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Daily Archives: March 25, 2018

Documents from former Cambridge Analytica workers widen scope of engagement with campaigns

The complex story of Cambridge Analytica’s impact on U.S. campaigns is being revealed with greater clarity as the Washington Post continues its reporting based on documents provided to them by former Cambridge Analytica research director, and whistleblower, Christopher Wylie and other former employees.

“Cambridge Analytica assigned dozens of non-U.S. citizens to provide campaign strategy and messaging advice to ­Republican candidates in 2014, according to three former workers for the data firm, even as an attorney warned executives to abide by U.S. laws limiting foreign involvement in elections. The effort was designed to present the newly created company, whose parent, SCL Group, was based in London, as “an American brand” that would appeal to U.S. political clients, according to former Cambridge Analytica research director Christopher Wylie…The former workers’ claims represent the latest in a series of complications for Cambridge Analytica, which was founded in 2013 by the wealthy Mercer family and Bannon, the conservative strategist who was executive chairman of Breitbart News and later became a top adviser to President Trump. The former workers’ allegations center on the 2014 campaign, two years before Cambridge Analytica was hired by the presidential campaigns of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and, later, Trump…Two other former Cambridge Analytica workers, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of fear that they may have violated U.S. law in their campaign work, said concerns about the legality of Cambridge Analytica’s work in the United States were a regular subject of employee conversations at the company, especially after the 2014 vote. The two former workers, who, like Wylie, were interviewed in London, said employees worried the company was giving its foreign employees potentially inaccurate immigration documents to provide upon entering the United States, showing that they were not there to work when they had arrived for the purpose of advising campaigns…”

Commentary – How the FTC Could Have Prevented the Facebook Mess

Techonomy Exclusive – Marc Rotenberg: “Here comes an understatement: Facebook’s failure to protect user data was well known before the company suspended dealings with Cambridge Analytica last week. What is not well known is that the transfer of 50 million user records to the controversial data mining and political consulting firm could have been avoided… Continue Reading

Research – The surprising link between your birthday and place of birth in one heat map

Data Driven Journalism: “…Take a look at [the heat map in this article], created by the team at Visme. Based on the most recent UN data on live births, it clearly shows that there is a rather surprising and unexpected correlation between three different variables: the top birth months, seasons of the year and the… Continue Reading

DOJ Revives Push to Mandate a Way to Unlock Phones

The New York Times: “Federal law enforcement officials are renewing a push for a legal mandate that tech companies build tools into smartphones and other devices that would allow access to encrypted data in criminal investigations. F.B.I. and Justice Department officials have been quietly meeting with security researchers who have been working on approaches to… Continue Reading

How Facebook Figures Out Everyone You’ve Ever Met

Gizmodo – Behind the Facebook profile you’ve built for yourself is another one, a shadow profile, built from the inboxes and smartphones of other Facebook users. “…Shadow contact information has been a known feature of Facebook for a few years now. But most users remain unaware of its reach and power. Because shadow-profile connections happen… Continue Reading

Is Free Public Access To Congressional Research Service Reports Coming in 2018?

Taxpayers for Common Sense: “We’re happy to see something we’ve advocated for in the past – free public access to Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports: From page 1095 [of the 2,232 page Omnibus Spending Bill] AVAILABILITY OF CRS REPORTS THROUGH LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WEBSITE.—  (1) WEBSITE.—  (A) ESTABLISHMENT AND MAINTENANCE.—The Librarian of Congress, in consultation… Continue Reading

After long drought new wave of gun researchers focus on mass shootings

Washington Post – “After a two-decade recruiting drought, gun researchers say they are suddenly seeing a wave of young scientists entering their field — an unforeseen consequence of recent mass shootings. Unlike past generations, the new scientists appear undeterred by the field’s lack of funding, dearth of data and hostile political climate. The new contingent… Continue Reading

Historical Supreme Court Cases Now Online on loc.gov

Historical Supreme Court Cases Now Online – More Than 35,000 Decisions Now Available, Searchable on loc.gov: “More than 225 years of Supreme Court decisions acquired by the Library of Congress are now publicly available online – free to access in a page image format for the first time. The Library has made available more than… Continue Reading

What to expect from Mueller’s report and Trump’s legal team is far bigger than reported

Lawfare, Jack Goldsmith, Maddie McMahon – Don’t Expect a Starr-Like Report from Mueller -“…In sum, we think that the best reading of the special counsel regulations in their historical context rules out a Starr-like report to Congress that lays out hundreds of pages of factual allegations as well as legal analysis and conclusions. The drafters… Continue Reading

Silicon Valley’s Regulatory Exceptionalism Comes to an End

Follow up to User data collection on Facebook much more extensive than just by Cambridge Analytica – Lawfare – Alan Z. Rozenshtein: “…Over the past few days, Facebook has lost tens of billions of dollars in market value as investors punish the company over its latest scandal: that it carelessly turned over tens of millions… Continue Reading

Emma González on Why This Generation Needs Gun Control – More than 187,000 students have been exposed to gun violence at school since Columbine

In an exclusive op-ed for Teen Vogue‘s gun control issue, Parkland survivor and activist Emma González shares why young people are stepping up for gun control. NYMag – The Parkland Student Survivors Have Taken Over Media – “In the days leading up to this weekend’s March for Our Lives, the student survivors of the horrific… Continue Reading