Tag Archives: Emerdata

A Bill of Goods

So when was the last time that you were sold a bill of goods? Have you ever been in that place? Some people avoid most of it by never purchasing 2nd hand materials to avoid that, I am for the most one of those people. I tend to inform myself before I go into anything, like a good person should. Now there is a level that we should attend to and after that it is overkill, paranoia and optionally a few other things. So there is a basic check we all should make. You get that don’t you? So when I looked into Cambridge Analytica in previous articles, I was a little late to the party (4 hours late), but that was because I wanted to look into a few things. So on the 18th of March, I got a few issues that made me wonder, and off course the first question I had was “Here I wonder (for a mere moment) if something wrong was done at all“, you see not having that question makes it all emotional and useless. It is all about the facts. So when we see the utter inactivity of the police and other elements for close to 10 days, I knew that this was about something else and there was even the premise that Cambridge Analytica was not the only player in town. So when I went “Robert Mercer has found a business model that works. The question merely remains on how that data was captured“, I had a little more than you all bargained for. This continued whilst ‘my emotional‘ side also added “for years I have spoken out clearly that these users are all about stating ‘privacy’ no the NSA whilst at the same time sharing indiscriminately on social media like Facebook, whilst not comprehending the system because it was ‘free’. This is the direct consequence and these users will be used again and again because that is what they signed up for“, the evidence (a slightly overstated word), had seen parts of this going back to 2014. The quotes were from ‘How Facebook data flows‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/03/18/how-facebook-data-flows/amp/). Yet today’s article ‘Cambridge Analytica closing after Facebook data harvesting scandal‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/may/02/cambridge-analytica-closing-down-after-facebook-row-reports-say) leaves us with a lot more questions. Consider the following quote “The company has started insolvency proceedings in the US and UK. At Cambridge Analytica’s New York offices on an upmarket block on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, it appeared all the staff had already left the premises“, yet this is in direct opposition to “Although Cambridge Analytica might be dead, the team behind it has already set up a mysterious new company called Emerdata. According to Companies House data, Alexander Nix is listed as a director along with other executives from SCL Group. The daughters of the billionaire Robert Mercer are also listed as directors” and that is not where it stops. You see Metro (at https://www.metro.us/news/the-big-stories/cambridge-analytica-backers-new-data-company-emerdata) gave us 3 days after the news “Emerdata was incorporated in the UK in August 2017, reports Business Insider“, this puts a spin on the previous statement, because as the first liner sinks, the Rigid Inflatable Boat (pun intended) was already prepared for the main cast of it all to vacate the premises onto a different vessel, yet were they visited by the police and other digital forensic instances? No they were not! It seems that when you are backed by a billionaire, the machines of prosecution tend to maul extremely slowly, or the machines is inhabited by cowards that are not willing to press any buttons until they can blame someone else. Whatever the reasoning will be, it is about to get a lot more juicy!

That is seen with “The data was collected via Facebook’s permissive “Graph API”, the interface through which third parties could interact with Facebook’s platform. This allowed Kogan to pull data about users and their friends, including likes, activities, check-ins, location, photos, religion, politics and relationship details“, not only was the Facebook team extremely lazy, the setting of the app could have potentially made things worse. They could have been accumulating data and reset the data against aggregated statistical margins, that means that EVERY market research company on the planet had optional access to additional data they never ever had before, it would have optionally increased value of any dashboard by 400%, now consider that I saw part of this flaw (I never knew that Facebook had made it THIS easy) from 2014 onwards. Even if the system was less able, there was a flaw and there is absolutely no chance that this merely involves Cambridge Analytica. So when we consider this, and add the quote “He told an undercover reporter: “We did all the research, all the data, all the analytics, all the targeting. We ran all the digital campaign, the television campaign and our data informed all the strategy.” He also revealed that the company used a self-destruct email server to erase its digital history. “No one knows we have it, and secondly we set our … emails with a self-destruct timer … So you send them and after they’ve been read, two hours later, they disappear. There’s no evidence, there’s no paper trail, there’s nothing.”” this changes the game on a few levels, this is no longer merely data capturing, or data analyses, this is tradecraft, deleted things cannot be acted on, a truth that has existed even before Facebook existed (ask the horse Pegasus). So when we think that James Brien Comey Jr. esquire, who served as the seventh Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation from September 4, 2013, until his dismissal on May 9, 2017. The dismissal is part of it all because, as I personally see it, he never had a chance, this is not some commercial app; this was tweaked on a much higher level (to where will never be proven, and unless someone kept a printed email, the evidence is gone forever). That part shown that this was no small operation, this was tried and tested on several levels and if there had been no whistle-blower, we would never have known, even if the metropolitan police decided not to sit on their hands for about a week, it still would not have mattered.

It does not stop there, this is a lot bigger and I think Mark Zuckerberg knows this, he must have realised this in the first hour the mess landed on his desk, the question is what he would have been able to do after the fact, I think it would have been very little. The fact that the Guardian had part of this in 2015 also counts, even as there is a large lull in activity, a journalist hands are tied to some extent, no evidence, no setting and even as I knew parts of this earlier, I could not prove it and Facebook was certainly not going to be much help there, because the value of their treasury is their data and someone telling them it is overstated by 70% is not what they are willing to hear or give attention to.

The next part is Cambridge University researcher Aleksandr Kogan, when we see “My view is that I’m being basically used as a scapegoat by both Facebook and Cambridge Analytica. Honestly, we thought we were acting perfectly appropriately. We thought we were doing something that was really normal“, really? Capturing private data is perfectly normal? We see that part in “Aleksandr Kogan, a Moldovan-born researcher from Cambridge University, admits harvesting the personal details of 30 million Facebook users via a personality app he developed. He then passed the data to Cambridge Analytica who assured him this was legal, he said“, he had no clue on Intellectual Property rights? Because that was already an issue when I attended University years before that, there are Facebook documents on what can and can’t be done, none of that rings a bell? And this statement now completely opposes the mention by Cambridge Analytica that there was never any data. In addition, his title, where he is boasting his title as a Data Scientist, he should be aware of Loshin (2002), Loshin, D. (2002). Knowledge Integrity: Data Ownership, June 8, 2004. Here we see “Researchers should have a full understanding of various issues related to data ownership to be able to make better decisions regarding data ownership. These issues include paradigm of ownership, data hoarding, data ownership policies, balance of obligations, and technology. Each of these issues gives rise to a number of considerations that impact decisions concerning data ownership” the fact that the information came from a protected source, should have been clear indication that Aleksandr Kogan should have clearly known that what he did was illegal to the larger extent, or he could remain in denial and just hand in his degree and title (Cambridge University might like that a lot better too).

All simple points that seem to have been looked over or is that looked past).

Now let’s get back to my previous promise ‘it is about to get a lot more juicy!‘ and go just there. So you all have heard the one truth, ‘If you don’t want your naked selfies to make it to the internet, do not make any!‘ So there is this girl who thinks she might be a photo model, so she goes ‘tits out’ and shows that she is photo model material, she sees the results and realises that she is not, so she makes her boyfriend promise to delete them and he does. At home he undelete’s the pictures, posts them online and he looks for a new ‘fuck of the week’. For her it all goes tits up which is worse that tits out and that is where we are now, Facebook has ‘shared’ the data and now it is out, so when we see the link to Emerdata, and the mention that Alexander James Ashburner Nix has the following company appointments

  • SCL GROUP LIMITED (05514098), as Director since Jan 2016
  • SCL ANALYTICS LIMITED (09838667), as Director, since Oct 2015
  • CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA(UK) LIMITED (09375920), as Director, since Jan 2015
  • SCL DIGITAL LIMITED (09375055), as Director, since Jan 2015, DISSOLVED
  • SCL SOVEREIGN LIMITED (09375809), as Director, since Jan 2015, DISSOLVED
  • SCL COMMERCIAL LIMITED (08840965), as Director, since Jan 2015
  • SCL SOCIAL LIMITED (08410560), as Director, since Feb 2013
  • SCL ELECTIONS LIMITED (08256225), as Director, since Oct 2012
  • EMERDATA LIMITED (10911848), as Director, since Jan 2018, RESIGNED, Mar 2018
  • FIRECREST TECHNOLOGIES LIMITED (11238956), as Director 2018, RESIGNED same day

This is all form one address in one instance he resigns the day he is hired? How weird is that? Don’t answer, the options are all overwhelming, but in all these instances he would have had access to infrastructure allowing the passing through of terabytes of data, it is also so interesting that they were all called Alexander, perhaps a fluke! Yet when we look at Alexander Bruce Tayler, we see that he is also a Director at Emerdata limited, so the plot does thicken. In addition, these places are all linked to PKF Littlejohn, the chartered accountants, now that last part makes sense as a director might seek one accountant for all companies, nothing weird about that. The issue is that there is a whole web of connections that allow the data to have been moved to Hong Kong and New York with no options to securely obtain the data and have it wiped. So this is not an accusation, this is the realistic setting that the data could (I do say ‘could’) have been spread all over the planet, until proven that the data was illegally obtained there is no crime and no option to get anything done, Facebook should have known this from day one. Even in the mid 90’s it was clear that Intellectual property and Data ownership was the hard-core central point for any corporate setting. If not, why would there have been such a booming business in transferring legacy systems?

Data has value, ask any salesperson!

So are we sold a bill of goods, because that is what it looks like? Let me also add that this is not sold by the Guardian, I think that the players in this game has been a lot more clever than most players and the paraphrased suggestion that the rats pretty much walked away with a whole wheel of cheese (ask any sinking ship) is not the strangest notion in all this. The final part we see (at https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/05/02/cambridge_analytica_shutdown/) with ‘Cambridge Analytica dismantled for good? Nope: It just changed its name to Emerdata‘, yet is that information valuable? I cannot tell because I am not an accountant. You see, I found it interesting that even as PKF Littlejohn, the representative of PKF International was seen in all the registrations, it is “the boards have applied to appoint insolvency practitioners Crowe Clark Whitehill LLP to act as the independent administrator for Cambridge Analytica“, there might be a valid reason for that yet when I seek into PKF international I see: “PKF International member firms lead the world in Insolvency services, we can help you through financial misfortune and the recovery process globally” (at https://www.pkf.com/services/advisory/insolvency/). In this it is merely my speculation that this is the start of a Chinese wall, a level of isolation regarding information and reporting. It protects all the players in the house. It remains speculative, yet is it an optional truth? When was the last time you saw an accountancy firm walk away from revenue? Tesco lunch anyone?

So whilst someone might cry for the people involved, I wonder how much tears an executive deserves when you realise that 2 hour mail deletion systems were in place, what else were they hiding and who else is playing that game, because when we see the 2 hour deletion setting and the police sitting on their hands for around a week (as I personally see it), I have little faith that the actual truth will ever be found through any level of evidence. The whistle-blower Christopher Wylie E Coyote is the one clog in the cog that set this all to an open investigation status; so whilst the rest is doing the ‘meep meep’ roadrunner we are left wondering how many other social media corporate settings are filled with stupid people. The numbers rarely add up, but I never expected the books to be this out of balance, not when we realise that this partially implies that Mark Zuckerberg has been doing open heart surgery on himself with a butter knife (a stupid idea for at least two reasons).

That is what it looks and feels like and it is as I personally see it as the result of being sold a bill of goods by all the reporting players, most of them unaware that they were doing just that (I am referring to the actual newspaper reporters in this instance).

 

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