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Whistleblower: Google Boss' Daughter Scrubbed from Guardian Exposé (thedailybeast.com)
263 points by k1m 14 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 54 comments



I don't quite get why people are mad at Schmidt and not the Guardian for shady reporting.

So a woman interned at SLC Elections (which later became Cambridge Analytica) and now works at Uber.

After reading the story I fail to see her significance to the story of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

The author of that piece is trying to make a fact that she's the daughter of Eric Schmidt into some sinister "Silicon Valley elite" impugning that she's the mastermind behind Cambridge Analytica becoming the shady organization.

It's really shady, grasping at rhetorical straws journalism.

"A firm that belonged to someone she knew about through her father" is so much juicier and scandalous than "Palantir".

Strangely, I don't know Eric Schmidt and I do know about Palantir.

Yes, Schmidt can buy more justice than most of us, but in this case, the primary issue is the high cost of justice, not that some people are rich and can afford it.

The idea that rich can bully anyone with lawyers is seductive, but this is The Guardian, a newspaper with its own army of lawyers. Newspaper that published Snowden files and many other controversial things.

If there was no merit to the complaint, the Guardian would tell Schmidt to sod off.

After reading the article it seems to me that the "journalist" threw a completely innocent person under the bus, tried to implicate her into an international scandal only because she happened to be a daughter of a famous person.

It's appalling what Guardian did implicating her in this scandal. And sad because it was otherwise well researched.


> If there was no merit to the complaint, the Guardian would tell Schmidt to sod off.

The Guardian published a viral (>25,000 shares on Facebook alone) fake news story about Assange meeting Manafort. Many complaints about it, and yet no action from the Guardian. Not convinced they act on merit of complaint at all.

https://theintercept.com/2019/01/02/five-weeks-after-the-gua...


>The idea that rich can bully anyone with lawyers is seductive, but this is The Guardian, a newspaper with its own army of lawyers.

Don't forget how Billionaire Peter Thiel sued gawker to bankrupcy.


Sure, but directly though - unless there are other events I'm unaware of.

I thought Thiel bankrolled Hulk Hogan in his sex tape lawsuit against Gawker (IIRC HH didn't have much money after his divorce)


According to what I remember, Thiel already had an axe to grind with gawker. Hogan's case simply presented the perfect opportunity to exact his revenge.

It's not strictly the rich. Ashton Kutcher helped run the Village Voice into ground for daring to run a piece questioning his (deranged) statistics about sex trafficking.

Kutchner may only have small bills (~$200m), but he's not exactly poor.

Yeah, but he used his fame and influence here, more than his money.

Both fame and wealth are fungible as power.

> the primary issue is the high cost of justice, not that some people are rich and can afford it.

Justice is competitive. The richer you are, the more you can afford to pay to win, and the richer your opponent has to be to even get a chance.


"The idea that rich can bully anyone with lawyers is seductive, but this is The Guardian, a newspaper with its own army of lawyers. Newspaper that published Snowden files and many other controversial things."

Well, a pissed off Schmidt probably represents more of an existential threat to the Guardian (given Alphabet's current geopolitical power) compared to the US government.


Not really. Google is a public company. If they risked legal jeopardy on the whim of Schmidt exacting revenge then shareholders would be livid.

This. If you are scared of a company, you're part of the problem.

> If there was no merit to the complaint, the Guardian would tell Schmidt to sod off.

Logical fallacy.


The last paragraph of the article would be worth re-reading. It clearly states that the way the issue with UK laws were mitigated was by publishing jointly with The New York Times. No one was thrown under a bus.


What? She was part of it, the Schmidts just Hulk Hoganed the Guardian and they decided to cave, as the story was clearly about more than an heiress to a tech fortune.


I can understand Schmidt as a father, but can not approve his lack of integrity.

The Internet can clearly railroad anybody regardless of their social standing.

Few US federal for example have to keep running away from kids from an Internet forum called 4chan, despite having 24/7 government bodyguards. The only thing they had to do was to post their home address and names of schools their children were attending, along negative coverage of their court decisions.

Nevertheless, take a look at much more hated "power families." You don't see them ruining journalists, even under much more drivel charged coverage.


Schmidt, integrity? What crack are you smoking.


You can view the diff of the scrubbing via NewSniffer: https://www.newssniffer.co.uk/articles/1375881/diff/7/8


Wow, that looks worse than I thought.

In the newest version, it reads:

> In some ways, an intern showing up and referring to Palantir is just another weird detail in the weirdest story I have ever researched.

while the original version read:

> In some ways, Eric Schmidt’s daughter showing up and referring to Palantir is just another weird detail in the weirdest story I have ever researched.

They didn't just edit her out - instead, they completely changed the meaning of the text. By changing the point of those paragraphs from "here is how well-connected people behaved in this scandal" to "isn't it quirky that powerful people would listen to a random, unremarkable intern?" they have gone completely against the whistleblower's point.

I can definitely understand why he's so angry about this.


> Why would anyone want to intern with a psychological warfare firm, I ask him. And he looks at me like I am mad. “It was like working for MI6. Only it’s MI6 for hire. It was very posh, very English, run by an old Etonian and you got to do some really cool things. Fly all over the world. You were working with the president of Kenya or Ghana or wherever. It’s not like election campaigns in the west. You got to do all sorts of crazy shit.” Why would anyone want to intern with a psychological warfare firm, I ask him. And he looks at me like I am mad. “It was like working for MI6. Only it’s MI6 for hire. It was very posh, very English, run by an old Etonian and you got to do some really cool things. Fly all over the world. You were working with the president of Kenya or Ghana or wherever. It’s not like election campaigns in the west. You got to do all sorts of crazy shit.”

>On that day in January 2013, Sophie met up with SCL’s chief executive, Alexander Nix, and gave him the germ of an idea. “She said, ‘You really need to get into data.’ She really drummed it home to Alexander. And she mentioned to him a firm that belonged to someone she knew about through her father.”


eBay had itself removed in version 5: https://www.newssniffer.co.uk/articles/1375881/diff/4/5

The reference to Uber was also removed in version 8. PayPal and Facebook don't seem to mind so much?


That one is just factually incorrect and a good correction. He was not a cofounder in ebay.

He just sold Paypal to them about 7 years after ebay was founded.


The same Eric Schmidt once famously stated "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place" [0]. Apparently, it depends.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nothing_to_hide_argument#In_fa...


It seems like he used the word “maybe” there.

When Schmidt says 'privacy is dead', he means your privacy.


NB, that specific quote tends not to be associated with Schmidt. His comment on the matter was "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place".

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/12/07/schmidt_on_privacy/

Larry Ellison (CEO, Oracle) said "Privacy is dead".

https://securitycurrent.com/privacy-is-dead-long-live-privac...

Scott McNeally (CEO, Sun) said "You have zero privacy anyway, get over it."

https://www.wired.com/1999/01/sun-on-privacy-get-over-it/

Though, looking back on it, Big Tech really seems to have had it in for privacy for a long time.


The Guardian haven't been trustworthy for a while now.

It seems as though only recently did they start turning a profit [1] and I suspect some of this is achieved by giving up some of their original journalistic integrity.

[1] https://www.opednews.com/articles/Guardian-turns-a-profit-fo...


And you'd almost certainly be wrong. The subscribers to The Guardian, worldwide, value its quality reporting where most other newspapers are beholden to the interests of their owners.


Their trust structure is probably a positive vs. influential owners (as you say) but that doesn't automatically mean that The Grauniad always offers "quality reporting".

They still push a distinct political angle (aka bias) in everything they write, and aren't above lower-quality clickbait.


The Scott Trust got wound up in 2008 and its assets transferred to a new limited company named "The Scott Trust Limited" (disingenuous name). [1]

[1] https://www.pressgazette.co.uk/guardian-owning-scott-trust-t...

bogle 13 days ago [flagged]

Seriously, you need to learn a little about company formations, especially Articles and Memorandum.

The Guardian isn’t above clickbait in the same way that the sea is not above the clouds.

So do most people on Facebook. For many, Facebook is the internet. And they trust that, and everything on it.


> The subscribers to The Guardian, worldwide, value its

> quality reporting

Said every person about their favorite news outlet ever. I'm sure there are a few people out there hate-reading other news outlets, but the majority read their particular news source because they believe it to be somewhat comparatively truthful.

> most other newspapers are beholden to the interests of

> their owners

They are beholden to the hand that feeds them, which in the case of The Guardian is a left-leaning politically biassed audience. It doesn't particularly matter whether what they say is completely the truth, as long as it gets people to pay their memberships.

Also, as with much of the big news corporations (especially the lower budget ones), reporting is typically what I refer to as armchair journalism. Most news articles appear to either be sourced from another website or have come from social media sourced (such as Twitter). There's an awful lot of back-scratching happening between news outlets.


> It's extraordinary that the daughter of Eric Schmidt—the man who says that privacy is dead—would be using U.K. privacy laws to get herself taken out of the piece

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sippenhaft


It's was Schmidt's lawyers, money and his influence.

Sippenhaft is leagal term and there is no legal case against Schmidt or his daughter.

Outside the law, family relations and connections are relevant. It's the job of journalists to expose those connections.


So you think that it was fair that she was "exposed" in that piece?

What exactly was her role in and relevance to Cambridge Analytica scandal?

According to the article, she was an intern at SCL Election before 2013, in January 2013 she met with CEO and, the article absurdly claims that "she gave him the germ of an idea" by mentioning data and Palantir.

Oh, and she works at Uber now, which we all know is bad. Somehow.

It's absurd to suggest that what a former intern, even named Schmid, said in 2013 had any impact on what happened later.

SLC Group was founded in 1990, Palantir in 2003.

By 2013, SLC Group was involved in political lobbying and manipulation for over 20 years.

Cambridge Analytica was created in 2012, a year before the 2013 meeting.

The idea that CEO Cambridge Analytics didn't know about Palantir in 2013 or needed to be educated by a former intern about the importance of data is just laughable.

As far as I can tell the journalist opportunistically juiced up the story by twisting facts to fit a narrative of some sinister SV dominance and throwing a random person under the bus by trying to tie her to an international scandal.


Tbh, "intern" doesn't need to mean that she copies documents and hangs around shadowing people. I agree that she most likely didn't tell them anything new when she recommended Palantir, it sounds more like what Trump is doing having his daughter work with others on his behalf. When it's about business with people you trust, immediate family is often the obvious choice.

It's not ruled out, but it's not that likely that any random person would get great offers. Being the child of one of the most powerful men of the industry helps, so of course there's the family is involved. Playing the "oh yeah, but the relation is totally accidental, it had nothing to do with any decisions of businesses"-card sounds a bit strange.


(It's also less than extraordinary that European privacy laws allow this, but it is sad that this is the case.)

That "whistleblower" has no credibility left:

>> In 2014, Wylie co-founded Eunoia Technologies[9][23] along with former SCL/Cambridge Analytica senior staff Brent Clickard, Mark Gettleson and Tadas Jucikas.[23] In describing his ambitions for developing Eunoia, Wylie stated, "I want to build the NSA’s wet dream".[23] Eunoia Technologies has been criticized for the similar psychographic profiling tactics used by Cambridge Analytica,[9][23] using the same dataset shared by Alexander Kogan.[9][23][24][25]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Wylie#Eunoia_Techn...

So he basically accused Cambridge Analytica of doing what he then went on to do with his own firm. It's great that we learned all that shady business going on, but it's clear that Wylie's motives were not altruistic.


There are a lot of attempts to dismiss whistleblowers by attacking their "credibility" lately.

There is only one criteria to assess: is their report true? You assess this by investigating what they claim in their report. So far, what he's said has been entirely backed up by facts. His reason for blowing the whistle in the first place is irrelevant.


'No credibility' suggests that he was not telling the truth. However, the facts you point out would also be consistent with someone who was motivated by revenge to tell the truth.


The guy is so obviously an attention seeker, I can't believe people take anything he says at face value.

The Guardian was pushing the narrative that Dix and the rest of the Cambridge Analytica management were evil geniuses.

The alternative is that the management didn't really understand technology and were often overselling what was possible to potential clients. A story that Sophie Schmidt had helped them understand stuff reinforces this alternative line.


I am surprised by the many comments here so critical of the Guardian. I live in the USA, and I find it frustrating trying to find news sources that don’t seem biased with strong agendas.

I pay a monthly donation to the Guardian because I find them better than most other news sources. I also like NPR Nightly News (they give fair time to both sides in contentious issues) and sometimes the BBC.


This article is kind of all over the place, at first blaming the Guardian but then backing down a bit to say that they had limited resources to fight what would be an expensive legal battle, which is understandable.

> He said he was put in touch with Gavin Millar, a well-known London lawyer who had worked on the Edward Snowden case. Wylie said the lawyer suggested he give the story to a U.S. newspaper because the First Amendment provided a stronger defense against accusations of libel..."it was actually The Guardian's Katharine Viner who reached out to Dean Baquet at the New York Times to help set up the partnership." Wylie’s revelations were published jointly by The Guardian and The New York Times

This should be the main takeaway from all of this. They were making a calculated choice based on the resources they had available. The Guardian should still be seen as a trustworthy publication


Surprised people are still listening to Christopher Wylie, the "whistleblower" who founded a company as shady as Cambridge Analytica and only blew the cover after being sued by them for soliciting their clients and offering the same services.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Wylie


> When one of the world’s most respected newspapers went up against former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and his daughter and backed down, Wylie decided to go to The New York Times.

Let's keep in mind the NYT was a Pulitzer finalist for its coverage of the scandal and other privacy-related projects that stemmed from it.


And they said Gavin Belson was just a fictional character...


L M A O - Yea, all of the SV show is loosely based on actual events.


Oh who would have thought it. 2 years after this story was published he comes out this this story. Could it be at all related to the fact he has a book coming out 8th Oct based on the subject. I dont know why we fall for this media stories that just pump out because some guy the world has moved on from 2 years ago is trying to peddle a new book.

The guy works for H&M fashion in their retail division doing pretty much the same work he did for Cambridge Analytica. He was at the bylinefestival recently at which Wylie insisted on a chauffeur back and forth to his flat in London.

Demands no doubt agreed with his hollywood agent William Morris.

If you give people enough money they turn into the people that once hated and called out as a whistleblower.


He works for H&M manipulating elections? Aren't they a clothes label?

Is requesting a driver some sort of moral failing now?

Do you think that all people who publish books should not have agents, or is it something about William Morris in particular?

The diff linked in another post here shows pretty clearly that the article was changed, and everybody who wants to sell a book wants publicity (even whistleblowers). I don't understand where your hostility is coming from.


I m more concerned about the nepotism contained in the piece rather than the expose, which acts as a good promotion for his book




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