Facebook-Cambridge Analytica anti-privacy scandal

This video from the USA says about itself:

Cambridge Analytica 2.0 Coming Soon

The Mercer family was behind Cambridge Analytica. Now they’re at it again. Cenk Uygur and Brett Erlich, the hosts of The Young Turks, break it down.

“Rebekah and Jennifer Mercer, daughters of hedge fund tycoon Robert Mercer, have just joined the board of a mysterious new company set up by executives at scandal-hit political research firm Cambridge Analytica. According to public filings at Britain’s Companies House, Emerdata was incorporated in August 2017 and the Mercers were appointed to its board on March 16 this year.

Cambridge Analytica’s now-suspended chief executive, Alexander Nix, is also listed as a director, as is Julian Wheatland, chairman of Cambridge Analytica parent firm SCL Group. The filings show Wheatland set up Emerdata along with Cambridge Analytica’s chief data officer, Alexander Tayler. Nix’s role in Emerdata is unclear given he has been suspended from Cambridge Analytica. A spokesman did not respond to a request for comment. It isn’t clear what Emerdata does, though the company is listed under “data processing, hosting, and related activities.” It shares an address in Canary Wharf with Cambridge Analytica’s parent, SCL Group.”

Read more here.

From daily News Line in Britain:

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Orwell’s 1984 is small fry compared to Facebook and Cambridge Analytica in 2018

AN ACADEMIC who created an app which ‘harvested’ data from 50 million people now says he has been made ‘a scapegoat’ for the scandal of Facebook and Cambridge Analytica.

The academic, Dr Aleksandr Kogan, completed work for Cambridge Analytica in 2014, but said he had no idea the data would be used for Donald Trump’s election campaign. He only wanted the data of 50 million people because he was interested in human behaviour in the abstract, without any political or financial motive.

Facebook says that Kogan violated the site’s policies by developing a personality survey called This is Your Digital Life where 270,000 users’ data was collected without their permission to do so, as well as data from the 270,000 users’ 53 million friends.

This makes George Orwell’s 1984 ‘Big Brother’ state seem like child’s play, compared to the modern spy agencies that want to ‘own people,’ to know all about them, all the better to develop policies to control them economically and politically, putting an end to human freedom, leaving only one way for the people to really express themselves, and their rage at modern capitalist society – through socialist revolutions!

Dr Kogan’s defence, as told to BBC’s Radio Four, is that he was ‘stunned’ by the allegations made against him as he was advised the app was entirely legal. He said: ‘The events of the past week have been a total shell shock, and my view is that I’m being basically used as a scapegoat by both Facebook and Cambridge Analytica when … we thought we were doing something that was really normal.’

In fact, what he was doing, laying the basis for making profits out of people, is entirely normal under capitalism! The mass spying activity was carried out with a slimy cynicism when in 2014 a Facebook quiz invited users to find out their personality type.

This app harvested not only the user data of the person taking part in the quiz, but also the data of their friends. The data of some 50 million users, mainly in the US, was harvested without their consent via their friend networks and then used in the battle for the US presidency.

It is being claimed that the data were then sold to Cambridge Analytica. The firm’s chief executive Alexander Nix – who was suspended on Tuesday – was secretly recorded in a Channel 4 investigation saying the company ran Donald Trump’s digital campaign during the 2016 US election. On Tuesday, a parliamentary committee called for Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg to give evidence about the use of personal data by Cambridge Analytica.

Damian Collins, the chairman of the House of Commons inquiry into fake news, has accused Facebook of previously ‘misleading’ the committee about this ‘catastrophic failure of process’. Of course, there was no catastrophic failure of process; the process worked perfectly. Information was harvested from 50 or so million people, and was then sold, as a commodity, to be used for both commercial and political purposes – all without their permission.

US senators have called on Zuckerberg, the proprietor of Facebook, to testify before Congress about how Facebook will protect users. The consumer watchdog the US Federal Trade Commission has also reportedly opened an investigation into Facebook. Zuckerberg may well be fined, but this will not resolve the issue.

We are living in a capitalist society, based on the exploitation of the working class through commodity production, where all use values are sold to realise their exchange value. As Marx explains in Capital, commodities can satisfy not just physical needs but can be to satisfy ‘fancy’.

Facebook treats information as a commodity. It takes the details of countless people, to be harvested and sold in order to elect political parties that act to keep the capitalist system and its superexploitation going.

This Trump administration appointee formerly worked at Cambridge Analytica.

“Mark Zuckerberg tried to censor me when I published his Harvard application. Here it is again.”

Behind the Facebook data scandal: The drive to censor the Internet: here.

Google announced Wednesday that it is partnering with the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Financial Times and other major news outlets to reinforce their monopoly over news coverage by blocking independent news organizations: here.

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