So when we thought that the entire Cambridge Analytica was the tip of the iceberg, we were not kidding. The Washington Post (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2018/07/02/federal-investigators-broaden-focus-facebooks-role-sharing-data-with-cambridge-analytica-examining-statements-tech-giant) is giving us right now: “Representatives for the FBI, the SEC and the Federal Trade Commission have joined the Department of Justice in its inquiries about the two companies and the sharing of personal information of 71 million Americans“, that writing was always on the wall and it seems that it is pushing forward now, so even as Mark Zuckerberg thought that his day in court was done with a mere senate hearing, it seems that there is a much larger issue under the waterline and it is not merely data of a personal nature. The next parts that matters were: “Facebook discovered in 2015 that Cambridge Analytica, which later worked for the Trump campaign and other Republican candidates, had obtained Facebook data to create voter profiles. Yet Facebook didn’t disclose that information to the public until March, on the eve of the publication of news reports about the matter“, now this is nothing new but for some it is only now sinking in that the issue was known for two years. So when exactly did Facebook give us those goods? Two years of inaction, there are plenty of political players in the Democratic party who gotten results faster than that (which is saying a lot). So now we get to the first part, which is the SEC. The Securities and Exchange Commission will focus on “The questioning from federal investigators centres on what Facebook knew three years ago and why the company didn’t reveal it at the time to its users or investors”. You see, when a companies is valued on data, the setting that 20% of the details of the American people makes it into the public domain, that will impact a multi-billion value and that is now part of what could become a criminal investigation.
It is very likely that the SEC will focus primarily on TOPIC 8 – Non-GAAP Measures of Financial Performance, Liquidity, and Net Worth. Here we see:
8120.3 Measures of operating performance or statistical measures that fall outside the scope of the definition set forth above are not “non-GAAP financial measures”. Additionally, “non-GAAP financial measure” excludes financial information that does not have the effect of providing numerical measures that are different from the comparable GAAP measure. Examples of measures that are not non-GAAP financial measures include:
- Operating and statistical measures (such as unit sales, number of employees, number of subscribers)
- Measures of profit or loss and total assets for each segment that are consistent with disclosures made in accordance with ASC Topic 280. (Non-GAAP C&DI Questions 104.01 through 104.06)
So, whilst we think it is merely data, the multi-billion dollar value of Facebook is data and they lost 20% of the Americans (and a chunk of Brits and Australians), so that reporting was not there for 3 years, and the SEC is slightly miffed on the subject.
And even as we see: “The Department of Justice and the other federal agencies declined to comment. The FTC in March disclosed that it was investigating Facebook over possible privacy violations” the setting that Justice is mulling over the impact and how to act (which is perfectly understandable), every person with their share of issues that can hide outstanding debts through ‘identity theft’ has optional paths to consider and the Justice department is not ready for the worst case scenario where 20% of all Americans filling for economic loss through identity theft, and the part where the financial systems on a flawed usage (authentication versus non-repudiation) now opens the optional flood gates, so the Justice department is taking everything very cautiously (whilst pussyfooting on a (path of commitment).
The next comment we see is: ““The fact that the Justice Department, the FBI, the SEC and the FTC are sitting down together does raise serious concerns,” said David Vladeck, former director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection and now a Georgetown Law professor. He said he had no direct knowledge of the investigation but said the combination of agencies involved “does raise all sorts of red flags.”“. It goes a little further than the settings we considered. Vox gives part of that setting (at https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/10/16/15657512/cambridge-analytica-facebook-alexander-nix-christopher-wylie) last year, yet the one part I missed here is that such systems require profiles to be made so that there is interaction. It can be done without is, but having the profiles makes it easier and better. The second source is Wired (at https://www.wired.com/story/cambridge-analytica-execs-caught-discussing-extortion-and-fake-news/) gives us “Britain’s Channel 4 News caught executives at Cambridge Analytica appear to say they could extort politicians, send women to entrap them, and help proliferate propaganda to help their clients“, as well as “They probed them on all manner of underhanded tactics, from deliberately spreading fake news to making up false identities. According to the video, the Cambridge executives took the bait” and there we have the reason why Justice is playing it slow. It is not merely about what was done, planned or enacted. Such profiles are complete enough to give rise or other uses as well, and if they have been used to acquire goods or services, we have ongoing settings towards corporate fraud. It will not matter whether they did, if anyone previously had access to those profiles, it could still fall on the lap of Cambridge Analytica. So, apart from finding those profiles (and there will be more likely than not way beyond a dozen), which profiles are they and how much interaction was used or given? With the honey trap we have an optional case of solicitation; we get identity fraud, optional Synthetic Identity Theft, all requiring investigation. The Justice Department will require time for that, not merely on whether things were done, but the likelihood of a conviction.
The final setting I gave is given weight with the quote: “Facebook also made Cambridge sign a legally binding agreement that it had deleted the data that year, but over the weekend, sources close to the company told WIRED that data was still visible to employees within Cambridge in early 2017“, which gives us that people had access and there is absolutely no evidence that no criminal acts were committed.
So we have two additional considerations. The first is can we work on the premise of guilty until proven innocent? In these cases of identity theft that is often the only path to take to shown innocence. The second is that there have been clear indications that the data was available to Russians, which now opens a path to organised crime as well. One source gives “A 2013 survey from Javelin Strategy and Research estimates that the annual total loss to Americans due to identity theft was roughly $20 billion“, now this is not merely criminal gains, also the cost that the crimes brought onto others is part of this, yet in that if there is even one link that gives us that Cambridge Analytica data was used, the bucket of consideration will become a lot messier for the Justice department and even more intense on scrutiny; that is one step as organised crime and compromised national security seem to be two sides of the same coin, there is a decade of evidence on that, so yes, this mess will become a whole lot less nice soon enough.
From the mere setting of organised crime as well as national security settings where people from all walks of life use Facebook and the setting that even those in denial had ‘blackmail’ in their operational minds, the cards that gone wide and available to a whole range of non-intentional people will be a growing farm of identities and connections.
This now gets us to last week’s issue of the Washington Examiner. The issue shown (at https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/facebook-dhs-fbi-help-russian-interference-future-elections-report) is not the one we need to focus on. You see with “Though Facebook has yet to find any serious interference in the current election cycle from the agencies guilty of social media meddling in 2016, the giant company was burnt just enough that year to warrant what amounted to a cry for help from the private tech sector to the government“, we aren’t actually supposed to look, the setting of ‘Facebook has yet to find any serious interference in the current election cycle‘ is the wrong one. The evidence that other sources had shown is that Facebook had not acted for well over two years on the Cambridge Analytica setting, in addition, the fact that more sources confirmed that staff members had access to the data to well into 2017 and most of that was kept quiet to all parties and shareholders, is a larger issue for the simple reason that there is optional evidence that Facebook wiped whatever data was against them from the data carriers. When Facebook was willing to keep people in the dark for three years and the setting that we get in addition to the Senate hearings implies that it is in the best interest of Facebook to get rid of bulk data settings on any election tampering. The mention of ‘bulk’ is actually intentional. You see, editing evidence is hard and in the end in a system as complex as the one Facebook has, people get found out. Wiping entire index settings and wiping complete profiles with all the connected usage is more efficient. A data dump that is lost can be regained with old backups (like a 2015 backup), editing the evidence will never ever work, not on a system as wide as the one Facebook has. So there is clearly the consideration that this has been happening, the two year silence, as well as the Bloomberg quote we can use in this content. With: “Christopher Ailman, chief investment officer of the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, said Wednesday that he deactivated his personal account due to the “offensive” lack of oversight and poor management at Facebook. CalSTRS has owned shares of the company since its initial public offering in 2012.” Now consider that all reference to ‘Christopher Ailman‘ seems to be gone, now consider the 100 profiles (speculated number) that was used to spike the Russian way of life to Americans. The moments that these profiles are gone, so is the rest, so as it is all wiped, the images the meme’s all go the way of the Dodo. Consider that some sources give 9% of profiles deleted in America (another source gave us 14% as a number), when it includes the fake ones, what are the chances that anything will be found? I am adding the dangers of intent here, because when a company like Facebook keeps quiet for well over 2 years that setting becomes very realistic.
So what other evidence has now been wiped? If the justice department wants a full log of all deletions together with interaction, engagement and images, how much could be retrieved? That becomes the question and even as we all signed up for it, we definitely did not agree to the slightest that it was to be used to turn us into tools.
so when we see ‘Facebook turns to Homeland Security, FBI for help‘ in the Washington Examiner, was that to actually seek help, or merely to see if the data was cleaned out (accidentally overwritten) as complete as possible?
Is it a given? No, it is not, yet the different sources from the US and UK newspapers should leave you with this thought, if not for the CNBC quote ‘Executives at Cambridge Analytica were caught on camera suggesting that the firm could use sex workers, bribes, ex-spies and fake news to help candidates win votes around the world‘, than for the mere realisation that Facebook cannot afford getting included in the setting that they were the tools for blackmail, fake mail and solicitation as empowering sides to any election, so the given side of ‘if it moves shoot it, if it doesn’t move shoot it to be certain‘ is a setting that also applies to data centres, although there we use the term ‘overwriting‘ which is a lot more efficient than merely deleting stuff.
I reckon that by the end of this year there will be a lot of limelight that includes executives of Facebook and a court of law, I have no idea if they can avoid it, but there you merely need to wonder if they should be allowed to avoid it, two years of silence nullifies and voids most of the goodwill they thought they created in the Senate hearing.