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Another terrific Daily GasLamp Article has just been posted: “What is all the fuss about Cambridge Analytica? Part 3”
So what is revealed in part 3? According to the author: “This part is about the methods and implications of CA on electoral processes?” The net was tightening around the tech company that had boasted of running the 2016 Trump digital campaign for the Presidency. The author documents how a warrant to search company servers was issued by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and in March 2018 Cambridge Analytica’s London offices were searched. In an effort to distance themselves from the fallout Facebook claimed to have been deceived and banned Cambridge Analytica from advertising on their platform.
Suspended from Amazon’s Cloud Hosting Services, “the governments of India and Brazil demanded that CA report how their data was used in political campaigning.” According to the author’s documentation of the penalties levied in a July 2018 judgement: “the United Kingdom’s Information Commissioner’s Office announced it intended to fine Facebook £500,000 ($663,000) over the data scandal, this being the maximum fine allowed at the time of the breach, saying Facebook ‘contravened the law by failing to safeguard people’s information’.”
This paltry fine of Facebook for their gross violations of our privacy laws amounted to a sum unlikely to denture similar criminality in the future. In July 2019 a US court was a lot harsher in penalizing Facebook, hitting them with a $4Billion fine for their part in the data breach. Why are the UK authorities so helpless to act letting off this tech giant with a slap on the wrist when their illegal data breach and the devious manipulation of that data will now be permitted to negatively impact the British way of life for decades to come? In a move the author describes as “Rather too late…” with Cambridge Analytica “now ‘gone’ but their methods, their ‘genie’ is now out of the bottle.”
The author goes on to describe the illegal practices of Cambridge Analytica and Facebook under the heading “What did they do?” Cambridge Analytica’s Facebook app called “This Is Your Digital Life” seemed like an innocuous quiz-like game but in reality it was not only harvesting data on those who voluntarily played, but also on all of the “friends” they were linked to via Facebook who were unwittingly caught in this vast illegal net, despite not being consulted or providing permission. In breach of Facebook’s own terms of service data from about 87 million users was harvested for political targeting.
There is a Link to hear Alexander Nix describe the CA Big Data approach elections as the author goes in to describe how electioneering moved on from the conventional demographics as collected by canvassers to complex psychographic profiles with “the attitudes of each person distilled down to a few variables!” The author says that: “What CA has invented is the technology to subvert the traditional election processes.” Those targeted as “persuadable” might not be urged to vote a certain way; they are just as easily dissuaded from voting at all. As well as promoting disenfranchisement these toxic messages often stoke prejudice or unwarranted fear through deliberate disinformation just as we saw in both the Leave Campaign and the 2019 Election.
The article is certainly not a comfortable read as it goes on to elaborate on how this gross deception of the public was achieved. There is a good description of what psychographics are and how the technology evolved from product advertising to being used as a tool for covert political manipulation. “Psychographic information might be your buyer’s habits, hobbies, spending habits and values. Demographics explain “who” the buyer is, while psychographics explain “why” they buy.” According to the author: “Proven in the commercial market, CA weaponized Psychographics for electioneering…”
In 2008, Michal Kosinski of the Psychometrics Centre of Cambridge University helped develop a profiling system using general online data, Facebook-likes, and smartphone data. “He showed that with a limited number of “likes”, people can be analysed better than friends or relatives can do and that individual psychological targeting is a powerful tool to influence people.” According to the author: “This aspect of facebook-likes is absolutely key and – as far as I can tell – is missed in all other write-ups of the Presidential Election 2016 and GE2019 Fraud.” This is probably the biggest take-away from the article.
The author describes various techniques and interventions some of which I was entirely unaware of including: Sentiment Analysis; Robot Process Automation (RPA); then going on to define the difference between Bots and Sock Puppets. In my naivety I was grateful for this explanation as to my amazement the latter had nothing to do with keeping your feet snug and warm in winter! Some of us struggle to keep pace with the new jargon.
The author makes a very important point about what money can buy: “The set up and running of this technology requires a huge amount of capital intensive investment (this is where the rich, organised “few” outgun the poor, disorganised “many”). And this technology is not even in party headquarters but can be outsourced to friendly front organisations, commercial organisations or even foreign powers.”
There is an explanation of how cheaper and readily available off the shelf technology in the form of a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system can be morphed into a new role to serve an election goal with a core set of marketing principals adapted accordingly. The devious agenda of Dominic Cummings, architect of both the Vote Leave campaign and the 2019 Tory General Election strategy is described in his blog where he talks of his central database of voters called the “Voter Intention Collection System (VICS).”
Where did Dominic Cummings obtain the core data to fuel his VICS program for use in the 2019 General Election? The Author describes his source as both: “…’conventional and unconventional’ – from that we can assume conventional = demographic data – freely available to political parties – and unconventional = psychographic… as described above – illegal.” In conclusion the author declares that this data was obtained illegally; “Illegal to the price of $5billion just to Facebook alone for allowing a loophole in its software. How much more illegal is it for people to deliberately exploit that loophole?”
Good Question! Do visit the Daily GasLamp to read this informative piece in full for a better understanding of what just occurred to our thoroughly discredited Electoral System. We need to seek justice and put things right ASAP so Please, read, sign, share and Link to this vital Petition: 2019 TORY LANDSLIDE VICTORY DEMANDS URGENT NATIONWIDE INVESTIGATION.