Stormy Over Nothing: Cambridge Analytica/Facebook Truth Bombs

The stormy tempests in teapots fall back further today as details emerge about how well the Cambridge Analytica (CA) models actually worked: "correlation between predicted and actual scores ... was around 30 percent (emphasis mine) for all the personality dimensions" according to Dr. Aleksandr Kogan, the data scientist/developer who actually designed the CA model.   Over 270,000 people were paid to use an app called 'This Is Your Digital Life' and it was this app that actually harvested most of the data.  He says he didn't know how CA would apply the data.

 

Some shared their friends data with the app.

Useless data.

Hillary (and Obama) did far, far worse, according to Fox (but the DNC sez... not so much - the campaign could not get the major data harvest to work for them).

It's hard to see why any sane campaign would pay the big bucks for such a low, 30% data correlation.  Most didn't, and most of the remaining campaigns departed CA after actually seeing the real results. 

Trump's campaign listened to the CA pitch, but thought the RNC's data was better and used that.  Cruz's campaign departed after over-paying and seeing some rather sad-looking preliminary results.   The UK's David Cameron and the Conservative Party didn't buy the sales pitches at all. 

So just as we've seen Zuck do so frequently in the past when promising privacy, it turns out that Cambridge Analytica/SCL's CEO Alexander Nix was doing the 'over-promise' and 'under-perform' thing, although his promises were demonstrably... quite unsavory. 

Yep, pretty unsavory pitch that would send most campaigners scurrying in the other direction.  The BBC (and many others) huffs and puffs about how awful it is in a short video and offers bad 'security advice' on protecting yourself. (Hint: they do not really want security aware folks browsing their site because... clicks and their own data harvesting.)

Best privacy hint (among the other measures you've already thought of): remove Facebook and any other suspicious programs from your cell phone (or any device with a cellular SIM like LTE tablets & notebooks).   Use Facebook only from a desktop computer where you have absolute control over your camera and microphone and any location data accidentally shared is entirely static (we-all already know where you live anyway...).

The MSM thinks it's 'genius' when the Obama and Hillary campaigns do it (and they did, with Facebook's assistance and approval according to an Obama official), but it's 'evil' if the Trump campaign merely listens to (and rejects) a sales pitch for the same thing.

 


(borrowed from branco - thanks!)

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