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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL #284 - Cambridge Analytica: Facebook and the spider in the web (fr, it, pt) [machine translation]

Date Wed, 6 Jun 2018 10:29:58 +0300

The Cambridge Analytica scandal is raging in the United States, after data from most of the population, collected by Facebook, have allowed massive manipulation of public opinion, in order to facilitate the election of Trump. ---- March 16, Cambridge Analytica Company Charged by New York Times and Guardian Investigationsto have illegally acquired in 2016 the data of nearly 90 million users of Facebook in order to practice advertising targeting. Through this targeting, Cambridge Analytica would have actively influenced the opinion of the victims in favor of one of its main clients: Donald Trump, then in full electoral race. The company would also be largely responsible for Brexit. All without Facebook, well aware of the diversion, does not prevent them: the complicity seems to be proven. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, this type of advertising targeting is actually perfectly normal, since it is its source (huge) income. The poor man must have been surprised to find that following the revelations, the co-founder of the instant messaging software Whatsapp, a subsidiary of the Zuckerberg group, launched a massive movement of Facebook account deletions, under the hashtag #DeleteFacebook (#RemoveFacebook). According to a poll by Techpinions Group, 9% of US residents would have deleted their account ! Zuckerberg was also surprised to see Facebook's share price fall by nearly 20% from the February 5th peak. Or by receiving the convocation of the American Congress, before which he had to testify and apologize flatly in mid-April.

Yes, but ... Does not this affair have a rancid taste of déjà-vu ? During the Prism scandal revealed by Edward Snowden, the world had also " discovered ", with " horror ", the capabilities of the NSA, the US spy agency and the country's largest employer in mathematics and computer science. Protests, flat excuses, documentaries, manhunts had followed. The world was upset, just as today, Facebook's capacity and lack of ethics is worrisome. And then ? Nothing...

Threats denounced for a long time
Has Prism prevented Cambridge Analytica ? No. Will Cambridge Analytica prevent the next scandal ? Certainly not. However, each of these two cases could have been avoided. Because the libristes we have been sounding the alarm for a long time already. The surveillance and mass control capabilities brought by new technologies and digital technology have been denounced since at least the 1980s and the first rants of Richard Stallman, founder of the Free Software Foundation. It is by relying on a certain expertise in computer science or mathematics that we formulate our concerns or our criticisms. We must not be deceived: these technological changes will profoundly change the capitalist, patriarchal and racist system in which we live, and it is very likely that, from the point of view of the values defended by librarians and libertarians, it is for the worse. So we stop taking others for paranos and we listen to what they have to say ?

Libertarian Libertarian's working group

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