Tag Archives: Steve Bannon

Identity denied

There are moments when we resort to other ways of expressing ourselves; it is in our nature to find alternatives to the story, so that we can tell the story. Nearly every person does it. Sometimes we ask ‘would you take that extra pastry?‘ instead of telling someone that you really feel like having another pastry. So when it comes to social media, we see not ourselves, but the person we want to be. We want to own the Hall of Faces (Game of Thrones) where we can mask ourselves with the identity of a dead person, like Ethan Hawke in Mission Impossible, walk in, sound like the person we are not, because we do not like ourselves in that particular moment. So when we look at Facebook, are we thinking the Hall of faces? In light of all that was revealed, are we in a stage where we prefer to be someone else?

You see, the shit is on the walls as some would say. Mark the Zuckyman did the right thing, he stood up (after a few days of silence) and held himself responsible and we are all over this that he is the culprit, but is he truly guilty? We see all kinds of articles on Facebook, like ‘You’ve decided to delete Facebook but what will you replace it with?‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/mar/31/youve-decided-to-delete-facebook-but-what-will-you-replace-it-with), even after a week this is still highly valid, because for millions of the multibillion users of Facebook, it has yet to sink in. Go to WhatsApp? Instagram? Both are owned by Facebook, so where does that leave you? So when we try to trivialise it with #DeleteFacebook, we need to realise that this is new territory. We now talk about the Social Media Landscape and it is not small. It is huge and most importantly, this is the first true generation of the Social media generation. We were not ready, and i have been trying to explain that to people for nearly 3 years. Now we see overreactions whilst sitting down contemplating it all was never an option. The law was missing it as it is more interested in facilitating for commerce, exploitation and profit (Sony and Microsoft are nice examples there), Human rights are failing, because the issue of Digital rights is only seen in the relation of commerce, not in the relation of privacy, in this the entire Google and the people’s rights to be forgotten is merely a reason to giggle, a Google giggle if you preferred.

The article has one funny part, with “For those determined to exit the Facebook ecosystem, the best approach is more likely to be a patchwork of sites and apps that mirror individual features. Messaging is the easiest: apps such as Telegram and Signal offer messaging and group chats, as well as voice calls, with encryption to keep your communications private. Telegram even has a thriving collection of chatbots, similar to Facebook Messenger“, you see, it is done on a smartphone (mostly), so you could consider dialing a person and have a conversation, your mum if she is still alive is not the worst idea to have. You see, the plain point is where you end up. So when we see “Part of Vero’s appeal to Facebook deleters is its determination to be ad-free. It is planning instead to start charging a small annual subscription at some point“, you see these people designed it for wealth (as one would) so where are they getting the money? The small annual subscription does make sense, but in light of that you better remember where all your data is and even as we see ‘emphasis on privacy‘ we need to realise that there are clear situations where the word Privacy is open to suggestion. What people forget is that ‘The boundaries and content of what is considered private differ among cultures and individuals, but share common themes‘, so are their settings of what is private the same as yours? Also, when they sell their company for a mere 2 billion, make no mistake, the word privacy is not open for debate, it will be whatever the new owner decides it to be. This is merely one side of data, as data is currency. That is what I have been trying to explain to nearly everyone (for 5 years now) and they all shrugged and stated, ‘it’ll be right‘, so is it right? Is it all right now? If you are considering becoming a member of the growing party of #DeleteFacebook it clearly was not.

So when we are treated to ‘News of Facebook’s secret tool to delete executive messages caps days of chaos‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/apr/06/facebook-using-secret-tool-to-delete-messages-from-executives) we see another part of Facebook, we see new uproar. The question is whether this is justified. You see, when we see “the company has a two-tiered privacy standard (one for executives, one for everyone else) and over its use of facial recognition software“, in most cases this makes perfect sense. Corporate executives tend to be under scrutiny a lot, as it sometimes is valid; they still have a job to be done. I was amazed on how many people Mark Zuckerberg was connected to in the beginning of Facebook. It was awesome and cool, but I reckoned that it was not always constructive to productivity. I have been in places where the executives had their own server for a number of reasons, mostly for HR reasons and whether it is valid or not, it is a corporate decision, in that light I am not amazed, only when I was doing work for Google was I on a system where I could see everything and everyone all including what I thought was the board of directors. Here is where it gets interesting, because Google has a (what we refer to) a true open system for all who work there. It is invigorating to get access to so much information and my first night was me dreaming of combining things, what if we did ….. and ….. would we then be able to …..? It was exhilarating to feel that rush of creativity, in areas where I had no skill levels to boot. With a ‘closed’ system like Facebook, we need to consider that by setting the state of all is open that it is a legal trap when you give billions of people access to systems and situations. The mere legal differences between the UK, US and AUS, all common law nations would be the legal nightmare of decades. Shielding the executives from that is a first priority, because without them at the wheel it all falls to chaos.

That reality is seen with “Facebook says the change was made following the 2014 Sony Pictures hack, when a mass data breach at the movie studio resulted in embarrassing email histories being leaked for a number of executives, ultimately costing co-chair Amy Pascal her job“, some might remember the mail that George Clooney send in regards to the Monuments Man, it made pretty much all the papers. I love his work, I enjoy the artistic values he has, shares and embodies, but without certain levels of privacy and shielding his artistic side might take a large dump towards uncertainty, not a side I am hoping for, because even as he is merely 360 days older than me, he should be able to create another 30 years of movie excellence and I would like to see those movies, especially as we see that he is doing to Matt Damon in Suburbicon, what the Coen brothers were doing to him in Burn after reading and Hail, Caesar!, so plenty of fun times ahead for all us movie fans.

Even as we are all looking where we want to go next, the foundation of issues remain. There is an utter lack of Social media legislation; there is a mess of issues on where privacy is and what is to be regarded as privacy. The users gave it all away when they signed up for options, apps and ‘solutions’ again and again. Until that is settled, any move we make moves the issue and moves the problems, it will not solve anything, no matter what some of the app developers decide to state. In the third part “‘The third era of Zuck’: how the CEO went from hero to humiliation” (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/apr/06/mark-zuckerberg-public-image-cambridge-analytica-facebook), I think he got kicked in the head real hard, but not humiliated, although he might think he was. So as we recall Dean Martin with Ain’t That a Kick in the Head? we need to realise that is what happens. That is what happens when Social media becomes a multi-billion user behemoth. Mark Zuckerberg made mistakes plain and simple. What do you do? You get up from the floor, fix it and restore the need for growth. And now still we see that mistakes are made. This is seen with “On Friday morning, the company apologized and pledged to stop deleting executives’ messages until they could make the same functionality available to everyone“, the largest mistake and it opens social media to all kinds of organised crime. Merely send the threat, tell the people to do …. or else and after an hour, after it is seen to have been read, the message is deleted, it becomes a miscommunication and no prosecution is possible.

That is the biggest mistake of all, to set a multi-billion user group open to the needs of organised crime even further then it likely is. How stupid is that? You see, as I interpret this, both Sheryl Sandberg and Mark Zuckerberg are in the musical chair setting, trying to do things on the fly and that will hurt them a lot more than anything else. We get it that mistakes were made, fix them, but not on the fly and not just quick jumps overnight. Someone has pushed them into defence play and they actually suck at that. It is time for them to put their foot down and go into offensive and attack mode (pun intended). When we consider what was before, we get it that Zuckerberg made mistakes and he will make more. We merely need to look at Microsoft and their actions over the last 3 decades to see that they screwed to pooch even more royally than Zuckerberg will be able to do, but the media is silent there as it relies on Microsoft advertiser funds. IBM and Apple have made their blunders in the past as well, yet they all had one large advantage, the impact was never towards billions of users, it potentially could have hit them all, but it mostly just a much smaller group of people, that was their small blessing. Apple directly hurt me and when I lost out on $5500, I merely got a ‘C’est la vie‘ from their technical centre, so screw that part!

There will be a large change sooner rather than later, the issue with Cambridge Analytica was too large to not make that happen. I merely hope that Zuckerberg has his ducks on a row when he makes the jump, in addition to that was Steve Bannon arrested? Especially when we consider Article 178, violating the Free decision of Voters. You see, it is not that simple, social media has never been used in that way, to such an extent, the law is unclear and proving that what Cambridge Analytica did would constitute a clear violation of the free decision of voters, that is what makes this a mess, legislation on a global scale has failed when it came to privacy and options regarding the people in social media. Steve Bannon can keep on smiling because of all the visibility he will get for years to come and after years when no conviction comes, he can go on the ‘I told you so!‘ horse and ride of wealthy into the sunset. That situation needs to be rectified and it needs to go way beyond Facebook, the law itself has faltered to a much larger degree.

The fact that politicians are all about terror cells and spilling inflammatory messages whilst having no resolution on any of this is merely showing what a bunch of apes they have proven themselves to be. So when we saw in January ‘Facebook, Google tell Congress they’re fighting extremist content‘, where were these congressmen? Where the fuck was Clint Watts, the Robert A. Fox Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, and National Security analyst as CNN now reports that optionally 78 million records have been pushed onto the Russian servers? (at https://edition.cnn.com/2018/04/08/politics/cambridge-analytica-data-millions/index.html), now implying that Cambridge Analytica has undermined US safety and security in one operation to a much larger extent than any terrorist has been able to achieve since September 13th 2001. That is 17 years of figments, against one political setting on the freedom to choose. I wonder how Clint Watts can even validate his reasoning to attend the US Congress at all. And this goes way beyond the US; in this the European Commission could be regarded as an even larger failure in all this. But it is unlikely we ever get treated to that side of the entire show.

The media needs both players a lot more and bashing Facebook makes for good entertainment they reckon. Time will tell whether they were right, or that the people at large just never cared, we merely end up having no social media identity, it will have been denied for reasons that were never real in the first place.

 

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How Facebook data flows

This started just 4 hours ago when the Guardian gave us ‘50 million Facebook profiles harvested for Cambridge Analytica in major data breach‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/mar/17/cambridge-analytica-facebook-influence-us-election). Even when we see “Whistleblower describes how firm linked to former Trump adviser Steve Bannon compiled user data to target American voters“, we tend to wonder, because me getting any data from my own account in Facebook is a stretch under the most optimal of conditions. So when we see “how Cambridge Analytica – a company owned by the hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer, and headed at the time by Trump’s key adviser Steve Bannon – used personal information taken without authorisation in early 2014 to build a system that could profile individual US voters, in order to target them with personalised political advertisements“, so in all this I am not saying it is not possible and that it did not happened. The video that the Guardian offered, the interview with the whistle-blower is nice, but it is quite something else. You see, what I got out of that interview is not answers, but questions. So when I heard “grossly unethical experiments” and “you are playing with the psychology of an entire nation in the context of the democratic process“. Here I wonder (for a mere moment) if something wrong was done at all. This is social media; social media is something that has no boundaries and no actual setting of limits.

We tend to set the bar of any social given at whatever level it should be according to us, but in reality, there is no social setting, not until enough people complain. I have seen many apps that are out there that do not only want your name, gender, age and so forth. They also want your religious and other settings and most people are happy to click ‘OK’. So this is something we are walking into and the given stupidity of many Americans means that a free game is something that comes for free and whatever it stated with the ‘allowed access to‘ is pretty much ignored, especially when the people around them state that it is a very cool free game. So when I see “built models to exploit what we knew about them and target their inner demons. That was the basis the entire company was built on.”” we see that Robert Mercer has found a business model that works. The question merely remains on how that data was captured, if it was through ‘cool apps’ there is little that Facebook can do, unless it has exact legislation at their fingers to state that the law was broken. Yet in all this the fact that this happened in 2014 and that the Guardian (and the Observer) had the scoop 4 years later gives rise that the farmed data is not merely still in use, it is actively used for whatever endeavour Robert Mercer has in play to gain maximum profit, because that is what a billionaire does. So when we see “Documents seen by the Observer, and confirmed by a Facebook statement, show that by late 2015 the company had found out that information had been harvested on an unprecedented scale. However, at the time it failed to alert users and took only limited steps to recover and secure the private information of more than 50 million individuals” the outrage should follow, but with ‘it failed to alert users‘ implies that Facebook did not care about the users, but about the business model, as well as ‘took only limited steps to recover and secure the private information‘ gives rise that their data was merely secure enough and no actual loss was found, that is the view we get when a firm where data is their direct market value data and ‘secure the private information of more than 50 million individuals‘ was not done. It is actually that simple, those who claim it not to be are merely hiding in the margins, hoping to strike it rich themselves, because that is what the data of 50 million people offers.

It goes further when we see the NY Times claim. With ‘How Trump Consultants Exploited the Facebook Data of Millions‘ (at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/17/us/politics/cambridge-analytica-trump-campaign.html), we see “During a week of inquiries from The Times, Facebook downplayed the scope of the leak and questioned whether any of the data still remained out of its control. But on Friday, the company posted a statement expressing alarm and promising to take action“, not only does it imply that the data is beyond their control, it gives rise that others have access to it which is more alarming. The Facebook system has failed its members to the extent that their privacy did not exist for close to 4 years. So how much data have you shared in the last 4 years thinking it was only for your friends?

In addition, the claim we see in the NY Times “Alexander Nix, the chief executive of Cambridge Analytica, and other officials had repeatedly denied obtaining or using Facebook data, most recently during a parliamentary hearing last month. But in a statement to The Times, the company acknowledged that it had acquired the data, though it blamed Mr. Kogan for violating Facebook’s rules and said it had deleted the information as soon as it learned of the problem two years ago“, when combined with what the Guardian is giving us is a rise to the setting that both Alexander Nix of Cambridge Analytica and the speakers of Facebook are both incorrect, insincere and without any doubt cause for great concern and so far the Facebook users are in the dark on a near global level.

I can applaud Robert Mercer to some extent, you see with “The conservative donor Robert Mercer invested $15 million in Cambridge Analytica, where his daughter Rebekah is a board member” we see one side, the other side is that all things being equal the return on his investment is close to five-fold, making is a wise investment when the goal is merely $$$$.

In all this we can give the Facebook users the bird, not because we hate them, but 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. So when Robert Mercer is offered a $25 million deal with an international IT firm like Vintage Alternating Java Academy or Medicinal Office of International Studies, we will see a CEO who will happily oblige, yet have you figured out yet where that data ended up? That is how the game is played, so when they cannot sell the data and the firm gets taken over by a Chinese multinational, do you think that the data stays in that one place? This is what you all signed up for. You might be in denial and you might state that it should not happen, but the law is very easy on what should happen and what is legally possible, the ‘should happen‘ group loses without a moment’s hesitation. The only part that I am not getting is what I would personally describe as ‘the Facebook level of ignorance’. You see, either some players were intentionally extremely stupid, or they were in on it form the beginning. They were in on it as they did not address the flaw they had exposed themselves to and they thought they had stopped the fear for 3 years, but now as we see merely two days ago, over three years after the fact has happened “a Russian-American academic, from Facebook. “We will take whatever steps are required to see that the data in question is deleted once and for all — and take action against all offending parties”“, as well as ““This was a scam — and a fraud,” Paul Grewal, a vice president and deputy general counsel at the social network” they are now realising that they set themselves up for a much larger negative boost. You see, when these 50 million users find out that they have been had, will they remain with Facebook? So what happened when the global wave starts and Facebook optionally loses 10% users, how will they sell that? It was the short-sighted prospect of meeting the sales needs and targets that got them in hot water. That is the foundation of the loss they set themselves up for and in all this, Americans far and wide have given their privacy up for a much larger extent that they realise and this path will take at least a few weeks as Facebook is setting all their guns to downplay any information that the public is exposed to.

So as we are ‘exposed’ to ““Protecting people’s information is at the heart of everything we do,” Mr. Grewal said. “No systems were infiltrated, and no passwords or sensitive pieces of information were stolen or hacked.” Still, he added, “it’s a serious abuse of our rules.”“. So is that true? You see the data shows that he is not truthful, because if that was an actual setting than Facebook would have had their own cloud for analytical solutions that did not require the export of data, but we see that this did not happen. So as we see the altered statement of ‘No systems were infiltrated, and no passwords or sensitive pieces of information were stolen or hacked‘, we could paraphrase this into ‘we voluntarily handed over the data to be used outside of the Facebook system‘. So does this make Robert Mercer the most intelligent entrepreneur, or is he merely the first one who got found out. So when we take a look at the flowchart in the Guardian article we see that Alekandr Kogan is linked to Cambridge University, St Petersburg State University, the Russian Government, as well as Global Science Research (GSR), which he founded, we see the setting that as academics are all about reselling their solutions for maximised economic profit, we see that the link between GSR and SCL Election Ltd (which now links Alexander Nix, we see that the data has likely gone a lot wider than anyone expected and there we have the setting that Facebook and their position of ‘it cannot be used legitimately in the future and must be deleted immediately‘, when data is out there it is NEVER deleted, whomever thinks that this actually happens will be delusional at the very best.

So when we see “That to me was the most astonishing thing. They waited two years and did absolutely nothing to check that the data was deleted. All they asked me to do was tick a box on a form and post it back“, which we get from former employee Christopher Wylie, gives the rise of the delusional settings that are seemingly available at Facebook. This now gets us to the final part “Paul-Olivier Dehaye, a data protection specialist, who spearheaded the investigative efforts into the tech giant, said: “Facebook has denied and denied and denied this. It has misled MPs and congressional investigators and it’s failed in its duties to respect the law“. I personally see this as the fallout to keep the billions of advertisement revenue rolling, because the larger the revenue stake, the less oversight is given to that firm. That is a view we have seen with the larger players for close to a decade. So is anyone actually surprised to see the Facebook data flow far beyond the borders of Facebook?

We as users have merely ourselves to thank for the shortcomings that exposes our privacy all over the world making it non-existent.

 

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