cambridge analytica

cambridge analytica.png

uses data to change audience behavior

via Christopher Wylie:

i help set up cambridge analytica.. it’s incorrect to call cambridge analytica a purely data science co or an algo co.. it is a full service propaganda machine.. you are whispering into the ear of each and every voter..this was the weapon that steve banning wanted to build to fight his culture war

imagine we focus on 1\ using data that matters (ie:self-talk as data)  2\ everyone having something else to do (ie: gershenfeld sel) .. so that war/privacy/et-al.. becomes irrelevant

a nother way

ie: hlb via 2 convos that io dance.. as the day..[aka: not part\ial.. for (blank)’s sake…]


wikipedia small

Cambridge Analytica (CA) is a privately held company that combines data mining and data analysis with strategic communication for the electoral process. It was created in 2013 as an offshoot of its British parent company SCL Group to participate in American politics. In 2014, CA was involved in 44 US political races. The company is partly owned by the family of Robert Mercer, an American hedge-fund manager who supports many politically conservative causes. The firm maintains offices in New York City, Washington, DC and London.

In 2015, it became known as the data analysis company working initially for Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign. In 2016, after Cruz’s campaign had faltered, CA worked for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, and on the Leave.EU-campaign for the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union. CA’s role and effect on those campaigns has been disputed and is the subject of ongoing criminal investigations in both countries.

On March 17, 2018, The New York Times and The Observer reported on Cambridge Analytica’s use of personal information acquired by an external researcher who claimed to be collecting it for academic purposes. In response, Facebook banned Cambridge Analytica from advertising on its platform. The Guardian further reported that Facebook had known about this security breach for two years, but did nothing to protect its users


adding page because of this article by Luke Stark..  and while taking in Christopher Wylie

stark | contrast (@luke_stark) tweeted at 2:20 PM – 18 Mar 2018 :

New from me in @Slate: How computer science’s view of the brain as just another machine gave rise to Cambridge Analytica via @slate (

The Long History of Computer Science and Psychology Comes Into View

by @luke_stark

Also in the 1960s, computer scientist Hilary Putnam developed the idea of the “computational theory of mind,” which understood the brain as a computing machine and helped shape the field of cognitive psychology around thinking of brains as “information processors.”

The kind of communication with machines envisioned by the PARC authors was based on understanding the human being as a functional analogue to the computer.

Card and his co-authors had great ambitions for human-computer interaction as a new way to shape our behavior. They called it “an applied psychology” grounded in understanding a human and computer as one single unit through numerical tracking, task analysis, and calculability. In traditional experimental psychology, the authors complained, “measurements come to have little value in themselves as a continually growing body of useful quantitative knowledge.” Human-computer interaction, in contrast, would collect data about the human body indiscriminately, and put all sorts of measurement about the human information processor to use

Card, Moran, and Newell were interested in collecting whatever data they could about human computer users—and they thought that computer scientists, not psychologists, should be the ones applying psychological techniques with digital systems. Systems designers were “engaged in a sort of psychological civil engineering,” they wrote, using human abilities as one factor among many to create an efficiently operating system.

The humble online quiz, a way for individuals to while away time ever since’s famous Purity Test from the 1990s became a vector to collect personality data. Kosinski’s 2013 researcher relied on a personality test circulated via Facebook—a copy of which was used by Cambridge Analytica. And with Facebook and Twitter performing nearly constant behavioral experiments to test ways their users could be nudged into spending more time on their sites, the amounts of behavioral and psychological data collected by our digital devices is only getting bigger.

“A smart phone,” Kosinski told the media after the 2016 election, “is a vast psychological questionnaire that we are constantly filling out, both consciously and unconsciously.”

As the Cambridge Analytica story shows, there’s a fine line between psychological civil engineering and psychological civil war.

neither are humane..

The long history of psychology’s role in computing means the Cambridge Analytica bombshell makes unfortunate sense—and makes *immediate regulation of these forms of data an urgent necessity.

*regulation will never work.. we need a to try something else..

1\ different data (ie:self-talk as data).. via a

2\ different mech (ie: gershenfeld sel) .. to facil 7 bn people free to spend their days doing something else


The Cambridge Analytica/digital component is obviously unique but mass mail interception for data mining to change the mood of the population has a longer history. For that I recommend: “Information is the alpha and omega of our work”

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surveillance then was not designed to uncover popular sentiments and moods, nor was it intended merely to keep people under control; it’s whole purpose was to act on people, to change them..

It was something only governments could do and now sufficiently wealthy people can lead the charge. And the level of scope and granularity is quite different but interesting that these techniques were long in use and known.

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some of the Cambridge Analytica coverage mistakenly repeats their pitch that they can alter your mind with their magical data

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The issue goes far beyond what Cambridge Analytica may have done in 2016. We need to confront that this kind of surveillance/data infrastructure is ripe for use, misuse and abuse. My latest for the @nytimes. (

Mr. Grewal is right: This wasn’t a breach in the technical sense. It is something even more troubling: an all-too-natural consequence of Facebook’s business model, which involves having people go to the site for social interaction, only to be quietly subjected to an enormous level of surveillance.

Facebook even creates “shadow profiles” of nonusers. That is, even if you are not on Facebook, the company may well have compiled a profile of you, inferred from data provided by your friends or from other data. This is an involuntary dossier from which you cannot opt out in the United States

Despite Facebook’s claims to the contrary, everyone involved in the Cambridge Analytica data-siphoning incident did not give his or her “consent” — at least not in any meaningful sense of the word. It is true that if you found and read all the fine print on the site, you might have noticed that in 2014, your Facebook friends had the right to turn over all your data through such apps. (Facebook has since turned off this feature.) If you had managed to make your way through a bewildering array of options, you might have even discovered how to turn the feature off.

This wasn’t informed consent. This was the exploitation of user data and user trust.

The real problem is that billions of dollars are being made at the expense of the health of our public sphere and our politics, and crucial decisions are being made unilaterally, and without recourse or accountability.


Mark responds to cambridge analytica ness


Why (almost) everything reported about the Cambridge Analytica Facebook ‘hacking’ controversy is wrong

To be crystal clear, I’m not arguing that Cambridge Analytica and Kogan were innocent. At the very least, it is clear they were doing things that were contrary to Facebook’s data sharing policies. And similarly Facebook seems to have been altogether too cavalier with permitting developers to access its users’ private data.

What I am arguing is that Cambridge Analytica are not the puppet masters they are being widely portrayed as. If anything they are much more akin to Donald Trump; making widely exaggerated claims about their abilities and getting lots of attention as a result.


Barrett Brown (@BarrettBrown_) tweeted at 6:07 AM – 1 Jun 2018 :
As summarized here, our crowd-sourced investigation into the Team Themis affair revealed intel contractors weaponizing social media. Obama DOJ threw me in prison over it. Then those contractors joined Cambridge Analytica. Oops! (


I’m just getting started.

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And total vindication for @profcarroll who with his lawyer @ravinaik has been battling Cambridge Analytica on behalf of 240 million US voters. It’s because of his case that the ICO is bringing first criminal proceedings against CA.

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the great hack (netflix doc) – with David Carroll