Regulations should have sprouted in Obama years, but the admin and tech execs were too buddy buddy and no way Trump promotes this because it makes him look like he is accepting Russia interfered and it's not politically expedient for him to do so.
Same thing with Harvey Weinstein and all the metoo that was known by everyone. I mean I'm happy with all of this coming out, but why now? How is it so coordinated? Usually these guys pay journalists for fluff pr counter views or to shut down stories. Weinstein did.
Is this Data just a metoo thing? Is google next?
Not disputing this, but when you say 'we' I think you mean the < 5% (maybe even < 1%) of techies and lawyers and journalists in the world who really really care about their data and privacy.
The rest 95% either don't know, or could care less even if they know. I've told my non-techie fam and friends about data harvesting, privacy, and how facebook tracks everything, only to be ignored or outright ridiculed ("Oh you techies are so paranoid").
Many of my friends in India (where I was raised) and elsewhere used to freely post their phone # and home address on my wall asking me to call them / send them stuff from US. I don't think this 95% population really cares or gives a sh*t.
pretty much exactly my experience with Canadian and American family. People didn't give one iota of a fuck when the Snowden revelations came out because they just assumed that it was the case already.
I think the average techie underestimates how important platform lockin + user interface design + ubiquity are. Once something like Facebook Messenger has reached a critical market share trying to get people to stop using it, no matter how privacy violating FB may be, is about as effective as trying to get people in the year 1985 to disconnect their house's analog telephone line.
It's more complex than that. The tracking and surveillance are not visible to the average person. Point your camera at someone in a coffee shop or bar and take their picture. They'll be coming over to ask you why you took their photo. The fact that the coffee shop or bar is brimming with overhead cameras is completely lost on them because it is mostly invisible (or least no longer noticed).
Just wait until someone does a massive leak of actual personal data, photos, and videos, as opposed to abstract technical reports and Powerpoint slides that Snowden leaked. The average person will be screaming like a banshee when they can look up all the personal info and private pics of themselves and their neighbors and friends on some public webserver.
With the coffee shop, it makes sense; the cameras in retail are expected to only be used for review, when some event occurs. No one expects it to be used for data mining and behavioral analysis purposes. And even if it were, the expectation is that this would be for academic purposes; that is, with no real commercial intent.
Worst case scenario is that it'd end up being archived in a box of tapes somewhere.
Datamining abuses this expectation. But it makes sense for the expectation to exist; it was the norm until extremely recently.
Right. Except that this is also not true.
Source: "A crashed advertisement reveals the code of the facial recognition system used by a pizza shop in Oslo..." => https://twitter.com/gamblelee/status/862307447276544000?lang...
Also, the word "reveals" is used to make the headline more sensational, just like any other headline. It doesn't tell you anything about the average person.
But you’re probably right that most people don’t think this is happening but only expect the stream is only flashing on a screen in front of a guard in real time and stored on a tape temporarily.
The whole point of "less surveillance" is to limit the amount of information stored, because information stored IS the vulnerability.
Normal people aren't obsessing over tech like the common hn reader.
I always thought this webserver is called "facebook", isn't it?
writing this comment from South-East Europe where many people use facebook not just for cat pics but to find work and network with colleagues. It's a huge problem in developing countries where facebook IS the Internet. FB recently announced it would roll out job-posts for low-income workers[¹]. This will mean an even stronger lock-in for the user. While the discussion on ethics evolve mostly user-privacy and CA/FB role in Brexit/election hacking, the problem for less developed regions is facebook taking from them without giving back (fb is known not to pay it's taxes in Europe)
I have a few cows back in my village. I have toyed with the idea of creating a cattle monitoring application that would have to make use of Facebook or WhatsApp. The herder sends me a picture every evening of the cows. I want to piggy back on the affordable connectivity given to Facebook and WhatsApp. Yes I know, this would contribute to the problem but for me losing cattle is a bigger problem. From parent, finding a job is a bigger problem so we all get sucked into Facebook.
I’ve always wondered why face book, a platform which could unify teachers from mit with the poorest students across the globe has never done shit to do so.
They claim to “connect the globe” but the haven’t connected anything.
Where is the teacher hosting a class where any single person from fbs vast user base can connect?
Facebook could have become the global educational foundation with their platform at this point.
But it’s just a circlejerk.
Well, that was the original hope with print, radio and TV.
So we mostly get scandal sheets, soap operas and reality TV.
"What we learn from history is that we don't learn from history", as some wag put it.
I.e. where enough people watched the content, where the proposal was realistically achievable, and would have been financially viable.
Not saying such a thing is impossible but it sure isn't easy.
And if you dig around the writings around the time that radio and (later) TV got started, you'll see plenty of hopeful plans for universal education.
But after the transient is over, the steady state is kind of underwhelming. People are very resistant to instruction that doesn't suit them, and I really can't blame that.
I was responding to your comment saying "that was the original hope with print, radio and TV. So we mostly get scandal sheets, soap operas and reality TV"!
I'm fully aware there's major benefits that have come from those mediums.
> And if you dig around the writings around the time that radio and (later) TV got started, you'll see plenty of hopeful plans for universal education.
Again, you were the one who said it didn't pan out, and you implied the only reason they didn't was because <quote>"What we learn from history is that we don't learn from history", as some wag put it.</quote>.
My comment was pointing out that the reason has to be more than just that -- thus the challenge to come up with a proposal that could actually work.
Don't confuse privacy with secrecy. I know what you do in the bathroom, but you still close the door. That’s because you want privacy, not secrecy.
I found this article very interesting about FB - http://www.salimvirani.com//facebook/
Has this ever been proved or is it just an urban legend? I keep hearing this anecdote but I always thought it was fishy and could easily be explained by a simple coincidence. Like these people who claim that the Facebook app is listening to them continuously to match keywords for ads.
My girlfriend and I are in our early 30's, she's been regularly targeted for pregnancy-related products for the past 5 years at least. It seems that for most advertisers you don't need a super fancy algorithm harvesting thousands of data points, simply "woman age 25-35" is probably good enough to assume that pregnancy is likely. Undoubtedly Target has that information, they thought that it was plausible that she could be pregnant (or would be in the close future) so they sent pregnancy-related material. When it turned out that this person was actually pregnant they thought Target was surprisingly prescient. Of course that's not counting the hundreds of people who potentially received the same offer but were not actually pregnant and discarded it immediately as junk mail.
I'm sure the profiling takes place but this anecdote probably overplays how accurate these predictions are. Facebook and Google are in an other league though, they have access to so much more personal info, I'm sure these companies "know" many of their users better than any of their friends or relative ever will.
About a year after Pole created his pregnancy-prediction model, a man walked into a Target outside Minneapolis and demanded to see the manager. He was clutching coupons that had been sent to his daughter, and he was angry, according to an employee who participated in the conversation.
“My daughter got this in the mail!” he said. “She’s still in high school, and you’re sending her coupons for baby clothes and cribs? Are you trying to encourage her to get pregnant?”
The manager didn’t have any idea what the man was talking about. He looked at the mailer. Sure enough, it was addressed to the man’s daughter and contained advertisements for maternity clothing, nursery furniture and pictures of smiling infants. The manager apologized and then called a few days later to apologize again.
On the phone, though, the father was somewhat abashed. “I had a talk with my daughter,” he said. “It turns out there’s been some activities in my house I haven’t been completely aware of. She’s due in August. I owe you an apology.”
Also, a bit later in the article, they realise that being explicit about what they're doing is bad, people do care, when it obviously happens to them:
Using data to predict a woman’s pregnancy, Target realized soon after Pole perfected his model, could be a public-relations disaster. So the question became: how could they get their advertisements into expectant mothers’ hands without making it appear they were spying on them? How do you take advantage of someone’s habits without letting them know you’re studying their lives?
This is what so many people on the thread don't seem to get. Most normal people take this stuff at face value. They assume it does what it says on the tin. They apply human decency and an expectation of a normal human, fallible, porous memory to a frightening, insatiable industry that has no decency and an infinitely perfect memory.
Facebook, they assume, lets you connect to your friends. Facebook never say "in return for a free photo sharing and messaging system we will spy on everything you and your friends do, track everything you do on the internet, figure out what makes you tick, your loves, hates, wants, 'secret' desires, tie it all up in a bow and sell it to anyone who'll pay us, with your name, email and phone number attached".
If advertisers know what will get you to push the buy button then they can use that against you. Advertising pregnancy pants to those who aren't pregnant will almost always fail, and from the advertisers perspective it wastes an opportunity to push a product that you might buy.
Did your research find that story to be a fraud?
They think they can befriend an evil person who they know too well would stab them in the back. They think that they are stronger and more intelligent than the evil friend.
The proper answer is that if you think a friend of yours is a shitty person, then don't befriend them anymore. If you don't like what the fuck Facebook does, then just don't have a Facebook account. It's an inconvenience in the short term because you can't talk to some of your friends, sure. But if you have it and invent those workarounds and ask me to install that piece of shit so I can talk to you, then you complicit with it and make my life shitty too. When I realized that, I realized that's exactly what Stallman meant when he talked about proprietary software -- which is what he doesn't agree with.
(Yes, I’ve seen that on 50 in Tahoe.)
But I have to say,
> Which is a dangerous family of opinions to apply without fully understanding them
I get what you're saying, but the point of the advice is that, in a situation to which the advice is applicable, you don't fully understand the implications of anything you may say, so your best play is to clam up and get a lawyer.
Your best play if you want to waste police time because you for some reason hate society and think helping to make it run smoothly infringes on your rights - because fuck those guys, right, they're not paying you to search for the kid you just saw walking off with Ann Ominous, why should you help.
Hyperbole; but I think it illustrates the counterpoint sufficiently.
I said, "in a situation to which the advice is applicable". Nobody is saying leave Timmy in the well, they're talking about situations involving being detained or arrested.
You don't have to click it. For example I have zero interest in celebrities or reality TV, I've never clicked a link or read an article about them. Yet even I know who Kanye Kardashian is, and that he's married to (or is? * ) a woman with an enormous backside. it's pervasive, it becomes part of the background and what you consider "normal". I absolutely guarantee that despite never having clicked a link about Trump, just having that link there and seeing the headline, will have influenced you, same as it would anyone.
* No don't tell me, I don't care
I've hidden pretty much everyone, only keeping a few music or art pages, only go on facebook maybe once a week anyways.
I use messenger a lot though. I hate typing on phones so not many texts, and whatsapp web interface is not that great (and it's not as widely used by my friends, and it's owned by facebook anyways so what's the difference ?).
Actually a fun detail is that I entered facebook under the wrong gender : I'm labelled as a male though I'm female. When I looked at my targeted center of interests I had the most average things ever ie sports and such (which I don't follow -at all-). Like, really, you have nothing better on me ?
So I don't care about my data (I don't think I put a lot out there anyways) or whatever and I've yet to be convinced how it matters at all in the grand scheme of the universe.
To me, that is part of the problem.
For years Facebook, and Google, have been telling the world they understand us better than we know ourselves, and all the fine-grained ways they can categorise and predict us. They actually seem to believe it. Then when they allow us to look at what they have inferred it is usually comically wrong for pretty much everyone.
Then they go on to sell to us, categorise and bubble us as though it were fact, and sell access to this marvellous factual data or sell their marvellous data mining capability to riffle through vast amounts of NHS data, or predict crime, or...
We're building a global infrastructure with a foundation of that 98% bullshit. That was mostly harmless when it was just about product ads. When it moves on to health, justice and politics and it's shown they're able to move the needle I think it does matter. Perhaps not much to anyone personally, but to society as a whole.
As for the last part, could you be more precise ? What exactly could happen that would be bad to you ?
I ignore ads. I don't click on political news...
What is wrong with it ? I'm probably no statistical anomaly, I don't mind being part of some artificial cluster somewhere, helping having a more accurate portrayal of a type of people. I am not interesting enough that anyone will come for me specifically anyways.
And from time to time, I see worried and lamenting people like here, and I still don't get it.
All the information might be true (or might not), but IMHO I don’t like the idea of people intrusively trying to manipulate me like that. We all have biases and preconceptions. We’re all open to manipulation and the last thing I want is my online world to become an echo chamber, turning me into a parody of myself. In the wider context, it’s also a threat to civil society, driving a wedge between us as citizens by magnifying our differences and promoting divisiveness. That’s what the Russian interference campaign was all about.
That's also the general recipe for avoiding echo chambers: don't be lazy, and go a little out of your way to find things out.
It’s not that I’m against advertising, or capitalism, or that I’m some sort of over-regulating socialist. I just think that we need basic, fair rights over and protections for our personal information, and that this isn’t just good for us it’s good for our democracies.
And personalised ads sound great at the individual level - relevant, interesting products and services that I’m likely to interact with instead of irrelevant crap clogging up my screen. We’ve always had targeting and echo chambers.
But, like the algorithmic kids videos a few months ago or the deluge of fake news, we and our society are totally unprepared for the speed and scale that technology now allows. It’s the sheer quantity and pervasiveness - and the fact that it’s not obvious what’s going on - that makes it dangerous.
To (poorly) quote Charlie Stross, we’ve ripped out the mechanisms for how things work and replaced them with something alien, without anyone noticing.
No single raindrop believes it's responsible for the storm.
They don't care about you specifically, if you can profile people accurately they have a much easier time of adjusting perspectives for your own aims. You've likely already seen the results of this with the latest American election.
It's gone far beyond getting you to buy more music and they're just warming up.
I suggest, use rational means to work out for yourself what products are best for you and your budget, or on the other hand what political affiliations actualy represent your interests. Figuring out what's real in the world is a big task and only the most vigilant will be okay, or blow the whistle so the average person might be.
And what would they do out of that ? People with poor mental health don't need facebook to be triggered, it seems even less harmful because it's through an interface and not a direct human interaction.
>use rational means to work out for yourself what products are best for you and your budget, or on the other hand what political affiliations actualy represent your interests.
I don't buy stuff mostly, it's an easy solution. And no political affiliations represent the rare interest I have that I think would undoubtedly be good.
Anyone not so fortunate could be so easily scammed its scary. And heart wrenching.
Not so much heart breaking, but hard to watch from the outside, she meant to live well and tried but her brain chemistry gave her random minuses to intelligence wisdom and charisma.
That is not at all the same as not caring. It's using the platform with intent.
I see a lot of that on FB. I don't agree with the intent all the time but I do pay attention to it and often use it with purpose myself.
Small quip: the need for social interaction/emotional support is a human trait not a "bug". A bug would imply that this need is somehow undesirable/irrational, but that's just not correct.
I would agree that the election of someone so woefully unfit to serve has scared the shit out of a lot of people. And so many people are putting a lot of thought and energy into trying to pick apart how things could've gone so wrong. Thus, we're having discussions like these.
We tend to question things more after they go wrong. Whether or not you liked his policies, Obama was a fairly straightforward politician who at least knew how to operate the office of the Presidency and wasn't nested in an extensive web of shadiness and criminality.
There's been a growing discussion about data collection and shady advertising practices for a long time. It's not about Trump. And this isn't the first time I've seen distrust raised towards Facebook or Google about this stuff.
The Russian propaganda was mostly divisive messages surrounding things like race / guns. People keep trying to make it about Trump but investigators have been saying that it's more broad the whole time. Regardless of him it's still something we need to investigate.
Anything that seems scandalous or sketchy will probably be tied to Trump by people who don't like him if possible. But the same behavior has been going on for longer than Trump (people tried to accuse Obama of all kinds of stuff, and don't even get started on what people were accusing the Clinton campaign of). It shouldn't distract from the fact that it's scandalous and sketchy and we should keep an eye on these issues.
PS: Get ready to see everything being related back to Trump. All actions of government, law, etc. The positive and the negative. Because that's how this always works. The current administration gets more credit for change than they deserve.
Accusations are one thing. We have actual documented evidence here, and that's what so startling.
In addition, I'd argue that if Trump wasn't such an incompetent, bumbling, authoritarian moron, the backlash absolutely wouldn't have been as bad.
But the fact of the matter is that this is absolutely something new. Unless you're trying to suggest that both Obama and Clinton engaged companies who had a history of generating fake news, emotionally charged propaganda, and outright honeypotting political opponents with hookers and blackmail.
That's what makes this different. I'm absolutely flabberghasted that this point isn't being driven harder, instead defaulting to "well both sides...".
It's false equivalency, pure and simple.
All of these things are alarming, yes. But not because Trump is involved. These issues should be investigated regardless of who was doing it.
And I was trying to convey to the parent post that these issues of data use and disingenuous campaign practices would have come up, Trump or not, because it's happening and we don't like it as a society. But since Trump is the one, right now, people will point the finger at him like he's to blame for it all. That's why I mentioned Obama (because people did the same to him).
It looks, to me, like Trump sought help from shady people in multiple cases. And that's worth noting but it's irrelevant to the fact that those people were doing shady things in the first place.
> We have actual documented evidence here, and that's what so startling.
No. Sadly we only have a situation where an app was collecting data using Facebook and a video where two individuals were pitching their product by saying things to try and win a customer.
We know that the Trump campaign hired them, but we don't know that the Trump campaign knew about their data practices any more than their other customers knew. They had many other customers before Trump.
PS: I'm not a Republican and am not supporting Donald Trump. But trying to spin this as real evidence is stooping to their level of misinformation. We don't know that the Trump campaign knew about this. And we don't know that the recent videos weren't just CA lying to sell their product. But yes we absolutely need to investigate both of those possibilities.
Right, but then you said Obama was doing the same thing. He was not. Nor was Clinton. So the fact of the matter is that it may have come up, but there's been literally no evidence to suggest it's happened in the past by any of the winning Democratic campaigns.
That's the false equivalence I'm talking about. You're shifting blame away from the Republican party, the Trump campaign, and placing it solely on Facebook and unscrupulous data collection parties, when the issue should mostly be on the fact that a political campaign not only engaged said parties but won using them.
> No. Sadly we only have a situation where an app was collecting data using Facebook and a video where two individuals were pitching their product by saying things to try and win a customer.
And the words/documents provided by the CA whistleblower. That's immensely important.
> but we don't know that the Trump campaign knew about their data practices any more than their other customers knew.
Steve Bannon knew. Unless you're now claiming that he, as VP of CA, didn't know what his own company was doing.
> We don't know that the Trump campaign knew about this. And we don't know that the recent videos weren't just CA lying to sell their product.
That's because you're removing broader context that shows that we should probably err on the side of "they probably knew about all this" rather than "there's no way they could have known".
The fact is, CA was testing phrases used by the Trump campaign literally years before they approached Trump. The Mercers pumped money into the Trump campaign at a critical time (June 2016), and forced all campaign processes to go through CA. This is all documented. In August of that year, Bannon left CA (which was already running Trump's campaign) and joined the Trump campaign directly.
You're trying to pretend like there's more ambiguity than there actually is.
EDIT: The latter half of this article goes in depth on how the Mercer's money shifted from Ted Cruz to Trump: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/19/us/politics/robert-mercer...
No. I didn't say anything like that. I literally said "people tried to accuse Obama of all kinds of stuff" and my point was to the parent post who said "Its purely Trump hatred driving this".
You missed the point because you don't like that I'm not blaming this entirely on Trump.
I want an investigation into all of this. And other sketchy behavior surrounding the Trump campaign.
But I was stating that I don't think the parent post was correct in saying that this is all about Trump.
> You're trying to pretend like there's more ambiguity than there actually is.
You're trying to pretend like there's more certainty than there actually is and that this is somehow all Trump's fault.
I think that's dangerous because the Trump team keeps claiming that there's a witch hunt going on so when all new scandals are pinned to him it actually helps them as far as optics go. We need to investigate this all and get to the bottom of it and I hope Trump is exposed for the scam artist that he is in the process.
Right, but that's still comparing the current amount of information we have on what the Trump campaign and CA did to mere baseless accusations. The comparison is implicit.
> because you don't like that I'm not blaming this entirely on Trump.
No, I don't like the fact that you're trying to cast this as mere accusation like the many false accusations against other prior campaigns.
> But I was stating that I don't think the parent post was correct in saying that this is all about Trump.
And I agree with that bit. Which is why I didn't engage it. Instead, I engaged the implicit false equivalence that the parent post was outright stating and that you were merely suggesting.
> You're trying to pretend like there's more certainty than there actually is
And yet you haven't refuted any of my statements, sources, or facts.
> and that this is somehow all Trump's fault.
Just like how it's the fault of the person composing and releasing doxxing info, not the fault of the person the dox is about for putting it online.
So if it isn't Trump's fault, whose is it? Bannon's? CA? The Mercer's?
> the Trump team keeps claiming that there's a witch hunt going on so when all new scandals are pinned to him it actually helps them as far as optics go
Are you seriously suggesting that we not use new information as it comes out to paint a larger picture, simply because of the optics on the part of Trump?
> We need to investigate this all and get to the bottom of it
We are. The media is. And this is what is coming out. What, are we not supposed to connect the very obvious and extremely public dots? Are we just supposed to pretend that the Paradise Papers don't exist and don't show money being moved around from sanctioned, Kremlin-owned finances, through shell companies residing in tax havens, and finally on to various American/European companies like Facebook and Cambridge Analytica?
I agree with you on most of these points but until the proper investigations proceed not much will happen. And this administration will attempt to block or obstruct any investigations that they think are part of a "witch hunt" so putting too much emphasis on Trump himself seems risky in the meantime. Let the investigators put those dots together.
Also, Trump is just the tip of the iceberg in this story of corruption. Companies like CA and groups like Internet Research Agency need to share this blame because Trump didn't create them. He just benefited from them (because he has no morals).
PS: If you haven't contacted your representatives (or candidates) to ask them to support ongoing investigations into these particular issues (like the Special Counsel one). Do it please. Especially if you have a representative up for reelection.
I did. I'm just more concerned with giving an accurate picture of what happened than trying to pass off some kind of false equivalency.
> but until the proper investigations proceed not much will happen. And this administration will attempt to block or obstruct any investigations that they think are part of a "witch hunt" so putting too much emphasis on Trump himself seems risky in the meantime. Let the investigators put those dots together.
On the contrary, its necessary that we connect these dots. IMO, it's an insurance policy against the eventuality that Trump decides to fire Mueller or stall/block the FBI investigation. We the people need to democratize this information and disseminate it whenever possible.
This is not normal. This is not business as usual. This is a tale of a corrupt political campaign using every dirty trick in the book, the likes of which we've never seen before, and winning because of it. Every party involved deserves to be punished, but the fact of the matter is that while we can't do much to stop people from putting together intel via publicly available data sets, we sure as heck can do something about corrupt politicians using said data sets.
In much the same way, we punish the doxxer for using the dox, not the target for putting said information online in the first place, or the social networks for giving them the outlets to publish said information. Obviously Facebook deserves some blame, especially if they were somehow complicit in this (in as far as investment money/advice from Russian sanctioned industries/individuals).
We really do need to make sure that doesn't happen and make sure they don't grab any more power while they have the upper hand.
As far as getting people to see realize this stuff... You can't convince a Trump supporter of the sheer level of corruption as long as they think there's a witch hunt trying to make this stuff up.
First the evidence has to be established and legitimized without being attached to Trump at all or the premise of the evidence is compromised in their mind. Does that make sense?
Suppose a report came out that shows how drinking soda is actually good for you. But it was published by the sugar industry. Even if they had some good points you'd probably be skeptical. That's how these people will feel as long as the narrative of this being a witch hunt is perpetuated.
> This is not normal. This is not business as usual. This is a tale of a corrupt political campaign using every dirty trick in the book
> Obviously Facebook deserves some blame, especially if they were somehow complicit in this
I think we need to look into them for their data practices in general. Way beyond this case.
It already has been. The bread crumbs have been laid out for years now, and all it takes is looking back at all the legitimate outlets that were at the time slightly mystified by the occurrences.
We have outlets like Tech Crunch, The New York Times, Wall St. Journal, etc. all reporting on these things as they happened (as early as in 2009), and we are now able to piece them together thanks in part to the Paradise Papers.
> I think we need to look into them for their data practices in general. Way beyond this case.
Any of the mechanisms leveraged in this propaganda campaign should receive extra scrutiny.
Which has been going on since... forever? (at least, since elections and superpowers have been a thing, anyway)
The Obama campaign engagement was overt, users knew they were connecting to a political campaign and whose, and the entity with API access didn't transfer the data for radically different uses than the overt ones to a third party.
The other company didn't spread fake news, conduct honeypot blackmailing schemes, and wasn't funded by one of America's largest geopolitical foes.
Director of the Obama campaign seems to feel they did very similar things, with the tacit support of Facebook (at least after the fact)
Also, it's important to keep in mind that this entire argument about Obama is one diversion perpetuated by Cambridge Analytica. They brought up this idea and it has been bouncing around the more surreptitious parts of the internet as a tactic to avoid criticism. I wonder why a place like CA would attempt to change the conversation?
" “Consciously or otherwise,” The Guardian states, “the individual volunteer will be injecting all the information they store publicly on their Facebook page — home location, date of birth, interests and, crucially, network of friends — directly into the central Obama database.”
Facebook had no problem with such activity then. They do now. "
Consciously or otherwise...
It was the same exact tactic, maybe only slightly less deceptive than CA's methods.
Yet Facebook is not painted as a victim here, because now the idea of using your "likes" to target ads is not applauded, its frowned upon. And yes, Obama also did the whole whole "friends who didn't explicitly use the app" thing (which has since been disabled from Facebook's APIs, I think since v2.0 in 4/30/2014):
> The campaign boasted that more than a million people downloaded the app, which, given an average friend-list size of 190, means that as many as 190 million had at least some of their Facebook data vacuumed up by the Obama campaign — without their knowledge or consent.
They failed to disclose the issue (which they knew about for quite some time) and in fact continued to profit form the relationship with CA. I don't seen a reasonable expectation that they should be considered a victim.
The fact that you don't know this (or ignored it) tells a lot about how biased you are.
And yes, there should be backlash against conservatives. They just elected a Nazi in Illinois.
If you're talking about Arthur Jones, you're being very misleading. He won the Republican primary, but it was unopposed, in a heavily democratic district, and he was already denounced by Illinois Republicans.
I know nothing about American politics or what's going on in Illinois. But that you jump straight on calling someone you disagree with a "Nazi", while also saying how different what Obama did with no explanation and a lot of insults, does not give me much confidence in what you are saying here.
Just letting you know in case you were trying to convince anyone of your viewpoint.
I guess the local party would have been smart to put someone else on the ballot, just for the look of things. Really that's the problem with the comment, characterizing the failure of the party to stand up someone respectable as support for the Nazi.
"Arthur Joseph Jones (born January 1, 1948) is an American neo-Nazi, white nationalist, perennial candidate and Holocaust denier."
What would you call this person in order to be polite?
He just won his party's primary, which means he has been elected to be on the ballot as a member of his party. Not anyone can run as, e.g., a member of the Republican Party. You need to be nominated first, and you do that by winning a primary. The position is in US Congress.
It's happening now and it happened during the Trump campaign (and others -- one massive difference is that Cambridge Analytica used this data for elections around the world). And you should be questioning whether that sort of exploitation of personal data is something that's a good or bad force in the world, whether it scares you or whether you're okay with it.
This is 100% bullshit. Trump's apparent relationship with Russia goes lightyears beyond whatever made-up conservative fever-dream about Obama or Clinton is floating around out there.
"The Hill also reported receiving documents and eyewitness testimony “indicating Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the U.S. designed to benefit former President Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation during the time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton served on a government body that provided a favorable decision to Moscow,” although no specifics about who those Russian nuclear officials were or how the money was allegedly routed to the Clinton Foundation were given. In any case, none of these revelations prove that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton participated in a quid pro quo agreement to accept payment for approval of the Uranium One deal."
No, the Clintons did not sell Uranium to Russia.
My point is not the tactic though, my point is that the ONLY reason this has suddenly gone critical is because Trump is associated with it. It was ok then, its suddenly not now.
The key takeaway:
" “Consciously or otherwise,” The Guardian states, “the individual volunteer will be injecting all the information they store publicly on their Facebook page — home location, date of birth, interests and, crucially, network of friends — directly into the central Obama database.”
Facebook had no problem with such activity then. They do now. There’s a reason for that. The former Obama director of integration and media analytics stated that, during the 2012 campaign, Facebook allowed the Obama team to “suck out the whole social graph”; Facebook “was surprised we were able to suck out the whole social graph, but they didn’t stop us once they realized that was what we were doing.” She added, “They came to [the] office in the days following election recruiting & were very candid that they allowed us to do things they wouldn’t have allowed someone else to do because they were on our side.”
Not so with Trump. As soon as Facebook realized that Cambridge Analytica had pursued a similar strategy, they suspended the firm. "
Consciously or otherwise ...
Another HN user linked to the opposing opinion:
I agree with this article also, Obama's team was slightly more above board with the original source of the data. After that it looks pretty similar. Remember that they chided Romney for NOT doing this and being behind the curve.
A question I'm asking myself: Would this have still been a scandal if CA was less scummy in their modus operandi?
Meanwhile I tolerate political campaigns using targetted advertising. I just wish people were showing more competence when it comes to media consumption and the ability to distinguish between truthful reporting and obvious lies. The media illiteracy is the real problem I see with this issue.
It's an exploit of our evolutionary psychology. Fake news, keep people spun up, etc. We've always known these things about ourselves.
"A lie is half-way around the world before the truth even gets its pants on" -- Mark Twain (probably)
Our susceptibility to manufactured outrage and refined sugars are the same thing. Former survival traits are being exploited for profit.
While education certainly is a good idea, and helps make society more resilient than relying on centralized authorities, I don't think the successful strategy of collaboration in a society is to make everyone an expert at everything and have no consequences for trying to screw over other people.
Well, you obviously don't have to be a competent chemist to buy healthy food in the same way that you don't have to be a journalist or experienced intelligence agent to conclude that Hillary Clinton probably doesn't run a child pornography organization from the basement of a pizza joint.
There's a baseline of minimum media literacy, or food buying skills, you're expected to exhibit and proper education helps to meet and exceed that threshold.
Additionally and in contrast to toxic ingredients, thruthful journalismus often isn't a clear, binary conclusion - it's hard to regulate a problem that is open to interpretation and operates with blurring lines, gray areas, deceiving narratives and ommitted details. I think it's an issue that can't be regulated away and suggest that we find ways to make it less effective by reaching an audience that is able to question those narratives.
Well, or do you? If there was no regulation ensuring at least a certain baseline of both food safety and correctness of the labeling, how far would you actually get without being a competent chemist? And, well, yeah, it seems obvious to you, but the thing is, to a lot of people, it is actually an intellectual struggle to understand that that is bullshit, because they are constantly fed information that supports their world view and makes it seem coherent to them.
> There's a baseline of minimum media literacy, or food buying skills, you're expected to exhibit and proper education helps to meet and exceed that threshold.
Well, yes, but the question is not whether it is expected, but whether it should be expected. And whether the amount of media literacy is actually comparable to the expected food buying skills. I mean, just think about how hard it actually is to buy outright toxic food. Really, you can go into any restaurant or grocery store and buy anything they offer, and it just won't be toxic, it will almost all be perfectly fine for human consumption. Maybe not extremely healthy, but nothing that will make you ill in the short term, except for rare exceptions. Now compare that to well-known news outlets. It's completely trivial to get your news from a "news source" that is largely fabricated bullshit, it is just everywhere.
> Additionally and in contrast to toxic ingredients, thruthful journalismus often isn't a clear, binary conclusion
I don't think toxic ingredients are that much clearer than any other field of investigation. Yeah, there is stuff that will kill you instantly, that's easy, but what increase of cancer rates makes ingredients obviously toxic?
Set up scenarios involving
- fake news about classmates and show everyone how they respond vs researching and being skeptical...
- personal info security vs pwnage / outing / fraud...
- scenarios invoking biases and showing explicitly how they affect decisions and actions
Isn't that exactly the kind of problem that education can solve? Of course that's a decade long process which doesn't happen over night.
Off the top of my head, I don't think Google even has most people's friends lists (outside Orkut back in the day, and Google+, which isn't so popular). They do have contact lists in Gmail, which is a bit different.
There is address book spamming via mobile apps, but again, there are permissions. How good are they?
It seems like it's "the same thing" only if you ignore all technical detail. We should be able to do better than that!
We just don't have a whistleblower to testify that they sell the data yet, possibly because they have strict internal confidentiality policies.
Disclaimer, about that Google Maps example, it's just my assumption, I don't know how it actually works.
I'm aware of that. I used to be like your friends because I love technology. Though I didn't know it's an opt-in since I haven't seen those notifications. Maybe I missed it?
Even so, how do I make sure the data is not going to be misused? I practically not be able to do anything that I think I can to prevent data misuse. They collect my data even after I said no.
Plus, those so-called passive metadata are more objective and valuable than the data you actively submit to them, don't you think? I can hardly fake these kinds of data, just like you don't ask what lab rats think, you run tests on them and then just observe how they are gonna react.
Giving away those data with good intentions doesn't necessarily mean it won't harm others in some other way. I have things to hide, especially with data companies thriving.
Edit: In fact, believe it or not, I hate to point the Popular Time issue out. I was afraid of Google supporters' hostile attitudes against me or Google might consider this feature could heat up privacy concerns then kill it. (Very unlikely, because I'm nobody. :D) I find this feature is thoughtful and useful, I'm too selfish to watch it die. Besides, killing it doesn't do any good to the public, on the contrary, it will become less transparent how they are going to use user's data. I brought up this issue only because, with this whole FB scandal thing happening, I feel the public is playing favorites.
"Location History and Location Reporting data may be used by any Google app or service." 
It looks like you can turn it on or off, and delete your location history. I don't see a way to use Location History without having it also be anonymously used for traffic and other stuff. 
I've turned it off on my phone to see what happens. Occasionally I'll run across a permission dialog to turn it on.
I wonder if most of users would read through ToS and support articles before they started using those features. It's just much easier to click on "I agree." I won't call it a trap, but it's pretty close. As a result, users are signing contracts they don't even bother reading. And eventually, users are the ones who get blamed by the company for not paying attention.
And again, we are not sure about how they are actually using our data. Before this FB scandal, some people might still believe FB wouldn't do things like this.
But that's not the same as "know[ing] Google does the same thing" unless you define either "know" or "the same thing" very loosely.
Indeed, I don't know if Google does the same thing.
Google knows a lot.
It's just that Google maybe be a bit hesitant to sell data to 3rd parties, since they abuse them themselves :)
(and this is the price of a 'free' service).
Which is the entire point. I know Google is taking data when I use Google products. The problem arises when Google freely gives my data to a random third party company I neither know nor trust, without my knowledge.
For another, I know what Google is. And where it is - they have an address. They're in the US. I could, if I wanted, sue them.
Compare that to a literally limitless number of unknown organisations all across the world? Yeah, I'd say Google is better.
Maybe I'm cynical, but whenever I see qualifiers around a verb I get suspicious. Something like "hey, we're not lying when we said we stopped scanning emails for ad purposes, but we are still scanning to improve other Google ecosystems tools like Calendar".
The bad stuff is an open secret. But people choose to discount the bad so long as it appears outweighed by the good. Eventually the grace period runs out. Voila: Scandal.
Also, scandals are manufactured distraction. There's no shortage of things to be upset about. What percolates up is governed by the politics of attention.
I can't quickly refind the Ellsberg paper about the structure of presidential scandals. But this one is close enough. Obviously, they study presidential scandals, but the lessons apply to all scandals.
The Timing of Presidential Scandals: The Role of Economics, Divided Government and the Media
The Politics of Attention: How Government Prioritizes Problems
The two things catalysing the latest media frenzy are first the recent Facebook Russian interference scandal increasing interest in Facebook data stories generally. That’s just a tip king issue.
The second is the Channel 4 undercover recording of CA execs advising on the use of corrupt practices in a Sri Lankan political campaign. Of course the US angle is getting all the press in the US, but this is what triggered a Renewed journalistic interest in the company.
We've known all this stuff for ages.
People say that a lot of what you read is just reporters not understanding what they're talking about, flitting from one subject to another with the herd, and perhaps that's true. But hell, anybody that's paid more than a modicum of attention to this issue should know that BigTech tracks people like lab rats. (Small tech too, they just don't have the user base)
I'm all for getting the word out. It's just an odd way that change is happening. It feels a lot like the internet has turned us all into one big mob, carrying our pitchforks and torches from one outrage to the next. That's probably a problem much bigger than what to do with Google/Facebook/Apple/Amazon/Comcast
Data is (mostly) free, ubiquitous, and permanent. When you capture data for any reason, it's logically impossible for you to be able to know or control what to what use that data will be put.
I keep seeing situations where extreme examples are used to make the case that data collection is good, healthy, and makes our world a better place. If you were kidnapped, wouldn't you want police to know where you were based on tracking associated with your cell phone? But for every one good example, the universe is literally the limit for the number of ways that same data capture can be used in bad and harmful ways.
Over my lifetime I've consumed a lot of fiction around how people interact with tech. There are a lot of good people who have instrumented up the general public in ways science fiction writers would have never dreamed of only a few decades ago. It seems to me that anybody who's watched The Matrix would think that all of this has gotta have more societal impact than more intrusive advertising.
Perhaps you're right. Perhaps even though they realized what was being captured, they never put together the deep implications, instead thinking it was just about better dancing iphone ads. I don't understand how that could be so, but people seem to have an incredible ability not to see things they don't want to see -- and they love something for nothing.
What I did not think about much was how I, or society in general, could be affected by other peoples' data and I think other people are reacting similarly.
There's also the political angle. A lot of people are _very_ upset about Trump and the general state of politics in the US today and anything that touches on that gets amplified.
PS - the reason that the regs wont happen during the trump years has nothing to do with the collusion investigation. He's put a mandate in place that for every reg to go into the federal register, two have to come out. His administration is in general very anti-regulation. Therefore, yes, absolutely no way he would ever regulate it ... but not for the reason you hypothesized.
1. "Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO to Clinton campaign chief John Podesta, June 6, 2015" --https://twitter.com/wikileaks/status/790713289311387648
2."Facebook let us "suck out the ENTIRE social graph" because "they were on our side" -- Obama campaign team leader for 2012 "
Doubtful, considering the number of scandals from this list that made major media attention:
Then the government does more bad stuff. More are frustrated, only a few speak out.
And on, and on, for decades. It seems like nothing will ever change. And one day "something happens" that makes all of that frustration come up, and the people are furious like nothing else, and you may even see riots and whatnot. And the people on the sidelines, who have no clue about how life was in that country wonder "why would people be so violent, and destroy things?! It doesn't make sense!" Yes, it does make sense. It's just not pretty.
And yes, it will happen to Google, too. I've tried to warn them and other tech companies many times in the past on HN, that they can't just screw over their users and piss them off, thinking only a few spoke out, so it must not be such a big deal the evil thing they've just done. Many more people are usually frustrated about that thing, but they usually keep that frustration inside because they would like to continue using Google.
So, yes. Google is definitely next. Just maybe not tomorrow, or next year. Maybe in a few years. My guess is it will be something around how they use their AI, especially now that they've become a war contractor. Maybe they'll sell their AI tech to US law enforcement to target American citizens in various ways. It's probably inevitable.
A Facebook exodus was never going to be linear. It will be drastic, and it will "surprise" people, even at the company, just as this surprises you now (although I wouldn't say that exodus will happen now, but this is definitely a one of the big final steps before that exodus, at the very least).
The difference is now there is an example of it helping Trump. And if you can find any story that puts Trump in a bad light, it's almost guaranteed that it will hit the front page of HuffingtonPost/WashingtonPost/NYTimes/Salon/etc.
If the other scandals weren't there no one would care about this, you are right.
But the general ( non-thinking, sadly ) public really has no idea. And is ironically now catching on because the media's been cramming the whole Russian thing down their throats since the election.
On the subject of the media and general public, has anyone recently heard anything about the southern statue madness from last year, or of police shootings? No, because the general public follows whatever the media says. And forgets about whatever they said the minute they stop talking about it.
2 biggest issues in America: 1) current mainstream media 2) uneducated populace
The only analogy I can think of is smoking. IIRC there was already a consensus about their dangers in the fifties, but it took decades, in part by strong lobbying efforts, before the public accepted/internalized this truth.
Similarly, the #metoo thing might cause shrugs among those who were in the know for a while, but I'm sure the public outrage will have lasting effects. I mean, Cosby's crimes were an open secret until suddenly it wasn't (a comedian went viral, or something like that?).
This reminds me of the OkCupid scandal: https://www.vox.com/2016/5/12/11666116/70000-okcupid-users-d...
A researcher released a dump of 70K dating profiles and people were horrified. But this data was already accessible to anyone (just had to create a free profile) and you can be sure it was already used for analytics purpose.
I think Facebook has nothing on Google. One trip to the MyActivity console on Google is enough to creep anyone out.
This is all ignoring the fact that President Obama used almost the same Facebook app analytics tactics to win his campaign (albeit less deceptively).
Regardless of why it is getting attention now, let's be optimistic that the dangers of the silicon valley surveillance apparatus are starting to seep into the public consciousness. I for one would welcome a changing attitude towards how we view and sell our private information to these companies.
Also, they might find that people who aren't searching for what they're shown keep looking and that it didn't reduce purchases. It's like the supermarkets moving products around to make sure you see other stuff - people don't leave the store, they keep looking and get exposed to more products in unfamiliar positions that make them notice more.
I mean, heck, you just talked about a couple of products and gave a product endorsement because they didn't show the results you expected; seems like the system is working.
If I'm starting a new hobby or wanted to buy a present for someone with different interests, I would be very annoyed if results were hidden from me because of a name clash with a product from my purchase history.
A good product search isn't personalized, and doesn't try to predict what I want. It just shows the results in a sensible manner, and lets me use categories and keywords (in addition to user reviews, price, availability, etcetera) to filter the results.
Surely that's fine?
Facebook has eaten into Mainstream Media ad revenues, and literally is controlling how news is published, because its platform is so powerful.
When Cambridge Analytica stories first broke out, even I had the same reaction. I hope people stop overreacting as if this never happened earlier.
He made his billions.
I know you mean in a more general sense, but I can't let go of the hypocrisy of this. He sold out millions of users to Facebook, basically the most anti-privacy thing you could possibly do other then just dumping all that information out in the open, becomes incredibly wealthy and now he gives a small amount of that to Signal and is all like #deletefacbook and it's fine? Give me a break.
What changed is that this breach made it harder for people to pretend all that tracking and data harvesting "will probably turn out fine".
If people voluntarily want to give away their data, who are we to stop them from doing it?.
I don't use facebook, because I value my privacy more than I value "being connected" or whatever facebook is using to convince people these days, but if my neighbor is happy giving away is data, that's fine, it's his data.
Sometimes people won't do stuff unless they know everyone else is too. If you quit Facebook and your friends still use it, you're missing out. But if all your friends delete it as part of the #deletefacebook trend, it'll be easier for you to do the same thing.
What changed is it helped the current President get elected.
The only people who really used to care about Facebook's behavior were people in niche online tech circles like HN. But then the election happened, and the media has been beating the "Facebook is evil" drum very loudly ever since.
Is more government the solution to every problem? Just let people make their choice of whether the product Facebook offers is worth the privacy tradeoff.
Something like "nutrition facts" for data privacy seems like a reasonable policy.
Since people didn't know, and are shocked and annoyed, it follows that people weren't able (for whatever reason) to make the decision in advance.
Is more government not the solution to every problem? It's like a legal wikipedia of all the behaviours people have found to abuse each other in society, all gathered in one place and applied to everyone. Sounds good.
I have developed several, your statement is misleading. Messenger user profile API gives,
timezone (non precise),
Which IMO is much safer than using direct Facebook Graph API. My point being Messenger apps are in-fact better than apps which uses Facebook login when it comes to privacy i.e if you have to use Facebook platform.
We, as people here both on HN and people in the tech world take for granted the fact that we both know and understand how our systems work (mostly). We know that companies package and sell our data, that if something is 'free' the real subscription fee is what they collect on us during each use. But there is a significant population that simply doesn't know, think it's too much of a 'conspiracy theory' or don't care.
My parents, as much as I love them, are absolutely hair-tearingly bad at anything related to computers. They've had issues with scammers and Microsoft phoning them up so that they can upgrade their computer's ram. When I tell them about what kind of things Facebook does, they don't understand. They don't get why their data is so valuable ('well so what they get my phone number not like it affects me') and a lot of the time they have trouble understanding what they actually do.
Breaking stories like this is not necessarily surprising no, not to us. But it raises awareness and makes people wonder what companies actually are doing with their data. I doubt it'll result in the bubble that is Facebook finally popping but opportunities like this are always great times to pull aside your family and let them know why things like this matter. And in this current environment people are hyper-aware of things like this possibly more than ever before.
So I don't think the argument should be based around normalizing this sort of behavior by Facebook and other companies but rather revealing it to those that might not be aware.
That said, if your company has 50 people, and FB offers nearly $20B. How exactly do you tell those people that you refused an acquisition that huge, because you personally feel that FB is bad. Could you deprive an engineer who has worked his ass off for 4 years >$100M?
Anyway, I was contracting for WhatsApp, when the acquisition happened. Conversations took place, but I'm not going to quote anyone.
So not only would you have to deprive that engineer but you would also have to explain to Sequoia why you weren’t going to give them a gargantuan return on their investment.
It is very possible to turn down money and avoid becoming a corporate animal.
Does it happen? Yes.
Does it happen very frequently? No.
No outside funding.
Nothing wrong with that. I’d do the same.
So if you’re going to criticize capitalism, you should criticize it as an institution.
This is not even close to true.
This doesn't have anything to do with capitalism. Any political or economical system that has institutionalized roles will have the same conflicts between duty and personal principles.
And history shows us, in fact, that capitalism has much fewer of such conflicts than any alternative.
But of course, all of this is speculation - I can't look inside the man's head.
You would refuse $16 billions from Facebook?