unexpected factor assignment: referent is "truster," not situation
"Reliance", "vulnerability", "risk tolerance," "relative power," "level of adjustment" are undefined.
The author claims to have tested the model but provides no experimental methodology or sampling information. He concludes:

Trust is a measure [!] of the quality of a relationship--between two people, between groups of people, or between a person and an organization. In totally predictable [!] situations the question of trust doesn't arise: When you know exactly what to expect, there's no need to make a judgment call. [?]

I agree: Trust is a probability function, ƒ(x), performed by individual people. The dependent variable (y) is the measure, confidence interval (%) of expected nth trial outcome of event x | 0 ≥ p ≤1. Colloquially, the range is expressed "distrust" (0), "mistrust" (0.5), "trust" (1). However, the trust function and moral judgment, evaluation or decision, about event x are different functions.

The axiomatic weaknesses of this proposed model are immediately evident in its formulation. Firstly, the expression cannot not apply to systematic evaluation ("judgment") of human and non-human relations to facts, or events.

Thanks for slipping in this note. I'm always interested to learn what cockamamie truth of the universe the management scientists discover.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Wed Mar 21st, 2018 at 04:48:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What if people trust becuase they do not want to be bothered with participatory democracy, after all? Give me government who does all "good" deciding...

Liberalism? Forget it

There is widespread opinion that, notwithstanding deviations, the political life of humanity on a large scale is on the path of progress, and humans are becoming freer and more enlightened with time. I am going to contend with this opinion, namely, with a part of it telling that the prevailing mass of the people strives to achieve more freedom and enlightenment. On the opposite, freedom, individual independence, and political rights (not to be confused with social rights, such as state care and protection) are of minor importance to the mass. The ideology of liberalism in its classical form, as created by John Locke, Immanuel Kant, John Stuart Mill and others, yields to the pressure of the ideology of state paternalism. The pressure comes not only from above (that is, from authorities); the people also welcome more paternalism. They appear not to value their individual freedom and independence, and they are inclined to give them up voluntarily to some mighty organization such as the state in exchange for care, protection and leadership.
by das monde on Wed Mar 21st, 2018 at 05:04:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is provocative response --with two diverging propositions-- to my criticism of that HBR "model of trust."

(a) What if people trust becuase they do not want to be bothered with ... defining abstract participatory democracy or government

(b) Why people yield[] to the pressure of the ideology of state paternalism

I detect a misunderstanding.

(a) The proposition is not "what if." That people trust is undisputed. To trust is a verb, a process. The unstated prompt is what one fact or event does and individual trust? This object should be discretely defined, observable. And by observable I mean expressed in itself, as thought becomes action, beginning to end.

P(government) and P(participatory democracy) however are highly abstract objects like god and climate. Plenty people trust god, distrust climate. Their expressions are indiscrete. An attempt to calculate a p-val would be nonsensical, so why bother? Though some do collect "likes" which some may or may construe to signify distrust in the few by the many.

The basis of my criticism of the HBR model is that the formula is unfit for general use. It is not a logical representation of that cognitive process available to everyone for every instance x under any condition akin to object permanence which is not a skill. It is expectation, the formation of memories and ideation of a future state.

(b) By contrast, the HBR model stipulates a market relationship between two people. Maintenance of this relationship appears to represent a commodity labeled trust to which a Decision maker assigns undefined quantities of "similiarities" expressed by a Decision taker. This arrangement seems to me the more apt analytical framework for another discursive treatment of western political philosophies.

I sympathize. I dare say, I've more than a passing familiarity with this totalizing intellectual history and am sick of Hobbes, Hume, Locke, Bentham, Romans [!] and Romans[!], and the twin twats Plato and Aristotle. I've been in it but not of it for a long time. That I no longer trust its perversities should not suggest that I am indifferent to the truth of their effects. Of greater expense, by the way.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Mar 25th, 2018 at 08:17:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Trust by HBR (and more broadly) is an example of mine delegated causality. People are not merely "forced" to delegate decisions by vulnerability; they actively seek anyone with a hint of confidence and responsibility to take control of tricky, unwieldy activities. That is much more practical and comfortable. Humans are social-hierarchical species, after all. They know how to comply. And not that many have stable nerves, endocrine glands to take leadership consistently.

These bits are relevant examples:

Anti-anti-communism - Aeon.co

A 2009 poll in eight east European countries asked if the economic situation for ordinary people was `better, worse or about the same as it was under communism'. The results stunned observers: 72 per cent of Hungarians, and 62 per cent of both Ukrainians and Bulgarians believed that most people were worse off after 1989. In no country did more than 47 per cent of those surveyed agree that their lives improved after the advent of free markets. Subsequent polls and qualitative research across Russia and eastern Europe confirm the persistence of these sentiments as popular discontent with the failed promises of free-market prosperity has grown, especially among older people.
The Hudson Report: Ep 1 Debtors Prisons 2018
look at the founders of Greece and Rome, for instance Solon of Athens in 594 B.C. [...]

Debtors who were faced with being imprisoned or reduced to bondage would overthrow the oligarchy, cancel the debts, and redistribute the land. So Solon came in and everybody had expected him to do what had been done in Corinth and other cities: cancel the debts and redistribute the land. So he did cancel the debts and he banned debt bondage in Athens. But he didn't redistribute the land and so that was left to Peisistratos -- his successor and relative -- to sort of complete the revolution that people called the "tyrants" did in other cities.

The tyrants were really the lawgivers and the catalysts for democracy. The idea that tyrants had a bad name all was developed much later by the creditors... the last thing they wanted was a popular leader who would cancel the debts and redistribute the land.

So tyrants, mafias, even communists care about their people, after all?.. No wonder then that people would trust them better than decaying institutions.
by das monde on Mon Mar 26th, 2018 at 06:17:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]

(Thanks for posting your article again -- the last pdf is buried in my dead laptop ;) I had one of your insights in mind when I commented, especially the postulate emergence as steady state -- dao)

and no, to presuppose "Humans are social-hierarchical species, after all," is a non sequitur; and people "actively seek anyone with a hint of confidence" is an extraordinary statement.

My criticism (above) applies also to pretextual undertaking structural analysis of a "system" much less the "system" which goes undefined by the analysant. Is the system "closed"? Is the system "open"? Which system attributes validate such classification? Answers to such questions are easy to evade.

To me that means, system components, processes, and output of any "system" are unknown by the analyst. It does not mean unknowable. Failure to specify and demonstrate integral attributes of a thing discredits the very purpose of the exercise -- a systematic description of its discrete functions and their internal and external interactions.

Accordingly, the HBR "model of trust" promotes an undifferentiated "system" of dominant-subordinate role assignment to individual "decision making". Here indoctrination substitutes for but does not simulate individual factor analysis or "decision making" in a work place. Is the system "closed"? Is the system "open"? Do human commercial activities and waste correspond to ecology of an old-growth redwood forest?
Many more erudite philosphers than I have examined heteronomy, autonomy, totalitarian and ethical praxis. Further, the value of a trust decision/judgment itself is otherwise undefined or not evaluated.

For example, to trust either adverse or beneficial outcome is an equally successful test of one's expectation for a future event. The supposition however that certainty, confidence, and truth/agreement perforce express desirable facts is invidious. For it might lead one erroneously to extrapolate, millions of discrete trust processes constitute a government -- rather than human knowledge acquisition and applications, the "system" of cognition, in other words, a social system resource.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Apr 5th, 2018 at 04:29:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A car dealer gives you a cup of coffee, a cookie and good conversation. And you are so much more likely to accept his offer. Human trust can be hacked in a few ways, well known to car dealers, real estate agents, hypnotists, politicians. Conscious cognition plays about zero role in these matters, as large prefrontal cortices are mostly used for rationalizing why sex happened or did not happen ;-)

Trust, expectation, confidence are emotionally, mentally constructed notions that give meaning to your behavior. Generally, a system just behaves - either it does what a car dealer wants or not. The system is open for interaction with the environment, but its identity and behavior are autonomous, closed in an ontologically constructed sense. It does not know (and typically cannot know) everything for rational decision making. Its Umwelt constitutes a narrow scope of perception, just sufficient for behaving.

by das monde on Fri Apr 6th, 2018 at 05:11:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
LOL. I take it, you've never cruised a Whole Foods market or an AMZN fulfillment center. For example.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri Apr 6th, 2018 at 08:51:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Politicians worldwide raise questions about Cambridge Analytica's use of Facebook data | Politico |

Facebook is again under fire over its role in politics.

Politicians in the U.S. and Europe rushed to condemn allegations that millions of the social network's users may have had their personal information harvested without their knowledge to swing voters for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

 « click for more info »

Facebook admitted it had known in 2015 that profile data were passed to Alexander Nix's company. Photo: Loic Venance/AFP/Getty Images

These allegations reignited demands that Facebook and other platforms do more to police what happens within their digital empires. Policymakers, particularly in Europe, have been calling for online platforms to take greater responsibility. In the U.S., officials also accused Facebook and Twitter of helping to spread Russian-backed digital misinformation to sow dissent among voters in the 2016 electoral cycle. The companies deny the allegations.

Suspending Cambridge Analytica and SCL Group from Facebook

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Mon Mar 19th, 2018 at 10:08:06 PM EST
UK seeks warrant to examine Cambridge Analytica servers and its database

Authorities from the UK Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) are in the process of obtaining a search warrant [NY Times] to examine the internal servers of data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica after reports outlined how the company misused the Facebook data of up to 50 million users.

Facebook sent members of a digital forensics firm, called Stroz Friedberg, to perform its own independent audit of Cambridge Analytica, but Stroz Friedberg "stood down" when UK authorities requested they wait until a warrant is secured for the ICO's own criminal investigation. Facebook revealed the turn of events in a blog post update this afternoon.

Facebook Guest Post: Is Social Media Good or Bad For Democracy?

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Tue Mar 20th, 2018 at 09:27:14 AM EST
Noam Chomsky on the Populist Groundswell, U.S. Elections, the Future of Humanity, and More
During the last German election, there was a lot of talk of potential Russian interference, you know, it's gonna swing the election. Well, it turns out there was foreign interference, but it wasn't Russian. It was a combination of the Berlin office of Facebook and a media company in the U.S., which works for Trump, Le Pen, Netanyahu, other nice guys. They used Facebook in Berlin to get a demographic analysis of parts of the population to allow them to microtarget ads to individuals in favor of AfD, the neo-Nazi party, which may have been a factor in their unexpectedly high vote in the election. This was reported in Bloomberg BusinessWeek. This was a real case of electoral manipulation but somehow it doesn't make the headlines.
by das monde on Thu Mar 22nd, 2018 at 05:18:41 PM EST
The Onion: Dozens Of Other Countries That Interfered In 2016 Election Annoyed Russia Getting All The Credit

Resentful operatives from Serbia, Uruguay, Swaziland, and 45 other nations said they were incredibly annoyed that Kremlin-backed computer hackers and dark-money financiers were receiving all the media attention, while their own far superior efforts to undermine the U.S. electoral process had so far received no recognition at all.
by das monde on Thu Mar 22nd, 2018 at 05:21:10 PM EST

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