Saturday, September 30, 2017

Carole Cadwalladr — British courts may unlock secrets of how Trump campaign profiled US voters

In recent weeks, investigators looking at how people acting on behalf of Russia targeted American voters have focused on Trump’s data operation. But although the FBI obtained a court order against Facebook to make it disclose evidence, the exact way in which US citizens were profiled and targeted remains largely unknown.
But British data protection laws may provide some transparency on the company at the heart of Trump’s data operation – Cambridge Analytica – and how it created profiles of 240 million Americans. In January, Carroll discovered he – and a group of other citizens – had the right under UK law to ask for his personal data back from the company, and when it failed to supply it, he started filing pre-trial actions to sue the company under British law. The lawsuit is the result of a unique situation, according to Ravi Naik of Irvine Thanvi Natas, the British solicitor who is leading the case. It arose because although Cambridge Analytica is largely owned by Trump’s biggest donor, hedge-fund billionaire Robert Mercer, and though its vice-president at the time of the US election was Trump’s former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, the company was spun out of an older British military and elections contractor, SCL, with which it still shares staff, directors and a London office....
David Carroll, an associate professor at Parsons School of Design in New York, has discovered a transatlantic legal mechanism that he hopes will give him access to information being sought by both the FBI and the Senate intelligence committee....
“There are so many disturbing aspects to this. One of the things that really troubles me is how the company can buy anonymous data completely legally from all these different sources, but as soon as it attaches it to voter files, you are re-identified. It means that every privacy policy we have ignored in our use of technology is a broken promise. It would be one thing if this information stayed in the US, if it was an American company and it only did voter data stuff. 
But, he argues, “it’s not just a US company and it’s not just a civilian company”. Instead, he says, it has ties with the military through SCL – “and it doesn’t just do voter targeting”. Carroll has provided information to the Senate intelligence committee and believes that the disclosures mandated by a British court could provide evidence helpful to investigators.
It isn't just "Russia" that is involved in the attempt to "manipulate democracy."

There is a saying in the media world, "If it is free, you are the product."

The Guardian
British courts may unlock secrets of how Trump campaign profiled US voters
Carole Cadwalladr

News headlines, articles and videos like these highlight the fear and concern which many in our society have over the rising power of the surveillance state. Moore’s Law and the continuing exponential advancement of computing and telecommunications capabilities are (arguably) inexorably drawing us as a culture closer to the singularity. While transformative and unprecedented global digital sharing is empowered by these technological changes, the rise of the surveillance state and manipulative corporations like Cambridge Analytica (which allegedly was a prime mover supporting the electoral surprises of Brexit in June 2016 and the Trump presidential victory in November 2016) are also empowered entities in our culture landscape which we can ill afford to ignore. 
This brings us to the oft cited slogan from Spiderman, “With great power comes great responsibility.”
Moving at the Speed of Creativity
Rights and Responsibilities in an Age of Surveillance
Wesley Fryer
See also

Forget All Those Selfies—Tinder Has Amassed a Lot of Data on Millions Looking For a Hook Up
Sophie Linden

Then there is the censorship threat.

Russia Insider
SYRIANGIRL's Facebook Ban Linked to Russia-gate Twitter Purge? - an Exclusive Interview
Charles Bausman

Zero Hedge
"The Bombs Are Still Falling" - MSNBC Urges Government Censorship Of Social Media "To Protect Democracy"
Tyler Durden


Noah Way said...

Of course the DNC has no similar system and would never, ever consider such a thing.

Tom Hickey said...

Of course the DNC has no similar system and would never, ever consider such a thing.

Looks like the Trump people got the jump on them in this election, just as former edirect mail consultant Karl Rov did in the county by county database he put together.

This is a reason I harp on advertising, PR and political strategy expertise as necessary for promoting MMT as it scales. It's a weapon that will be used against and it needs to be countered.