Cambridge Analytica + Psyops + The Beast

droid

Beast of Burden
Revelation upon revelation. Nothing truly worse than suspected, but the scale, brazenness and detail are fascinating. The fundamental question now is if Governments will take serious action against data and social media entities which are available to the highest bidder and are actively working to undermine their power. Id say 2017 may prove to be a high watermark for tech company impunity.

Should also be interesting to see how the deletefacebook campaign works out. They've lost about 7% value ($40 billion) in the last two days on the back of this, and thats before any serious consumer backlash. I visited an acquaintance there recently and got into an argument as I said I didnt feel comfortable in her house because she had the place wired up with Alexa. Its astonishing to me that people could be willing to give a company run by a sinister billionaire access to an archive of the most intimate personal details purely for the sake of some minor conveniences. Call me paranoid but in over 20 years of online activity Ive never given the internet my real name (other than for purchasing etc.), never posted recognisable or family photos, date of birth or other sensitive data.

This could be a game changer and comes at a time of existing disenchantment with various forms of online tech. A lot of people are going to recognise how badly they've been had and how badly they could be screwed in the future, not to mention the potential global political ramifications.

Feels like it might be the cusp of something really big.
 
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padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
I'll believe it when I see it

tech lobby is v powerful, + idk if govts know how to regulate these things even if the political will to do so is there, which I doubt

even if FB faced serious repercussions v difficult to see any mass defection from social media as a whole, let alone Google/Amazon etc. too deeply integrated into modern life.

I do agree 100% about the madness of handing everything over to Jeff Bezos et al

granted I am deeply cynical but I'll always bet on complacency + convenience winning out
 

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
and in re FB, $40 bn is a lot of $ but it's just one day. the market is kneejerk. 7% isn't the sky is falling - it could be falling, but it's way too early to call.

wouldn't be surprised if some people make some $ buying FB low in the near future

or who knows maybe not but keep in mind it's still a $500 bn+ company employing I'm sure many, many highly skilled PR flacks, + lawyers to fend off regulators
 

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
also not saying it's directly analogous, but Google famously had a very, very close relationship w/Obama

OK that's just regular lobbying/access - albeit at an intense level - not Cambridge Analytica, but still you could argue these are gradations on a spectrum

disinformation in elections isn't new either, nor is fearmongering, playing to base emotions, etc

the new thing is using Big Data to do it, but I have a hard time seeing govt getting to grips w/data industrial complex
 

droid

Beast of Burden
also not saying it's directly analogous, but Google famously had a very, very close relationship w/Obama

OK that's just regular lobbying/access - albeit at an intense level - not Cambridge Analytica, but still you could argue these are gradations on a spectrum

disinformation in elections isn't new either, nor is fearmongering, playing to base emotions, etc

the new thing is using Big Data to do it, but I have a hard time seeing govt getting to grips w/data industrial complex
Well, the other thing that's really different is that these tactics are being used in the West in peacetime. Obv, with Gladio etc. we've seen electoral Psyop campaigns deployed in Europe but now its private sector.
 

droid

Beast of Burden
and in re FB, $40 bn is a lot of $ but it's just one day. the market is kneejerk. 7% isn't the sky is falling - it could be falling, but it's way too early to call.

wouldn't be surprised if some people make some $ buying FB low in the near future

or who knows maybe not but keep in mind it's still a $500 bn+ company employing I'm sure many, many highly skilled PR flacks, + lawyers to fend off regulators
Oh yeah, but the worm has been turning of late and whilst sophisticated regulation is perhaps not even possible, kneejerk suppression and antitrust moves are. Id say we'll see some arrests over CA.
 

droid

Beast of Burden
Brilliant work by the Guardian/Channel 4 against some serious opposition too. Proper one/two punch over the last few days.
 

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
but now its private sector
point taken, tho how different this is really from Edward Bernays' work for United Fruit in Guatemala 1954?

"peacetime" is a nebulous concept, esp in the era of endemic asymmetric warfare, information warfare bleeding into global political/economic relations, etc
 

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
kneejerk suppression and antitrust moves
maybe, guess it's not hard to imagine a Microsoft situation where FB + federal govt are tied up in court for years, tho not sure what the grounds would be for an antitrust suit

can definitely see individuals being indicted, fines levied etc. lasting large-scale change? idk

it is getting dragged into the Mueller investigation, so we'll see where that goes
 

droid

Beast of Burden
point taken, tho how different this is really from Edward Bernays' work for United Fruit in Guatemala 1954?

"peacetime" is a nebulous concept, esp in the era of endemic asymmetric warfare, information warfare bleeding into global political/economic relations, etc
I think perhaps because its much less controlled. Guatemala was the focus of US state activity and the desires of US companies were seen as an extension of state desires. In this case, literally anyone with the money can hire a bunch of data psyop specialists with unprecedented access to their targets, support from intelligence operatives and expertise in a huge range of electoral and PR dirty tricks.

In this respect they are a serious threat to power, as Trump has shown, and Id say they are some very serious people out there very pissed off.
 

Leo

Active member
while none of this is surprising, it's still a bit of a shocker to see it spelled out. and after years of far-right wingers doing undercover video stings (along with CA thinking they are there super spies able to fool everyone), there's some sweet justice in seeing these scumbags nailed on tape.
 
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droid

Beast of Burden
Zuckerberg summoned to parliament, upcoming raid on CA offices after facebook were kicked out last night.
 

sufi

lala


thread (via my adman/marketroid mate*)


not sure i fully agree, but pouring a bit of cold water is useful, the journos are flipping their lids, the people who actually know how it all works less so.

actually selling the data is breaking the law though, so CA may get done for that - that's what the info commissioner is after

*who's a bit of a tory boy if i'm honest mind you
 

droid

Beast of Burden
The Obama comparisons are well off from what I understand of the technicals.

The follow up interviews have really fleshed out how dirty CA are, as for their effectiveness - in the right circumstances they seem to have pushed marginals over the edge at least once or twice.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
I'm sure I read somewhere that several of the subpoenas issued by Mueller were headed for the UK, but no-one knows who for yet - anyone heard anything further on this?

Brilliant work by the Guardian/Channel 4 against some serious opposition too. Proper one/two punch over the last few days.
Carole Cadwalladr's been doing some great work (in addition to having a superb name) - were you thinking of this specifically? https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news...xecs-boast-dirty-tricks-honey-traps-elections

The great piece she did last autumn about the Farage-Trump-Assange connection made me wonder if one or two of Mueller's UK-bound subpoenas could be for people with a rather high public profile. Maybe that's too much to hope though.
 

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
its much less controlled
alrite, different from Bernays, who wouldn't have freelanced for the USSR. but is CA really the first play dirty/psyops private sector election contractor?

Beyond CIA etc coups I don't really know the broader history of election influencing, but I suspect not

continue to think the only real significant innovation is big data/data science.
 
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