Voting & Elections

No 10 'very concerned' over Facebook data breach by Cambridge Analytica

The Guardian

Downing Street expressed its concern for the Facebook data breach that affected tens of millions of people involving the analytics company that worked with Donald Trump's campaign team. No 10 weighed in on the row as almost $20bn (£14bn) was wiped off the social network company's market cap in the first few minutes of trading on the Nasdaq stock exchange, where Facebook opened down more than 3%. After less than two hours trading, the company's losses had multiplied to almost $30bn. Theresa May's spokesman said she backed an investigation by the information commissioner, which was prompted by a whistleblower who told the Observer how Cambridge Analytica harvested millions of Facebook profiles to influence voters through "psychographic" targeting. The European parliament president, Antonio Tajani, also said on Monday that the institution would "investigate fully".

Trump campaign data firm accused of harvesting Facebook data

BBC News

The attorney general for the US state of Massachusetts is launching an investigation into alleged harvesting of Facebook profiles by a firm employed by Donald Trump's election campaign. Investigations by the Observer and New York Times newspapers claim details from 50 million profiles were gathered without the users' knowledge. The company, Cambridge Analytica, was suspended from Facebook on Friday. Both Facebook and Cambridge Analytica deny any wrongdoing. The American data analysis firm - which is not associated with the famous British university - is well known for the role it played in President Trump's election campaign, where it provided intricate data on the thoughts of American voters.

AEC gives Fuji Xerox AU$27m for another ballot scanning system


The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has signed another contract with Fuji Xerox Businessforce to provide a ballot scanning system for the next federal election. The AU$27 million, two-year contract includes the supply of the technology and equipment that will be extended for use by state and territory electoral commissions. One of today's biggest opportunities for IT to make an impact is by automating business processes, manufacturing, repetitive tasks, and more. An AEC spokesperson told ZDNet that correct processes were undertaken regarding procurement, selecting Fuji Xerox Businessforce from a standing deed of offer that is managed by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). On the four-vendor panel, which began in June 2014 and will last through to June 2019, is data preparation and processing firm Decipha, management consultants Sema Operations, Fuji Xerox Australia, and Fuji Xerox Businessforce.

Why Silicon Valley billionaires are prepping for the apocalypse in New Zealand

The Guardian

If you're interested in how our current cultural anxieties – climate catastrophe, decline of transatlantic political orders, resurgent nuclear terror – manifest themselves in apocalyptic visions, you're interested in the place occupied by this distant archipelago of apparent peace and stability against the roiling unease of the day.

Gfycat Uses Artificial Intelligence to Fight Deepfakes Porn


Facial recognition and machine learning programs have officially been democratized, and of course the internet is using the tech to make porn. As first reported by Motherboard, people are now creating AI-assisted face-swap porn, often featuring a celebrity's face mapped onto a porn star's body, like Gal Gadot's likeness in a clip where she's supposedly sleeping with her stepbrother. But while stopping these so-called deepfakes has challenged Reddit, Pornhub, and other communities, GIF-hosting company Gfycat thinks it's found a better answer.

His 2020 Campaign Message: The Robots Are Coming


Among the many, many Democrats who will seek the party's presidential nomination in 2020, most probably agree on a handful of core issues: protecting DACA, rejoining the Paris climate agreement, unraveling President Trump's tax breaks for the wealthy.

'Fiction is outperforming reality': how YouTube's algorithm distorts truth

The Guardian

An ex-YouTube insider reveals how its recommendation algorithm promotes divisive clips and conspiracy videos. Did they harm Hillary Clinton's bid for the presidency?

How an ex-YouTube insider investigated its secret algorithm

The Guardian

Fri 2 Feb 2018 07.00 EST Last modified on Fri 2 Feb 2018 07.02 EST YouTube's recommendation system draws on techniques in machine learning to decide which videos are auto-played or appear "up next". The precise formula it uses, however, is kept secret. Aggregate data revealing which YouTube videos are heavily promoted by the algorithm, or how how many views individual videos receive from "up next" suggestions, is also withheld from the public. Disclosing that data would enable academic institutions, fact-checkers and regulators (as well as journalists) to assess the type of content YouTube is most likely to promote. By keeping the algorithm and its results under wraps, YouTube ensures that any patterns that indicate unintended biases or distortions associated with its algorithm are concealed from public view.