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Cambridge Analytica – Part 2

As Mark Zuckerberg was testifying before Congress today, let’s look at the individual and company that took the personal data from Facebook.

According to The Register Aleksandr Kogan, PhD is a Russian-American psychologist who is a lecturer at Cambridge University and an adjunct instructor at the St. Petersburg State University in Russia. He has a company, Global Science Research, that he uses for his non-academic research.

He put up an app on Facebook called “This Is Your Digital Life” that he said was for research by psychologists. He failed to mentioned that the app created a data base of the private information of those who used it, but could also take the information of friends of the users. He also failed to disclose the possibility of sale of that data to others.

The BBC reported that Facebook has determined the app hit 87 million users. This despite only 305,000 users actually taking the quiz in the app.

In Part 3 I’ll cover the Canadian whistle-blower and the company he helped to found in British Columbia before joining Cambridge Analytica..

15 comments

1 Kryten42 { 04.11.18 at 7:05 am }

That Zuckerberg inquiry was a complete sham! From both sides of the House! I tweeted about that using this Guardian article:

Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook hearing was an utter sham

Kamala Harris was about the only one who called BS on it.

2 shirt { 04.11.18 at 10:04 am }

This entire Facebook affair vindicates my attitude about social websites. They are not social, they are in it for themselves. So I don’t twitter, or facebook or answer online surveys or answer questions like “Do you think AFTA s a Bircher front?”

I’m equally certain that more than one entity is sweeping up all blog responses to blog posting from blogs everywhere and attempting to build profiles. I wonder if VPN would protect me from those?

3 Bryan { 04.11.18 at 3:27 pm }

Why were they talking to Zucherberg? He is the CEO, CEOs don’t know anything. He and some friends created a site at college for rating women, which is why it is called “Facebook”. He has less than no clue as to what is going on with the current site.

Aleksandr Kogan is the one who needs to answer questions. He’s the one who harvested all of the data, and who can tell about the weaknesses of Facebook’s platform.

The micro-targeting that Facebook provides allow advertisers to target their audience. It really enables people to discriminate for good and bad reasons. It is the inherent ability to classify Facebook users that is the strength and flaw of Facebook.

A VPN protects you from your ISP logging everything you do, Shirt, but you need a variety of names and email addresses to hide your comments on the free blogging platforms. Trying to see all of your comments on this site would require looking at individual posts and copying and pasting comments to be sorted later. I can do it simply and quickly through site tools, but it requires administrator privileges to do it in WordPress, and major hacking skills to find and access the file that comments are stored in.

4 Kryten42 { 04.11.18 at 3:47 pm }

I agree Bryan.

Also about the VPN security. I have 2 VPN’s, a hardware one to my servers around the World & CyberGhost that I’ve been using for years now for general use. Works very well. I also found Speedify to be good, not as good as CyberGhost, but not as bad as most (many are a con!) Of course, I NEVER use my real name/details online, except when I absolutely have to (Gov. sites or banking etc.) and then definitely only via VPN. I have a half dozen or so email addresses, mostly throw away’s if they are compromised or become SPAM magnets. None of them have any real details about me & I block any/all attempts to find out! GMail is getting particularly nosy of late & I may dump it soon. My only real *ME* email servers are my own on my personal cloud servers.

It’s handy to have once been a professional paranoid! Because I KNOW *they* are out to get everyone and how they work. You truly cannot trust anyone! 😉 😆

5 Bryan { 04.11.18 at 7:29 pm }

Or to have worked with people who are paid to do this for the government. That and battery life are the reasons I turn WiFi and Bluetooth off on my phone when I leave the house. I don’t use anyone else’s WiFi and realize that Bluetooth is a two-way radio.

I’m not on ‘social media’ beyond this blog. I have no interest in ‘sharing beyond the things on my web site. Google, Facebook, etc. need a funding stream. that’s why there are ads, and why they sell the data on their users. It is a necessary evil, but one that users should be aware of. Financial institutions have to get your permission to share data, and so should web sites.

At the Agency codes were sorted based on how long it would take to break them – there was no “Never” folder. The asumption was all codes could be broken, even the book based code based on two copies of identical books. The book code was the toughest, but a couple of burglaries and you had the answer. Not that the US would do something like that 😈

6 Badtux { 04.12.18 at 6:43 pm }

I’m on Facebook for one reason — it’s the only real way I have of coordinating things with my far-flung set of desert friends, given that we live at all points on the compass. I don’t answer those quiz things (especially the ones that read like the security questions for my bank!), and my profile is not set to ‘public’ so if you want to get data you have to get it directly from Facebook, not by going to the public API. Unfortunately Facebook didn’t respect that setting on my profile. GRR!

So they now know my Social Media Birthday (which is a totally different birthday from my real birthday), know that my music preferences are Britney Spears and Ted Nugent (LOL!), studied at Miskatonic University, and otherwise have trash data. About the only thing they’re right about is when they say I’m “very liberal”. That one’s pretty easy to figure out just by what I follow and read :).

7 Bryan { 04.12.18 at 9:06 pm }

I can understand why people would use it – if you have non-technical friends and family they may swear by it and it is the only thing they use on line. You can warn them all you want but they don’t want to learn a new, more secure system. I can understand. I know that I could lie about everything, but I had to do that for too many years when I was in the military and it is annoying. They were government created and approved lies, but lies none the less. It is easier and less stressful to tell the truth or say you can’t talk about it.

8 Badtux { 04.14.18 at 4:23 pm }

But hey, my BA in Arcane Studies at Miskatonic University with specialties in Eldritch Studies and Cthulhu Mythos surely gives them all the data they need to properly target me with advertising, right? 😉

As does my job and place of employment — Worshipper at Temple of Cthulhu, job description “Kneel at the knee of your great god Facebook”. Heh.

9 Bryan { 04.14.18 at 5:39 pm }

So, you will get all of the Lovecraft related media, Dungeons & Dragons miscellany, New Age tschokes, and unclaimed wyrd effluent of eBay and the Amazon Marketplace. No matter what you put down an algorithm will find something to advertise to you. 😉

The amazing part is that someone actually pays to have those algorithms created.

10 Badtux { 04.14.18 at 5:49 pm }

Well, I don’t mind getting those advertisements, so maybe their algorithm works? 🙂

11 Bryan { 04.14.18 at 9:05 pm }

Well that selection beats Amazon’s ‘suggestions’ after I would buy CDs that my Mother wanted.

12 Badtux { 04.15.18 at 3:10 am }

Oh come on, everybody knows that you want another copy of the Greatest Hits of Tony Bennett. 🙂

13 Bryan { 04.15.18 at 12:38 pm }

I could could live with Tony Bennett, but Engelbert Humperdinck !!

14 Badtux { 04.15.18 at 12:49 pm }

Oh my. There’s a name I haven’t heard in a while. A quick glance at Wikipedia later and I was surprised that a) he’s still alive and performing at age 81, and b) he has a new album released six months ago. Of course, you already knew that, since Amazon showed you the advertisement for the new album on your “Recommendations” list. 😉

15 Bryan { 04.15.18 at 8:21 pm }

Definitely not Janis Joplin or Jimi Hendrix…