Further Russiagate / General GOP Ratfvckery Open Thread: Cambridge Analytica, Once Again

Think this news kinda got overlooked in the torrent yesterday. I know that CA’s much-vaunted “secret sauce” turned out to be “leave a few bank doors unlocked, tell our Russian clients about it, and pretend we don’t know how the vault, the registers, and the spare change out of the cashiers’ desks got looted”, but this still seems significant. Especially since the NYTimes is careful to point out that the company’s “principal owner” is Robert Mercer:

Appearing before the Senate Judiciary committee [yesterday] as part of the ongoing investigation of Cambridge Analytica and various forms of meddling in the 2016 elections, former employee and whistleblower Christopher Wylie said that the company and its then-VP Steve Bannon were pursuing voter suppression tactics aimed at black Americans.

Although Wylie insisted that he himself did not take part in these programs, he testified to their existence.

“One of the things that provoked me to leave was discussions about ‘voter disengagement’ and the idea of targeting African Americans,” he said. “I didn’t participate on any voter suppression programs, so I can’t comment on the specifics of those programs.”…

“I can comment on their existence, and I can comment more generally on my understanding of what they were doing,” he explained under questioning from Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA).

“If it suited the client’s objective, the firm [SCL, Cambridge Analytica’s parent company] was eager to capitalize on discontent and to stoke ethnic tensions,” read Wylie’s written testimony.

“Steve Bannon believes that politics is downstream from culture. They were seeking out companies to build an arsenal of weapons to fight a culture war,” he explained at another point in the session. He suggested questions on the nature of those weapons, and the specifics of any potential race-based voter suppression tactics, to be directed to Bannon…

“How specifically, then, did they target African American voters,” Sen. Harris had asked, “understanding as you do that the African American population is not a monolith? How did they then decipher and determine who was African American so they would target them in their intent to suppress the vote?”

“Racial characteristics can be modeled and I’m not sure about the studies that my colleague here was referencing but we were able to get an AUC score, which is a way of measuring accuracy for race that was .89 I believe,” Wylie answered.

AUC, he then explained, stands for “Area under the receiving operations characteristic. It’s a way of measuring precision, which [the .89 figure] means it’s very high.”

In other words, black voters could be identified based on their social media presence and other factors, despite the fact that the black community is, obviously, far from homogeneous…


After the hearing, Wylie said he was happy both Republican and Democratic lawmakers had attended.

“Although Cambridge Analytica may have supported particular candidates in US elections, I am not here to point fingers. The firm’s political leanings are far less relevant than the broader vulnerabilities this scandal has exposed,” his written testimony read.

Among lawmakers on the Senate Judiciary Committee questioning Wylie were Republican Sens. Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Ted Cruz of Texas. Both have operated campaigns that were Cambridge Analytica clients.

Controversy around Cambridge Analytica’s alleged misuse of Facebook data raised a host of new questions about the social media giant’s role in the public discourse and elections, and helped prompt renewed scrutiny in Washington, where last month Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before committees in both houses of Congress.

On Tuesday, The New York Times reported that Cambridge Analytica was under investigation by the Department of Justice and the FBI.

87 replies
  1. 1
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    I am so angry about this and our Leftist “Allies” response, that I can’t even… Really.

  2. 2

    @Omnes Omnibus: Which “allies” and what did they say?

  3. 3
    rikyrah says:

    I read this last night😠😠

  4. 4
    Corner Stone says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Is somebody going to tell me wtf he’s talking about?

  5. 5
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @schrodingers_cat: You can’t find them?

  6. 6
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Corner Stone: CA specifically worked on fucking with AA voters.

  7. 7
    jonas says:

    If liberals had anywhere near the media bullhorn that rightwingers did this would be playing 24/7 at 300 decibels across cable and network news for the next 3 weeks, minimum.

  8. 8
    Corner Stone says:

    Is there any single person in the Trump orbit or sphere that is actually intelligent or competent? JarJar is going to be on the chopping block eventually for straight thugging the govt of Qatar into giving him money to save 666 5th Ave.

  9. 9
    SenyorDave says:

    Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy is much scarier than Donald Trump’s, who does not want to go to war with Russia. #PeaceOffensive

    10:01 AM – 14 Oct 2016

    An actual Jill Stein tweet, may she rot in hell one day.

  10. 10
  11. 11
    Corner Stone says:

    OH GOD! THE MOU!!!!

  12. 12
    Sm*t Cl*de says:

    The moral of the story: If someone whom you don’t know in person is trying to convince you that it’s better not to vote, that person (or bot) is probably working for or programmed by CA.

  13. 13
    Mary G says:

    Christ, these snowflakes:

    The White House may have finally found someone to take on the stress of overseeing President Trump’s fossil fuel-friendly environmental agenda in the heart of hostile territory: California and nearby states.

    But there’s one glaring problem.

    The guy officials have queued up to lead the Environmental Protection Agency’s headquarters in San Francisco doesn’t want to live anywhere near San Francisco.

    DiFi is putting up a fuss, because GWB tried this already, and the person charged $69,000 in bogus airfare claims.

    Finding a leader for Region 9 has been vexing for the Trump administration. One ally of industry after another rejected its overtures to lead the feisty office of career professionals who have little enthusiasm for the Trump agenda. The pay hardly compares to what potential recruits are making in the private sector, the cost of living in San Francisco is crushing and the neighbors are not particularly hospitable to folks carrying the “Make America Great Again” torch.

    I’m proud to live in enemy territory.

  14. 14
    jl says:

    ‘can be modeled’ huh? ROC of 0.89?
    I don’t know about how good modelling can be in that business.
    Seems like a lot of people willing to reveal their locations when visiting web sties might get most of the way to that in many areas of the country, due to residential segregation. A racial zip code or census track crosswalk is all you’d need.

    I’d be interested if anyone familiar with that business has some thoughts.

  15. 15
    Mike in NC says:

    Steve Bannon is the modern equivalent of Reinhard Heydrich. Quite the perfect specimen of Aryan/Republican manhood.

  16. 16
    Chet Murthy says:

    @Mary G:

    feisty office of career professionals who have little enthusiasm for the Trump agenda.


  17. 17
    Sab says:

    My oldest stepgrandchild is seventeen. She is AA. Tell her why she needs to vote. She and her cohorts are our future. Tell them why they need to vote.

  18. 18
    jl says:

    The prospective Trump appointee in SF could commute in from Manteca, The air is probably awful enough there for their tastes, and housing cheaper.

    Edit: no knock on Manteca, which is located in my greater California ancestral stomping grounds.

  19. 19
    gVOR08 says:

    CA characterized individual voters so they could be targeted with tailored messages. I will be surprised if they didn’t share this data with the Russians.

  20. 20
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mike in NC: Bannon couldn’t fence himself out of a paper bag. Heydrich could. He is as evil but less capable.

  21. 21
    Wapiti says:

    @jl: I am not in that business, but consider the ethnic stratification of the US.

    If a person who provides their zip code in some fashion, they can likely be tentatively identified as living in a majority black neighborhood, like you suggest. But if they don’t provide their zip code? Can a majority of their identifiable contacts be IDed as black? If so, maybe CA assigns a high probability that they are also black. Or the probability depends on how many/what fraction of your social media contacts are black.

  22. 22
    Cckids says:


    Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy is much scarier than Donald Trump’s, who does not want to go to war with Russia. #PeaceOffensive

    10:01 AM – 14 Oct 2016

    An actual Jill Stein tweet, may she rot in hell one day.

    Hillary’s FP is . . . ? IS? IS????

    WTActualFUCK with these people???

  23. 23
    Mnemosyne says:

    I had been wondering how and why the Hillary called black teenagers “superpredators”! meme became so prevalent. I would bet that we’re going to find out it started with one of these CA efforts and got amplified by an army of ‘bots and useful idiots.

  24. 24
    jl says:

    @Chet Murthy: Trumpsters probably won’t believe it, but they are probably not feisty for just ideological reasons. As is well known, most urban areas of California have crappy air because of too many cars, and geographical and meteorological reasons. Climate change has indirectly caused air quality to degrade rapidly in SF Bay Area. A lot of it is combination of longer fire season with more wildfires, and more frequent weather conditions that trap the crap.

    And continuing economic growth rate that outpaces rest of the country, no money or mass transit, stalled efforts to increases density around regional commuter mass transit. So, more cars, more car trips and horrific traffic all the G-damn time. I mean all the damn time. We have traffic jams at midnight and 3 AM, for God’s sake. I think most of that is road work that has to be done then to keep road condition disaster at bay, and they do a lot of it in the middle of the night to avoid snarling traffic, but that is not really possible anymore. So more cars using freeways for parking lots at all hours.

    It is damn crime that we don’t have better medium and long distance mass transit.

  25. 25
    Another Scott says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Why is this surprising? African American voters are the most reliable Democratic voters. Of course the GOP is going to use everything they can think of, and hire everyone they can who claims some secret-sauce, to suppress their votes.

    That’s what Voter-ID is all about. That’s what having insufficient voting machines in non-GOP polling places is about. That’s what cutting early voting opportunities and restricting voting hours is about. It’s also what the talk of repealing the 17th Amendment is about. And it’s what the talk of Americans no-longer having birthright citizenship is all about.

    It’s all part of the same thing – twisting the voting system so that the GOP will win because they know that the GOP can’t win a fair election any more.

    Of course CambAnal was doing this.


  26. 26
    The Lodger says:

    @jl: Manteca? Isn’t that Spanish for Lard?

  27. 27
    Mike J says:


    Seems like a lot of people willing to reveal their locations when visiting web sties might

    What do you mean willing to reveal location? They know your ip address, therefore they know with a great deal of certainty where you are. Within a block or two. Every single large company on the internet profiles customers. I remember a few years ago when it became known retailers were offering lower online prices to high income neighborhoods.

  28. 28
    rikyrah says:

    Every advancement that she takes for granted is under attack. Dolt45 is putting people on the court who won’t say during their hearings that Brown v Board was a just decision.
    Does she have any friends, classmates that are immigrants?
    Women’s health issued
    Women’s right to choose
    Access to birth control
    Clean water
    Clean air
    Public education
    The millions at risk of losing healthcare
    Why do I have to go on?
    Does she want to go to college?
    Even if she’s rich enough to not have student loans, there are plenty of others who must in order to pay for their education.
    Why does she think that she should have any kind of life without putting in the bare minimum as a citizen?
    Does she know anyone affected by gun violence
    Does she know anyone affected by encounters with the police?
    Does she NOT see the difference between Attorney General White Citizens Council and Eric Holder?
    Do I have to go on?😠

  29. 29
    Chet Murthy says:


    It is damn crime that we don’t have better medium and long distance mass transit.

    100% agreement. That we have Caltrain, BART, and a mess of bus systems is a travesty.

  30. 30
    jl says:

    @Wapiti: There are zip code, and census tract crosswalks for nearly everything. You can download them for free, or make up your own on dashboards at some fed statsitical bureau and academic websites. Nothing confidential as long as you just want summary statistics, and counts are not low. And commercial products make it much easier.

    If the data knew their residence to zip or census tract, then it knew very local summary statistics on race/ethnicity composition, distribution of income, and breakdown of occupational mix, home value, educational attainment. Much of that is from survey data, and not enough to update every year, or even every 5, but some of those stats change slowly. I wonder of some fancy genius stats or some brilliant model would be needed, at least in most of the country. One exception I can think of is Left Coast, but still many very segregated areas there. Certainly still many Left Coast urban areas where it rivals anyplace else in the country.

  31. 31
    Ignatius Donnelly says:

    @Mike in NC: But with more of a Goering body type.

  32. 32
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Another Scott: Really?

  33. 33
    jl says:

    @The Lodger:

    ” Manteca? Isn’t that Spanish for Lard? ”

    I think historically, in local California Spanish, it means more like ‘dainly little lard’. Please note that for future reference when you are passing through.

    Edit: maybe ‘delicate lard’ Anyway, it meant high class lard, and don’t you forget that.

    Edit: looked it up. Also can mean butter, or grease for edible fat. Anyway, whatever it is, I remember reading that the town Manteca was named for a high class table fine eating fat, not just any old lard. Good day to you, Sir.

  34. 34
    Mike J says:

    @Ignatius Donnelly: He had two but they were small.

  35. 35
    Another Scott says:

    @Wapiti: Lots of web sites (on PCs) are throwing up little “Use your location? Y/N” questions these days. I’m sure that was happening without our being asked in the past, also too. I don’t do much web stuff on my phone, but I’m sure all the wonderful “free” Apps are keeping track of us and sending data back to the authors. And all the mapping camera cars (Google, Apple, Here, etc.) are probably looking for broadcast SSIDs from WiFi access points, and who knows what else, while they’re driving around. So they’re triangulating things that way, also too.

    Facebook follows people around the Web, even people who aren’t members. Of course they know where people are and I’m sure they let their advertisers use at least some of that data.

    None of this should be surprising anymore. Anything that we use that is “free” is paid for by selling every bit of information they can extract from us and about us…


  36. 36
    Another Scott says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Maybe I missed your point. I found your comment surprising.

    More words helps. ;-)

    ‘night all.


  37. 37
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Another Scott: Do go with this. It is a great look for you.

  38. 38
    Another Scott says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Sorry I offended you. Or whatever.

    Have a good night.


  39. 39

    @Omnes Omnibus: I was trying to figure out what you were saying.

  40. 40
    Corner Stone says:

    I do not even know what’s happening here right now.

  41. 41
    opiejeanne says:

    @The Lodger: Yes. There was some argument about what they wanted to name the town, couldn’t use Cowell Station because there was already one in Tracy, so they decided on Monteca, but the railroad company’s name “Manteca” was what the cartographers used.

  42. 42
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @jl: Until someone shows me their model, I can’t comment on it. I understand what Wylie says they were doing/trying to do, but I’d need to see the data and the models and then the output to see whether it made any actual sense.

  43. 43
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @gVOR08: Of course they shared the data with the Russians. They had active Russian oligarch clients, meaning they were tied to both Putin and Russia’s intelligence services.

  44. 44
    jl says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I tend to be suspicious of claims for brilliant Big Data learning that can get such high quality sensitivity and specificity. So, to be clear, my hunch is that if they had residence, they just got enough data, which is easy enough to do for very low cost, and just relied on residential segregation patterns.

    But I am curious to get opinion of a commenter who maybe has worked in that business specifically.

  45. 45
    kindness says:

    @The Lodger: Yes, manteca is Spanish for lard. It’s also the name of a town just over the Altamont Pass in the Central Valley just outside the Bay Area. About 70 miles from SF. A lot of the towns out here have Spanish names.

  46. 46
    Adam L Silverman says:

    The good news here is that the Brits, the Canadians, and now the FBI are all running active criminal investigations into Cambridge Analytica, its principals, etc.

  47. 47
    Libraryguy says:

    We should never be surprised that Republicans and their minions are doing this kind of thing. To them, it is a genuine, heartfelt war between them and us, cultural and ideological but also intensely and always political, and they are relentless because the stakes are life itself. That’s how they treat every single fricking issue, large or small.

    The remorselessness is Terminator-esque in it’s grotesque beauty.

    And because they believe and act like this, we need to as well.

  48. 48
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @jl: I am too. I used to tell the folks working on refining the analytical toolkits for the Army that the problem is that everyone was trying to undertake alchemy. Everyone was trying to just build the right model/software tool as the philosopher’s stone. Then all we had to do is touch the raw data (base metals) to it and out the other end would come the right answer (gold). I kept insisting over and over that that’s not how it worked.

    What Wylie claims that they were doing/capable of doing is something I would be qualified to comment on if I could see the data, the models, and the output. I can’t speak to the algorithms Wylie wrote, that’s outside my areas of expertise, but what Wylie claims they were doing/trying to do is.

  49. 49
    patroclus says:

    I can’t believe I’m a day and a half late on the Aaron Schlossberg shaming game! All the good comments have been made and I can’t even make a yelp review anymore. I feel so out of it.

  50. 50

    Steve Bannon believes that politics is downstream from culture.

    There, at least, he is correct.

  51. 51
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Corner Stone: the subject is lard

  52. 52

    Daily Kos notes: “The transactions involve the financing of apartments and luxury homes in New York and California using money from Mr. Manafort, as well as from other investors solicited by the son-in-law, Jeffrey Yohai, including the actor Dustin Hoffman and his son. F.B.I. agents have reviewed financial records related to Mr. Yohai, who has been accused in a lawsuit of defrauding investors, the sources said”.

    First the house next door to his gets accidentally blown off the map of NYC by the Weather Underground in the early ’70’s (with the Trickster serving his first term, and the future script for All The President’s Men waiting for the burglars to be busted), now his name gets dragged into the greatest political scandal/earthquake in our nation’s history… albeit peripherally. What a ham!

  53. 53
    Peale says:

    Ok. We’re talking about depressing the vote turnout, not suppressing it, just to be clear. And my guess is that that wasn’t the only group within the party. It’s something that’s going to be difficult to counter. We New they were up to something when news leaked last Fall that the Russians had tried and failed to make Pokemon Go gyms into anti-police brutality conflict zones. That didn’t work, mainly because they didn’t understand how the game worked, didn’t identify players to go along, and of course the police wouldn’t have noticed even if they had a million players going along with it. So we could joke about it. That doesn’t mean they weren’t successful in other ways.

  54. 54
    Mnemosyne says:


    We’re talking about depressing the vote turnout, not suppressing it, just to be clear.

    Actually, taking active steps to depress voter turnout through false propaganda is a well-known and common voter suppression technique. You suppress the vote by making it seem like Both Sides Do It, Every Politician Is Corrupt, Lesser Of the Two Evils Is Still Evil, etc.

  55. 55
    jl says:

    @Adam L Silverman: In my experience, fancy models cannot do that well on a consistent basis, and almost impossible to construct such a good model that generalizes well to many samples out of those used to estimate it.

    But, a reality that contains bold and robust patterns and a availability of lots of data that directly address the patterns of interest can do that. And with geolocation crosswalks that are nationwide, it would really be a matter of churning Big Data until you have processed the whole country.

  56. 56
    Chet Murthy says:

    @Mnemosyne: @Peale: Maybe what Peale means by “voter suppression” might also be called “voter disenfranchisement”. To distinguish “convince ’em not to vote” from “make it well-night impossible to vote”. I mean, uh, it’s one thing to have the presence of mind to see thru the BS; it’s another thing entirely to queue in line for 4hr when you need to take care of your kids/job/life.

  57. 57
    Neldob says:

    I’m a little nervous about all these judges being confirmed.

  58. 58

    @jl: Also as the economy improves, use of mass transit decreases; we’ve seen that over the past 9 years on LA’s Metro.

  59. 59
    Yarrow says:

    Is Cambridge Analytica working to suppress African American votes news? I thought we knew this for at least a year.

    Ted Cruz of Texas. Both have operated campaigns that were Cambridge Analytica clients.…

    Ted Cruz thinks his involvement with Cambridge Analytica and the Mercers won’t be made public. He’s wrong. Nobody likes Ted Cruz and that’s going to be a problem for him.

  60. 60


    A lot of the towns out here have Spanish names.

    Heh, like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, San Jose, San Diego…

  61. 61
    Corner Stone says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Well I do like carnitas.

  62. 62
    Yarrow says:

    @Corner Stone: Mmmm….carnitas.

  63. 63
    jl says:

    Off topic, but I am just finishing this TED talk on youtube. Very interesting.
    Are athletes really getting faster, better, stronger? | David Epstein

    Wiki says Epstein came out with this theory in a book a few years ago, that seems to have been well received. His theory is that improvements in sports technology and training techniques, and much more careful selection effects for body types that will excel at specific sports. His discussion of Ethiopian marathoners, who according to him are mostly people from one specific region and subpopulation within Ethiopia illustrates the difference between race and ‘genetic subpopulations’ (that don’t identify ‘race’ specifically, but rather groups within or across conventionally defined races).

  64. 64
    gene108 says:


    an army of ‘bots and useful idiots.

    And most of the useful idiots I encountered were young (white) Bernie supporters. I have acquaintances IRL, who kept posting the superpredators shit on face book, along with how Hillary supported Bill regarding the 1994 crime bill that has helped lead to our current prison overcrowding problem, so she wasn’t authentic on civil rights or something.

    The 80’s was when the older ones were still diapers and the 1990’s was a childhood in the ‘burbs. They really don’t understand how bad urban crime got back then.

    I remember, when my brother moved to Manhattan*, in the mid-1990’s, and he was talking about some folks he knew moving to Brooklyn. My reaction was they were taking a risk, because Brooklyn’s a rundown, high crime, shithole. But bro said it was showing some renewal. And now the youngs do not know of it other than hipppster paradise.

    * Every car parked in the street had The Club on the steering wheel, or made it clear the car had a car alarm. People did still worry about crime, even in Manhattan.

  65. 65
    Yarrow says:

    @gene108: And when it got better Giuliani took credit for it.

  66. 66


  67. 67
    🌷 Martin says:

    @jl: One benefit of the Facebook data is that it’s a social graph. It tells you who is connected to who. And if you can identify one node as being definitively an african american, that tells you a LOT about the connected nodes, which you can then layer on top of the usual demographic data.

    I can predict ethnicity from a set of anonomized college applications with about 70% accuracy. Tell me which of them are friends with who and I can see getting as high as 90%.

  68. 68
    gene108 says:


    I don’t get worked up that Guliani got credit. Bill Clinton also got credit for crime going down. No one figured crime would go down by itself. Bill Clinton got Federal funding for something like 100,000 more cops on the street.

    Guliani gets credit for stuff he tried, which in retrospect may not have had much impact.

    He did a good job in cleaning up Times Square, for example, and making it more family friendly, which is a good thing, despite what a certain subset of cranky liberals say on blogs about how much better things were in NYC 30 years ago, when Times Square was full of p0rn stores, and muggings were common place, because it was more authentic or something.

  69. 69
    gene108 says:


    When I was in college, in Raleigh, NC, in the early 1990’s, there was a car parked outside our dorm that was “protected by Viper”. It was annoying. Anyone walking by it would set off the “stand back, this car is protected by viper” warning.

  70. 70
    gene108 says:


    Just to add, Ed Rendell got credit for the urban rejuvenatation of Philly, as he was mayor in the 1990’s. But he did actively try improve parts of the city to make it more welcoming to people and to attract businesses back to the city.

    So the credit big city mayors got for the urban revitalization of the 1990’s was part luck and part effort.

  71. 71
    gene108 says:


    @jl: Also as the economy improves, use of mass transit decreases; we’ve seen that over the past 9 years on LA’s Metro.

    Driving your car from point A to point B is usually more convenient than mass transit.

  72. 72

    @gene108: Considering that’s Darrell Issa’s voice, it’s annoying.

  73. 73

    @gene108: I’ll always take Metrolink from here in Glendale or Metro from Universal City to get to DTLA rather than drive.

  74. 74
    Chet Murthy says:

    @gene108: anyplace in downtown SF, I’ll *always* take mass transit rather than drive. Parking is hideous and traffic moves like molasses in winter. And on mass transit, I can work, so no time lost.

  75. 75
    frosty says:

    @gene108: My brother had 2 cars stolen in the Upper West Side in the 70s. The Datsun 510 was gone for good. The thieves put the Maverick back.

  76. 76

    @Chet Murthy: That’s pretty much my thoughts on going to DTLA, the only time I’ll drive down there is for a photo shoot with the Glendale Photo Group. They shoot in the evening or on Sunday so parking and traffic aren’t a problem.

  77. 77
    Doug R says:

    @Wapiti: From what I could tell, they go by likes more than friends.

  78. 78
    frosty says:

    @Chet Murthy: That’s my same reaction to DC. Don’t drive if the Metro can get you there.

  79. 79
    MobiusKlein says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Los Gatos
    Los Baños
    Palo Alto
    Paso Robles
    Los Osos

    All without resorting to saint names

  80. 80
  81. 81
    SectionH says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: I guess Darrell knows from…

    @gene108: Uh… depends on location. I can think of molto places where driving your car to would be a srsly stupid idea, and public transit is hugely more convenient.

  82. 82
    Aleta says:

    @patroclus: He’ll do something else ragey and your chance will come around again.

  83. 83
    SectionH says:

    @frosty: lol snort

  84. 84
    toschek says:

    @Another Scott:

    A lot of those pop-ups are because of GDPR, which is supposed to protect your privacy online and limit what can be collected/shared about your Internet habits. Unfortunately it’s only the law of the land(s?) in the EU and not the US. Regardless, any site that even has a chance that Europeans might interact with it has to follow GDPR guidelines or face pretty big fines.

    I wish the US could do something similar, but we’re going in the opposite direction I’m afraid and actually rewarding bad actors instead of holding them even a little bit accountable. /sigh. “Only in America!”

  85. 85
    Another Scott says:

    @Doug R: That was good. Thanks for the link.


  86. 86
    Another Scott says:

    @toschek: Ah yes. That definitely seems to be the cause. I understand that some US companies have said they’ll extend the same protections/usage requests to US users as well, but it should be more than voluntary. Agreed.



  87. 87
    Dev Null says:

    @Yarrow: Late to the party, but no, it isn’t news.

    Before the election Brad Parscale boasted of running three voter suppression campaigns (source, which in turn points to Joshua Green and Sasha Issenberg’s report at Bloomberg.)

    What’s missing in all the CA stories is an answer to the question “were they effective?”, which, as Adam and others (implicitly) note, is unknown.

    IIRC Parscale brought CA into the campaign – pushed hard for them – but (again, IIRC) post-election downplayed their role because CA weren’t especially effective. (Both points from memory, so caveat emptor.) I read somewhere that a CA embed to the Трамп (or possibly Cruz) campaign quit mid-campaign because CA nothing (the embed said) and he couldn’t keep lying to the campaign.

    I’ve seen reports that others who contracted for CA’s services have been similarly dismissive, so Parscale wasn’t (necessarily) either grabbing credit and/or hiding a Russian connection.

    CA has been on people’s radar since Marlowe’s exposé in summer 2016 (also here), but AFAIK where CA fits into the bigger picture is still up in the air.

    Lots of self-promotion, but perhaps they provided some critical function… it’s just not clear to me what that function would have been. Perhaps they acted as a direct conduit of FB data to Russia … but CA got their FB data from Kogan, who had his own connections to Russian state services, so no.

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