Tuesday, March 20, 2018

#TransformationTuesday - In Which We Learn About Transmogrification

transmogrifier boxFirst Generation Transmogrifier

Question: How do you transform an absolutely brilliant political strategy into a venous scheme of astronomical proportion?

Answer: Allow it to fall into the wrong hands.

Case in point: Remember when Obama and his frat boy campaign squad were lauded as “brilliant” for their “innovative” use of data mining? Of course you do, everybody was talking about it( here, here, here, here, here, here and here – I could go on but you get the point). Even Congressional brain trust Maxine Waters got in on the crowing, despite not having a clue what she was talking about:

"The President has put in place an organization with the kind of database that no one has ever seen before in life. "That's going to be very, very powerful.That database will have information about everything on every individual on ways that it's never been done before and whoever runs for President on the Democratic ticket has to deal with that. They're going to go down with that database and the concerns of those people because they can't get around it. And he's [President Obama] been very smart. It's very powerful what he's leaving in place." – Maxine Waters, 2013

Fast forward to the next presidential election and allow that sort of data usage to fall into the hands of the opposition, in this case the hated Trump Train Team, and the transformation begins. All that remains to complete the transmogrification is a whistle blower looking for his 15 minutes. Enter Christopher Wylie.

wylieHow about a gay Canadian vegan with pink hair? That should work.

Wylie oversaw what may have been the first critical breach. Aged 24, while studying for a PhD in fashion trend forecasting, he came up with a plan to harvest the Facebook profiles of millions of people in the US, and to use their private and personal information to create sophisticated psychological and political profiles. And then target them with political ads designed to work on their particular psychological makeup.

An aside: how is it that a PhD in fashion trend forecasting is even a thing? But back on point:

(The) former Cambridge Analytica employee accused the data analytics firm of mishandling the personal information of more than 50 million Facebook users in an effort to help Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

The MSM all pretended they have never heard of such venal tactics in politics! They were shocked, shocked I tell you! to discover there was data mining going on around here! With one exception:

A former Obama campaign official is claiming that Facebook knowingly allowed them to mine massive amounts of Facebook data — more than they would’ve allowed someone else to do — because they were supportive of the campaign.

In a Sunday tweet thread, Carol Davidsen, former director of integration and media analytics for Obama for America, said the 2012 campaign led Facebook to “suck out the whole social graph” and target potential voters. They would then use that data to do things like append their email lists.

But never mind the man (woman) behind the curtain, Wylie wants you to be horrified at this unprecedented use of your data:

Wylie accused the firm of “weaponizing the internet” and utilizing Facebook data to build psychological profiles of potential voters.

And there you have it: from “brilliantly innovative” to venal, illegal, immoral and fattening in the mere blink of an eye. Life in the 21st century is simply exhilarating.

calvins transmogrifier gunSecond Generation Transmogrifier

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