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3/17/18: 50 million Facebook profiles harvested for Cambridge Analytica in major data breach

3/17/18: 50 million Facebook profiles harvested for Cambridge Analytica in major data breach
The data analytics firm that worked with Donald Trump’s election team and the winning Brexit campaign harvested millions of Facebook profiles of US voters, in one of the tech giant’s biggest ever data breaches, and used them to build a powerful software program to predict and influence choices at the ballot box. A whistleblower has revealed to the Observer 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. Christopher Wylie, who worked with a Cambridge University academic to obtain the data, told the Observer: “We exploited Facebook to harvest millions of people’s profiles. And built models to exploit what we knew about them and target their inner demons. The revelations provoked widespread outrage. Related:  The Mueller ReportCambridge Analyticavisual Merchandising

12/4/18: Mueller about to have his say -- in a big way (Opinion) This week, Mueller is due to make three crucial court filings -- sentencing memos for Michael Flynn, Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort. Each document will tell us something important about what the future holds for these defendants and, more importantly, about what Mueller knows and where he might be headed. By the end of this week, we will know much more about the strength of Mueller's hand and the threat his investigation poses to President Donald Trump and his administration. Ever since his December 2017 guilty plea, Flynn has been something of a mystery man. Flynn pleaded guilty via a cooperation agreement, which means that Mueller now knows everything that Flynn knows. The only clue we have gotten is that Mueller has postponed Flynn's sentencing four times. Now we should finally hear that story. One thing is certain: much of the mystery surrounding Flynn, and his cooperation with Mueller, is finally about to be solved. Michael Cohen Paul Manafort This one should be the main event.

Guardian - 11 Dec 2015 - Ted Cruz campaign using firm that harvested data on millions of unwitting Facebook users - by Harry Davies @harryfoxdavies Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign is using psychological data based on research spanning tens of millions of Facebook users, harvested largely without their permission, to boost his surging White House run and gain an edge over Donald Trump and other Republican rivals, the Guardian can reveal. A little-known data company, now embedded within Cruz’s campaign and indirectly financed by his primary billionaire benefactor, paid researchers at Cambridge University to gather detailed psychological profiles about the US electorate using a massive pool of mainly unwitting US Facebook users built with an online survey. As part of an aggressive new voter-targeting operation, Cambridge Analytica – financially supported by reclusive hedge fund magnate and leading Republican donor Robert Mercer – is now using so-called “psychographic profiles” of US citizens in order to help win Cruz votes, despite earlier concerns and red flags from potential survey-takers. Research that seeded data on millions

MPs demand end to persecution of Windrush generation as government admits deportations took place - Birmingham Live 140 MPs have written to Prime Minister Theresa May insisting that the Government stop treating British residents who came here from Commonwealth countries like illegal immigrants. They called for “an immediate and effective response to the growing crisis facing British residents who arrived in Britain from the countries of the Commonwealth prior to 1973”. Prime Minister Theresa May announced a u-turn as she agreed to discuss the treatment of the “Windrush generation” with leaders of 12 Caribbean countries, after previously apparently declining a request to meet them. The Government is under enormous pressure to deal with the scandal after immigration Minister Caroline Nokes appeared to admit some Windrush immigrants had been wrongly deported. She told ITV News: “There have been some horrendous situations which as a minister have appalled me.” Asked how many people had been wrongly deported, she said: “No, I don’t know the numbers.

3/21/17: Comey confirms FBI Is Investigating Trump’s Ties to Russia FBI Director James Comey also said the FBI has “no information” that supports Trump’s unsubstantiated claims that President Obama tapped Trump’s phones in Trump Tower during the election. James Comey: “With respect to the president’s tweets about alleged wiretapping directed at him by the prior administration, I have no information that supports those tweets, and we have looked carefully inside the FBI. The Department of Justice has asked me to share with you that the answer is the same for the Department of Justice and all its components: The department has no information that supports those tweets.” During the hearing, the director of the National Security Agency, Michael Rogers, also refuted President Trump’s claims that President Obama asked the British intelligence agency GCHQ to carry out the wiretap on Trump Tower. This is Rogers being questioned by California Democratic Congressmember Adam Schiff. Rep. Michael Rogers: “Yes, sir.”

Guardian - 7 May 2017 - The great British Brexit robbery: how our democracy was hijacked - by Carole Cadwalladr “The connectivity that is the heart of globalisation can be exploited by states with hostile intent to further their aims.[…] The risks at stake are profound and represent a fundamental threat to our sovereignty.” Alex Younger, head of MI6, December, 2016 “It’s not MI6’s job to warn of internal threats. It was a very strange speech. In January 2013, a young American postgraduate was passing through London when she was called up by the boss of a firm where she’d previously interned. “That was before we became this dark, dystopian data company that gave the world Trump,” a former Cambridge Analytica employee who I’ll call Paul tells me. Was that really what you called it, I ask him. Why would anyone want to intern with a psychological warfare firm, I ask him. On that day in January 2013, the intern met up with SCL’s chief executive, Alexander Nix, and gave him the germ of an idea. A weird but telling detail. It also reveals a critical and gaping hole in the political debate in Britain.

Labour's making free school meals an election issue but it's not telling the truth - Jonathan Walker - Birmingham Live Labour has made free school meals an issue in Birmingham’s local elections. Lynda Clinton, currently a Labour councillor in Tyburn and candidate for the ward of Castle Vale in May’s poll, has distributed leaflets claiming: “The Conservatives just took away free school meals from 1,000,000 children whose families are on low income.” Coun Clinton (who is also Birmingham's Lord Mayor elect) asks: “Why are Conservatives starving our children by taking away free school meals?” But the claim that the Tories took free school meals away from one million children isn’t true. What's happened to free school meals? Under the old system - the one that existed under Labour - children got free school meals if their parents received an out-of-work benefit, such as Jobseekers’ Allowance. They lost their entitlement if a parent started working 16 hours a week, if there was one adult in the house, or parents worked 24 hours a week between them, if there were two. This figure only includes earnings.

12/8/18: Takeaways from the new Cohen & Manafort filings The court filings released Friday by Robert Mueller and federal prosecutors detail the alleged lies Donald Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort told both publicly and to the special counsel's investigators. And for the first time, prosecutors publicly endorsed Cohen's earlier statements in court that he acted at the direction of Trump when he committed two crimes in 2016: making payments to the two women alleging affairs with Trump in order to keep them silent. The court documents provide new insights into the Mueller probe itself, including why the proposed Trump Tower Moscow project was relevant to Russian election meddling and potential new contacts between Cohen and Russian officials seeking to arrange a meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. They reveal that a Russian national who claimed connections to the Russian government spoke with Cohen in 2015 and offered "political synergy" with the Trump campaign. Lying liars

The myth that British data scientists won the election for Trump Claims that social media data won the presidency are greatly exaggerated A piece of data science mythology has been floating around the internet for several weeks now. It surfaced most recently in Vice, and it tells the story of a firm, Cambridge Analytica, that was supposedly instrumental in Donald Trump’s campaign. The story goes that by analysing marketing and social media data during the EU Referendum, data scientists were able to model the personalities of voters in unprecedented detail, helping the Leave campaign to an unlikely victory. Shortly after that, the firm was employed by the Trump campaign where, we are told, it contributed to another unlikely victory. For me this story is like candy floss – it looks nice and substantial, but when you stick it in your mouth there's not much there and you’re still hungry. Before we even get into methods, there’s Ted Cruz. They mention the Iowa primary on 1 February 2016, where the data science outfit helped to identify target voters.

Guide to data protection This guide is for data protection officers and others who have day-to-day responsibility for data protection. It is aimed at small and medium-sized organisations, but it may be useful for larger organisations too. If you are a sole trader (or similar small business owner), you may find it easier to start with our specific resources for small business owners and sole traders. The guide covers the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA 2018), and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) as it applies in the UK. It is split into five main sections: Where relevant, this guide also links to more detailed guidance and other resources, including ICO guidance, statutory ICO codes of practice, and European guidelines published by the European Data Protection Board (EDPB). We produced many guidance documents on the previous 1998 Act.

12/8/18: DJT: Please step away. Nothing to see here. "We're very happy with what we're reading because there was no collusion whatsoever," Trump told reporters Saturday at the White House before boarding Marine One for the Army-Navy game in Philadelphia. Trump told reporters he has not read the court filings, which detail alleged lies Cohen and Manafort told publicly and to investigators. In August, Cohen pleaded guilty to eight federal crimes after being charged by Manhattan federal prosecutors. Those included tax fraud, making false statements to a bank and campaign-finance violations tied to his work for Trump, including payments Cohen made or helped orchestrate that were designed to silence women who claimed affairs with the then-presidential candidate. On Friday, prosecutors from the Manhattan US attorney's office wrote: "In particular, and as Cohen himself has now admitted, with respect to both payments, he acted in coordination with and at the direction of Individual-1." Trump has denied those claims.

The GOP’s Attack on Voting Rights Was the Most Under-Covered Story of 2016 There were 25 debates during the presidential primaries and general election and not a single question about the attack on voting rights, even though this was the first presidential election in 50 years without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act. Fourteen states had new voting restrictions in place for the first time in 2016—including crucial swing states like Wisconsin and Virginia—yet we heard nary a peep about it on Election Day except from outlets like The Nation. This was the biggest under-covered scandal of the 2016 campaign. We’ll likely never know how many people were kept from the polls by restrictions like voter-ID laws, cuts to early voting, and barriers to voter registration. But at the very least this should have been a question that many more people were looking into. For example, 27,000 votes currently separate Trump and Clinton in Wisconsin, where 300,000 registered voters, according to a federal court, lacked strict forms of voter ID.

One in 20 Brits delete Facebook accounts after the Cambridge Analytica scandal The study, by WPP-owned Syzygy and marketing intelligence platform Attest, also found that 54% of the 1,000 respondents have changed or intend to change their privacy settings. Overall, 54% do not intend to delete any social platforms in the wake of the scandal, and 20% haven't decided whether or not they will yet. Nevertheless, two-thirds (67%) of Brits are either somewhat or extremely worried about the misuse of their personal data online, while 20% are a little worried. However these consumers aren't terribly concerned with brands using their data. A separate survey of 2,000 UK consumers by the same companies found that Brits don't trust companies to keep their data safe and protect them online. Just over one-fifth (21%) feel their data is at risk and they don't feel safe. Consumers also do not feel they are receiving enough in return for sharing their data, as just 12% say they receive a lot of benefit and almost half (46%) believe they receive a little benefit.

12/13/16: Conway says Obama trying to “box in” Trump w/Russia sanctions Kellyanne Conway, President-elect Donald Trump’s former campaign manager and future White House adviser, has gone on the record accusing President Barack Obama of trying to force her boss’ hand by imposing tough new sanctions on Russia. “I will tell you that even those who are sympathetic to President Obama on most issues are saying that part of the reason he did this today was to quote ‘box in’ President-elect Trump,” Conway told CNN’s Kate Bolduan on Thursday. “That would be very unfortunate if politics were the motivating factor here. We can’t help but think that’s often true.” Conway added, “That is not the way that peaceful exchanges work in this democracy.” Later in the interview, Conway contested the notion that the hacking of DNC emails — whether perpetrated by Russia or anyone else — had a meaningful impact on the 2016 presidential election’s results. “All we heard through the election was ‘Russia, Russia, Russia.’

Blame Trump’s Victory on College-Educated Whites, Not the Working Class The average Trump voter is not poorly educated or unemployed, nor does he live in a rural area. Back in May, FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver punctured the myth of the “working class” being Trump’s voter base: In exit polls of 23 states from the primaries, all showed a higher median income for Trump supporters than the national average, usually around $70,000. Exit polls last week, while not definitive, reveal that both college-educated white men and college educated white women voted for Trump by much higher than expected margins. While it is true that many rural voters who backed Obama in 2008 and 2012 voted for Trump this year, these voters hardly comprise the majority of Trump’s 60 million votes, as rural voters made up only 17 percent of this year’s electorate. The voters Clinton really lost—the ones she was targeting and relying on for victory—were college-educated whites. Clinton’s strategy made sense. Perhaps, then, these Trump voters are the most deplorable of them all.