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>But now we see that those same instruments can be used to not only change shopping decisions but also democratic decisions

Did we really not know that prior to 2016?

> Did we really not know that prior to 2016?

Did we really not know prior to Snowden that the NSA, GCHQ and all the others spied on the populace? There's a market difference between knowing in the abstract and understanding it as "this is happening. Right now. Here."

I agree with your abstract vs concrete analogy. We knew bits and pieces from cases like Jewel v NSA[0] but not things like modifying things on the wire to insert malware, or kneecapping standards.

But conversely, it was well that Obama used data analytics to enhance his campaign[1], using techniques extremely similar to Cambridge Analytica's[2].

The important difference being users of the Obama for America app opted into sharing their data for political purposes, whereas CA claimed to be a personality quiz to secretly harvest data for political purposes.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewel_v._NSA [1] https://www.technologyreview.com/s/509026/how-obamas-team-us... [2] https://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2018/mar...

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