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I know this might be a surprise to you, but not everyone knows everything that you do.



I'm not exactly tapping my own research here. Palantir is a big data/spying company, what do you expect from them? Facebook asks you for lots of private data and it's clearly obvious that when you post data on Facebook, Facebook gets that data. So what's the shock that they hold this private data? The only surprising aspect of the current Facebook drama is that they apparently mine your phone for additional data but that's not the main focus of the outcry. Why are people surprised that Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy, did political research and affected a voter outreach strategy? None of this requires any real background knowledge, and yet the outcry seems extremely disproportionate to the revelations at hand. It seems like the Snowden reports all over again, where the world was up in arms that an intelligence agency was collecting intelligence.


Most of the people knows nothing about all these things, until the media picks up the story. They at most believe Palantir is a Skype stone for elves and that Facebook makes money just running ads just like printed newspaper TV stations and radios run ads on very basic criteria (i.e. different ads during a soap opera than during an action movie), but they're not aware of the depth of analysis FB et al. perform.

Example from other field: aircraft passengers have breathed compressor bleed air since jet engines were introduced in the 60s, everyone in the industry knows this is how it works, and yet it wasn't until last year, when major publishers such as Fortune [1], The Guardian [2], Bloomberg [3], The Telegraph [4] etc. happened to simultaneously run this issue, that lot of the general public learned about it for the first time, most of them having assumed that cabin air was taken directly from the atmosphere.

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[1] http://fortune.com/2017/08/09/dangerous-cabin-fumes-planes/

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/aug/19/sick-crew-to...

[3] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-08/airline-w...

[4] https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/news/world-health-organis...


the thing is, articles about how facebook collects private data and analyses it have been running pretty much non-stop for the last few years. I would totally understand the reaction if that hadn't been the case.


> Palantir is a big data/spying company, what do you expect from them?

How can expect anything of them when I don't even know that company exists, let alone what it does?

> Why are people surprised that Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy, did political research and affected a voter outreach strategy? None of this requires any real background knowledge, and yet the outcry seems extremely disproportionate to the revelations at hand. It seems like the Snowden reports all over again, where the world was up in arms that an intelligence agency was collecting intelligence.

This is simplifying the discussion a lot. The general assumption about both intelligence and research was probably that they stick to rules and are concerned with their own fields.

I'd guess the average joe would (before snowden at least) think that an intelligence agency is concerned with foreign diplomats and military strategists and a political consultancy does opinion polls.

It's something different if said agencies collect intimate data of random citizens without their consent. At least in public mind, that was something the stasi or similar organisations did - but certainly not their own side.


you raise a good point - with the intelligence agencies, I can believe that plenty of people think (or used to think, before Snowden) they are focused on specific valuable targets such as diplomats given that's how they supposedly used to operate before asymmetric warfare, terrorism and sole attackers became the median threat.


That is a life lesson that keeps on learning




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