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Saturday 17 March 2018

Cambridge Analytica SUSPENDED By Facebook

[Update at end of post]

It was the company credited with swinging those swing states for Combover Crybaby Donald Trump. Its technology was also credited with swinging the Brexit referendum. But then Cambridge Analytica downplayed its role, and the Leave EU gang, who had been so keen to talk up its presence, also decided they weren’t involved, really. But now Cambridge Analytica is back in the news, and for all the wrong reasons.
The company has had its Facebook presence suspended, which may raise a few eyebrows. Why should a social media provider pull the presence of a company that does nothing more than analyse data? Ah well. After telling “We have suspended Cambridge Analytica from our platform for a clear violation our policies. They cannot buy ads or administer its clients' pages”, the man from Facebook spelled it out.
They certified deleting user data they received from an app developer in 2015 but we have since learned that not all of it may have been removed. This is a clear violation of our policies and terms of service … we are still looking into these issues so will share more as we get deeper”. It’s a data breach. And it’s a serious one.
Facebook’s official statement explains “In 2015, we learned that a psychology professor at the University of Cambridge named Dr. Aleksandr Kogan lied to us and violated our Platform Policies by passing data from an app that was using Facebook Login to SCL/Cambridge Analytica … Kogan requested and gained access to information from people after they chose to download his app. Approximately 270k people downloaded the app”.
And what was that information? “In so doing, they gave their consent for Kogan to access information such as the city they set on their profile, or content they had liked, as well as more limited information about friends who had their privacy settings set to allow it”.
So what action was taken when this was discovered? “By passing information on to a third party, including SCL/Cambridge Analytica … he violated our platform policies. When we learned of this violation in 2015, we removed his app from Facebook and demanded certifications from Kogan and all parties he had given data to that the information had been destroyed. Cambridge Analytica, Kogan … certified to us that they destroyed the data”.
There may be trouble ahead ...

Except CA did not delete all that data. And for anyone still shrugging shoulders and responding “so what?”, both the Brexit referendum and the US Presidential Election came the year after Facebook discovered the violation, and CA said they’d deleted the info.
... and someone will be facing the music very soon

So the not-actually-deleted data was still there during those campaigns. That, folks, is why this discovery matters, why it is a big story, and why you should be concerned. And just how big a story we will find out very soon. How that might occur cannot be told at present, but Carole Cadwalladr of the Observer has mused “Waking up to the news that Facebook has suspended Cambridge Analytica today? TWO YEARS after it discovered massive data breach? Wondering why now? Answers coming soon”.

Ms Cadwalladr’s paper comes out tomorrow. I’ll just leave that one there.

[UPDATE 1400 hours: tomorrow's Observer feature has been made available online already, and in it Carole Cadwalladr reveals that the personal information of more than 50 million individuals was harvested and used improperly in what must be one of the biggest and most embarrassing - for Facebook, at least - data breaches ever.

Most of those whose data was harvested were registered US voters. Confirmation has come from a whistleblower, who has passed what he knows to the National Crime Agency's cybercrime unit and the Information Commissioner's office.

What information might have been harvested on voters in the UK is not known. But what can be told is that the Observer article is only the first instalment: there will be more from other media outlets very soon.

Those who sneeringly labelled Ms Cadwalladr, and others involved in bringing this story into the open, as mere tinfoil hat conspiracy theorists were plain flat wrong. And embarrassingly so]


Anonymous said...

A company handling personal data that is too scummy even for Facebook?

But what a shame GDPR isn’t in place. Fines of up to £20 million or 4% of global turnover - whichever is higher.

Anonymous said...

Yet more confirmation, if it was needed, of how corruption extends even unto academia.

Add it to the list of disgusting "professors" who have suddenly appeared all over broadcast media to spit hatred at Russia.

Sooner or later the whole house of cards is going to collapse of its own absurdity.

Anonymous said...

A while since Cadwalladr had something printed.

Anonymous said...

Not long after the referendum


Cynthia Lenin said...

You like 'evidence', Anon. The evidence from your posts everyday shows that you love spitting too.
Could you give some evidence , in the form of quotations, verbatim if possible, of these people who 'spit hatred' at Russia?

Thanks in advance.

nparker said...

@ Cynthia

Perfect summation of Anonymous's poisonous spitting commentary. Strange how he hates literally >everyone< but Russia and Assange, huh?

Anonymous said...

@Cynthia @nparker
How do you tell one anon from another?

Cynthia Lenin said...


But look at his comment on 'Newsnight....',below.
Credit where it's due.

Cynthia Lenin said...

Anonymous 19.14

Not difficult. Comments on every topic. A tone of spittle-flecked ranting. Well-informed but paranoid approach to all topics. Hatred of anything to do with the London area (and,come to that, hatred of anything much). An unusual and possibly nostalgic defence of anything Russian. Tendency to defuse the effect of Tim's considered and carefully evidenced articles by Spart-style juvenile ranting, though knowledge and affiliations indicate anything-but-juvenile actual vintage.

Spaces between paragraphs.

Like this.

The Toffee said...

'Embarrassment' and 'Facebook' together? In the same sentence?


nparker said...

Anonymous 19:14

We can often tell it is a specific Anonymous who has posted before through the way they construct their comments and sentences. Also they repeat certain words in many of the comments, such as calling everyone 'far-right,' whether or not they fit.

The above is what I was going to say before I saw Cynthia's comment, but that comment is a better answer than mine.