#1 Edward Snowden: Facebook is a surveillance company rebranded as 'social media' by algernonpj 18.03.2018 15:19


Edward Snowden: Facebook is a surveillance company rebranded as 'social media'
by Daniel Chaitin
March 17, 2018 09:28 PM

his story was updated at 10:37 p.m.

Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden ripped Facebook in a tweet Saturday after the social media giant suspended Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics firm which worked worked for President Trump’s campaign.

Facebook accused the firm on Friday of not deleting data it had improperly harvested from Facebook users, which number in the tens of millions, but Snowden pinned the blame squarely on Facebook and lumped in other social media companies for being just as reckless.

"Businesses that make money by collecting and selling detailed records of private lives were once plainly described as 'surveillance companies,'" Snowden said. "Their rebranding as 'social media' is the most successful deception since the Department of War became the Department of Defense."


"Facebook makes their money by exploiting and selling intimate details about the private lives of millions, far beyond the scant details you voluntarily post," Snowden said earlier in the day. "They are not victims. They are accomplices."

Cambridge Analytica on Saturday denied any wrongdoing, issuing a statement that said the firm "fully complies" with Facebook's terms of service,

The ensuing uproar has prompted at least one lawmaker, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., to call on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, reportedly asked Cambridge Analytica last fall to surrender emails from any of its employees who worked for the Trump campaign. The firm complied to the request.

Facebook has already taken heat for spreading "fake news" during the election and promised changes.

Last year Facebook handed Mueller its findings regarding Russian Facebook ads, revealed when the company announced $100,000 was purchased for ads from June 2015 to May 2017 by a Russian "troll farm" called the Internet Research Agency, which has promoted pro-Russian propaganda. The money was connected to approximately 3,000 ads and 470 "inauthentic accounts and pages."

Mueller later indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities for meddling in the 2016 presidential election, those who were part of the Internet Research Agency.

Snowden was granted asylum in Russia back in 2013 after he leaked secret information from the National Security Agency's surveillance programs and has been there ever since.


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#2 RE: Edward Snowden: Facebook is a surveillance company rebranded as 'social media' by algernonpj 18.03.2018 15:28


What Took Facebook So Long?
Scholars have been sounding the alarm about data-harvesting firms for nearly a decade. The latest Cambridge Analytica scandal shows it may be too late to stop them.

Alexis C. Madrigal
2:40 PM ET Technology

On Friday night, Facebook suspended the account of Cambridge Analytica, the political-data company backed by billionaire Robert Mercer that consulted on both the Brexit and Trump campaigns.

The action came just before The Guardian and The New York Times dropped major reports in which the whistleblower Christopher Wylie alleged that Cambridge Analytica had used data that an academic had allegedly improperly exfiltrated from the social network. These new stories, backed by Wylie’s account and internal documents, followed years of reporting by The Guardian and The Intercept about the possible problem

The details could seem byzantine. Aleksandr Kogan, then a Cambridge academic, founded a company, Global Science Research, and immediately took on a major client, Strategic Communications Laboratories, which eventually gave birth to Cambridge Analytica. (Steve Bannon, an advisor to the company and a former senior advisor to Trump, reportedly picked the name.)

The promise of Kogan’s company was that they could build psychological profiles of vast numbers of people by using Facebook data. Those profiles, in turn, might be useful to tune the political messages that Cambridge Analytica sent to potential voters. Perhaps a certain kind of message might appeal more to extroverts, or narcissists, or agreeable people.

To gather that data, the Times reports, Kogan hired workers through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk to install a Facebook app in their accounts. The app, built by Global Science Research, requested an unusual (but not unheard of) amount of data about users themselves and their friends. That’s how 270,000 Turkers ended up yielding 30 million profiles of American Facebook users that could be matched with other datasets.

From the current reporting, it seems that Kogan violated Facebook’s terms of service in saying he was using the data for academic research, but then selling it to Strategic Communications Laboratories. That’s what got Cambridge Analytica and Kogan in trouble. (Cambridge Analytica told The Guardian that they do not have possession of the data nor did they use any of this data in the 2016 election. An anonymous source in the Times story disputes this.)

There’s a lot about Cambridge Analytica that doesn’t quite add up. Are they data geniuses who swung the Brexit vote and got Trump elected, or pretenders bluffing their way to fat marketing contracts? Right after the election, several stories pointed to their psychological profiles of voters as a crucial piece of the Trump digital machine. As time has gone on, their role has come to be seen as less important, more in-line with the tiny slice of the Trump campaign treasury that they got, roughly $6 million.



#3 RE: Edward Snowden: Facebook is a surveillance company rebranded as 'social media' by algernonpj 18.03.2018 15:44


I wonder what happened to those doing data analytics for Zero

How President Obama’s campaign used big data to rally individual voters.
by Sasha Issenberg
December 19, 2012

The Obama 2012 campaign used data analytics and the experimental method to assemble a winning coalition vote by vote. In doing so, it overturned the long dominance of TV advertising in U.S. politics and created something new in the world: a national campaign run like a local ward election, where the interests of individual voters were known and addressed.

This story was originally posted in three installments.

Two years after Barack Obama’s election as president, Democrats suffered their worst defeat in decades. The congressional majorities that had given Obama his legislative successes, reforming the health-insurance and financial markets, were swept away in the midterm elections; control of the House flipped and the Democrats’ lead in the Senate shrank to an ungovernably slim margin. Pundits struggled to explain the rise of the Tea Party. Voters’ disappointment with the Obama agenda was evident as independents broke right and Democrats stayed home. In 2010, the Democratic National Committee failed its first test of the Obama era: it had not kept the Obama coalition together.

But for Democrats, there was bleak consolation in all this: Dan Wagner had seen it coming. When Wagner was hired as the DNC’s targeting director, in January of 2009, he became responsible for collecting voter information and analyzing it to help the committee approach individual voters by direct mail and phone. But he appreciated that the raw material he was feeding into his statistical models amounted to a series of surveys on voters’ attitudes and preferences. He asked the DNC’s technology department to develop software that could turn that information into tables, and he called the result Survey Manager.

That fall, when a special election was held to fill an open congressional seat in upstate New York, Wagner successfully predicted the final margin within 150 votes—well before Election Day. Months later, pollsters projected that Martha Coakley was certain to win another special election, to fill the Massachusetts Senate seat left empty by the death of Ted Kennedy. But Wagner’s Survey Manager correctly predicted that the Republican Scott Brown was likely to prevail in the strongly Democratic state. “It’s one thing to be right when you’re going to win,” says Jeremy Bird, who served as national deputy director of Organizing for America, the Obama campaign in abeyance, housed at the DNC. “It’s another thing to be right when you’re going to lose.”



#4 RE: Edward Snowden: Facebook is a surveillance company rebranded as 'social media' by algernonpj 18.03.2018 15:55


Dan Wagner had founded his own data analytics company in 2013:



and .... guess what ... they are still on facebook. How about that !


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