Originally posted by Dubai_Phil
On one level I actually feel "sorry" for CA.
Having been in IT for ages and following all the new funky trends, I found myself a year back in a company that has a "solution" that will "gather data" and the tech has been created to make it much easier to analyze that data and target the right marketing to the right people.
Now part of the actual use of the software is that any individual has to physically press an ACCEPT button (as you do on Facebook).
A massive industry has grown up and will expand around this technology. Equally there is nothing "sinister" about how that data is then used....
For example I REALLY do not want my FB feed full of adverts to buy property here in Dubai so actually I am much happier that they use my data to supply shit that is at least marginally interesting (cheap flights for example)
So CA created an absolute game changing set of tools. They could and should have become one of the fastest growing companies in the world. They also grew out of our University system.
And now the backlash.
The problem was not the tech it was as ALWAYS, the "Ruling Elite" deciding that morals do not apply to them in their continued pursuit of "the Gravy Train"
As Wylie has stated in his expose in the Guardian (part of the team that broke this story), he feels mortified that the tools became "corrupted" in such a way.
People MUST go to jail here. The current Data Protection laws will not help a lot. IF this had occurred after 25th May, Facebook could have been brought to their knees with fines under GDPR. They will still be hurt by this.
Which IS a huge shame, a nascent industry that already employs many thousands of people and has many more at Uni studying this will be damaged.
Once again Corporate Greed, a lack of moral standards by the elite will hurt.
Me? I KNOW FB uses my data. Equally I KNOW everything I ever type is read. So it has NEVER been rocket science to use the web "carefully"
The people ranting the most about this on Social Media today are to be honest, the types that the world would be better off by having them nowhere NEAR Social Media.
FB had a Tech Team on site at CA last night. Obviouly they were "checking compliance" and in no way "covering anything up" equally interesting that the UK Authorities issued them a cease and desist order.
(We've all seen that movie)
There is no such thing.
I watched someone hack an NSA Laptop in 20 seconds at a Cyber Crime Conference. As a proof of concept, the next day they showed how they could hack the command centre of an Aircraft Carrier. So, don't lose sleep about CA possibly having your data
A good analysis and I too am conflicted on CA.
Data mining isn't illegal and certainly isn't that difficult (technically). The issue that appears to have crossed a line is with CA's acquisition of the seed profiles from Facebook that were then used to develop a FOAF ontology (friend of a friend).
The machine learning element of this isn't that tricky either.
Regular viewers of this site and TSW will remember that I developed some weird NLP (Natural Language Processing) analysis stuff (Wordles, and sentiment analysis) for Saints' posters about 4 years ago.
In a previous life, I also developed a software tool that would analyse the marketing materials of high-tech software vendors and profile and categorise them as to how they took their products to market.
Managing the large volumes of data isn't that tricky anymore given developments in Big Data tools.
Our very own Optimus Trousers makes use of most of these techniques to spew (too much - some say) news into our weekly thread.
What Cambridge Analytica did, and should be given huge technical credit for, is the psychographic segmentation. That is really smart stuff.
Understanding how our responses to a few very targeted questions can reveal everything about how we can be influenced is technically very clever.
They developed something that could tap into our hopes and fears and aggressively target those dreams or nightmares to change or influence our political position.
It's difficult to say this, but I suspect that process isn't wrong.
Isn't this what political organisations and corporations have tried to do for years through advertising and buying media barons' backing?
It's just being done now on a granular level that hasn't been seen before. CA has taken the incredibly inefficient broadcast political messaging process and given us hyper-efficient, personalised individual messaging designed to influence a single person's view.
Their crime (allegedly) seems to have been 'stealing' the seed data, so whilst I don't think their business model is illegal, it certainly seems morally questionable.