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Cambridge Analytica Whistleblower Says Data From 87 Million Users Could Be Stored In Russia (cnn.com) 178

PolygamousRanchKid shares a report from CNN: Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie says the data the firm gathered from Facebook could have come from more than 87 million users and could be stored in Russia. Wylie added that his lawyer has been contacted by U.S. authorities, including congressional investigators and the Department of Justice, and says he plans to cooperate with them. Aleksander Kogan, a Russian data scientist who gave lectures at St. Petersburg State University, gathered Facebook data from millions of Americans. He then sold it to Cambridge Analytica, which worked with President Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. "I know that Facebook is now starting to take steps to rectify that and start to find out who had access to it and where it could have gone, but ultimately it's not watertight to say that, you know, we can ensure that all the data is gone forever," he said.
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Cambridge Analytica Whistleblower Says Data From 87 Million Users Could Be Stored In Russia

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  • Of course Russia (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Kohath ( 38547 )

    It's red scare time. Witch hunts always find someone in league with Russia these days. We need shadowy villains and conspiracy stories. Reality doesn't have the same appeal.

    • by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Monday April 09, 2018 @12:55AM (#56404529)

      Witch hunts always find someone in league with Russia these days.

      Indictments built upon solid evidence indicate it's not a witch hunt. Only those who delude themselves still think Russia didn't meddle with the election of our president.

      We need shadowy villains and conspiracy stories. Reality doesn't have the same appeal.

      Oh, so I guess the reality is that a former spy and his daughter just ate a bad pizza and not a poison that is exclusive to Russia?

      It sure seems like you think the ends justify the means by denying the means ever happened.

      • by Kohath ( 38547 ) on Monday April 09, 2018 @01:44AM (#56404625)

        This reads just like Joe McCarthy's defenders wrote it. The reason McCarthyism is bad isn't because Communist spies didn't exist.

        The existence of evil doesn't justify witch hunts. Witch hunts are bad, in part, because they aren't factual and they start with the assumption of guilt.

        • by GrimSavant ( 5251917 ) on Monday April 09, 2018 @07:09AM (#56405213)
          What's the evidence that this is a witch hunt? Is it just because Trump and his buds are calling it one? Because I've that's the standard I've got some bad news for you, Nixon thought it was a witch hunt against him [twitter.com], and no, that wasn't, and he had to quit before he got fired.

          The Red Scare with McCarthy had major congressional force backing it, and congress seems to be asleep at the switch this time around, and sometimes running interference for Trump particularly through the actions of Rep. Nunes, as opposed to focusing on measures to secure electoral and other infrastructure. If you are going to invoke McCarthyism, you are going to want to show how it is a relevant comparison deeper than the pure surface similarity of being freaked out by the Russians.

          You think Mueller's running a witch hunt? Because the work he's shown so far with the guilty pleas and indictments suggests otherwise. I know we've always been at war with Eastasia, but Mueller is a Republican, and was W Bush's pick to run the FBI, and was almost unanimously granted an extension to his 10 year term in Obama's first term. His background doesn't suggest him being any sort of political inquisitor.

          I'm sorry, but from the other side of the fence these accusations of "witch hunt" really sound like cries of deflection and denial, there's an obvious amount of dirt in public view and the usual suspects want nothing more than to sweep it under the rug. Personally, I think a lot of these guys are guilty as hell, but ultimately I want the truth to come out and let the chips fall where they may. When you got guys like Hannity running interference for obvious crooks like Paul Manafort, who would be a total crook due to his work in Ukraine and for other dictators even if he had never met Trump, that's pretty clear indication that the truth and honest enforcement of the law is not the desired end from that side.
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Kohath ( 38547 )

            List:

            - Presumption of guilt.
            - The fact that it still goes on a year later after finding zero evidence of the collusion it was formed to investigate.
            - Investigative team full of motivated partisans
            - Unprofessional FBI leaders and agents, including one who was fired for lying about press leaks.
            - The phony "conspiracy against the United States" charges against people who are impossible to actually prosecute — so you never need to actually prove the charges. No charges against anyone on laws relating to

            • Ok, let's go through that.

              -Presumption of guilt: where is the presumption of guilt? Doesn't seem to be in the legal process from what I've seen so far, and that's the big place where it would matter if it was a bonafide witch hunt. Or if there were vigilantes going around attacking people on that presumption, but fortunately we haven't devolved enough into chaos for that to happen. If you are talking about the court of public opinion, then you really need to get a lot thicker skin, because if the standar
              • by Kohath ( 38547 )

                . . . where is the presumption of guilt?

                Here:

                . . .
                the press has found evidence suggesting collusion . . . the circumstantial evidence hints towards a corrupt motive IMO, and may possibly rise to witness tampering or witness retaliation...

                -Phony "conspiracy against the United States charges": I think you are just arguing based on ignorance here, and you don't know what those laws mean.

                Means they couldn't even find a way to charge based on foreign influence on elections laws.

                The charges against Manafort look remarkably strong from what I've read and heard about it.

                Those charges have zero to do with Trump or the campaign. It's a totally unrelated paperwork matter.

                The president is not above the law, and we aren't going to remain a democratic republic for very long if we put him above the law.

                Hillary was above the law when she got away with intentionally (or negligently) mishandling classified documents, a felony.

                Prosecutors can charge almost anyone with crimes. There are tens of thousands of laws and no one spends their entire life from birth to death without breaking one of them at least once

                • Me, some random asshole on the internet, thinking that these guys are likely guilty of crimes does not make this a witch hunt, and you clearly don't know what a witch hunt really is if you think that. I'm not in a jury room deciding whether they are going to be convicted beyond a reasonable doubt based on the case the prosecutors have provided, nor am I part of an angry mob going door to door short circuiting due process with torches and pitchforks. You guys can dish it out but you can't take it, which is p
                  • by Kohath ( 38547 )

                    I don't think Hillary should have been locked up. I think she should have had to plead guilty to some misdemeanor, pay a fine, and agree never to handle any classified documents ever again. The thing she did could have endangered lives though. It's serious.

                    You guys can dish it out but you can't take it, which is pretty damn sad.

                    Thanks. Now we know you're an unprincipled partisan hack. Clearly you're happy when the people on your team are above the law.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Manafort's shit was from 6 years ago when he was working for Podesta. The rest of it is process crimes and some Russians who maybe made some Facebook ads about Black Lives Matter and will never see the inside of a courtroom.

            This is a farce.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You have to admit though, it's pretty funny to see Democrats, who for years made fun of conservatives for saying that Russia was a serious threat, now saying emphatically that Russia meddled and that Russia is threatening our democracy. Remember when Obama made fun of Romney for even bringing up Russia as a threat, making a flippant reply about the 1980s wanting their foreign policy back? Yeah, well who's laughing now? I suppose that we conservatives will have to satisfy ourselves with saying we told you so

        • You have to admit though, it's pretty funny to see Democrats, who for years made fun of conservatives for saying that Russia was a serious threat, now saying emphatically that Russia meddled and that Russia is threatening our democracy. Remember when Obama made fun of Romney for even bringing up Russia as a threat, making a flippant reply about the 1980s wanting their foreign policy back? Yeah, well who's laughing now? I suppose that we conservatives will have to satisfy ourselves with saying we told you so about Russia.

          This is such an odd reaction and I've seen plenty of similar reasoning, but are you guys really thinking this through logically? Let's step through it.

          The initial premise, that the Democrats underestimated the Russians a few years back despite the calls of some of the conservatives like Romney, and that ultimately that bit the Democrats in the ass when Russia made a serious play on them, is sensible enough for the starting point of an argument. However, a consequence of accepting that premise should be to

      • Indictments built upon solid evidence indicate it's not a witch hunt.

        Not necessarily a witch hunt but in this case yes it is. The avalanche of accusations against Trump and Russia are the equivalent of throwing shit against the wall and finding out what sticks. And so in fact is the council of investigation. There are a few people accused of lying now. Well that's a big deal is it, these people lie as they breathe. The purpose of the council is to apply pressure. Now there's an indictment for a russian tro

      • "...exclusive to Russia?"

        Porton Down manufacturers Novichoks. As does the United States and Iran. In fact any country can make it. So no, it is not exclusive to Russia.

        So much for solid evidence. Thanks for proving you're a troll.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Shadowy villains and conspiracy stories? People have already been charged and have PLEADED GUILTY.

      You're right I'm sure we're all imagining it

      • Shadowy villains and conspiracy stories? People have already been charged and have PLEADED GUILTY.

        You're right I'm sure we're all imagining it

        Yes, because a plea bargain could never indicate a victim of coercion, only a guilty person ever takes a plea. Its never about the cost and uncertainty of a trial; the uncertainty of the entire government against what you can afford in terms of legal representation and investigation/discovery.

      • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

        In half of those cases, they're also demanding that they be overturned because the judge should have recused themselves, or that information on the 302's was fabricated. Interesting thing, when you change evidence and break the chain - isn't it? In most countries we call that a "severe miscarriage of justice."

    • by k6mfw ( 1182893 )
      Will this year's Yuri's Night not be politically correct? as in https://www.flickr.com/photos/... [flickr.com]
      • by drnb ( 2434720 )

        Will this year's Yuri's Night not be politically correct? as in https://www.flickr.com/photos/... [flickr.com]

        Yuri gets a pass. He was part of that rare component of the Soviet system that accomplished something good and worthwhile, space exploration and research.

  • Even worse... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by king neckbeard ( 1801738 ) on Sunday April 08, 2018 @11:45PM (#56404351)
    Even worse, it could be stored in America.
    • Its probably being tormented by now :(
      • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

        Its probably being tormented by now :(

        Well, at the very least it's annoyed about being pulled back and forth around the globe.

    • Re:Even worse... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Monday April 09, 2018 @09:12AM (#56405663)

      Even worse, it could be stored in America.

      This is, in fact, the correct answer . . . and you win the Internet for a week.

      Your invitation to the Royal Wedding is in the mail.

      Does Facebook have any deals with the NSA that allows them to mine their user data . . . ?

      Without another Snowden . . . we will never know for sure . . .

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        Does Facebook have any deals with the NSA that allows them to mine their user data . . . ?

        Does the NSA even need a deal, or do they just take that data? The Snowden leaks suggest they just took it.

  • ...had to exploit the system that Facebook created to get data. Ok. When are people going to get pissed that Facebook has willingly been sharing much more extensive data with Democrats for years? These crocodile tears are getting really old.

    • by arbiter1 ( 1204146 ) on Sunday April 08, 2018 @11:56PM (#56404371)
      They exploited the system that Hillary camp exploited as well during 2016 campaign, that was pioneered by the Obama camp and FB let them have the data (which could be seen as a campaign contribution in direct violation of campaign finance laws)
      • Using non American citizens in management positions, as was obviously the case, is a textbook campaign finnance violation. They are now under yet another investigation [cnbc.com]
        • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

          So where are the sanctions against the UK for criminally interfering in US elections. So accuse Russia, sanction Russia, evidence proves just thirteen Russian trolls, no apologise, no reversal of sanctions and oh look, the UK are the culprits and there are UK government and MI6 fingerprints all over it, so how about sanctions against the UK. Doesn't make any difference, they are going backward fast, the other people's money scam is failing as other people's money is now leaving. Would the US have invaded Ir

          • Im with you on the hold them accountable part, there are no indictments related to CA and no punishments whatsoever. Those 13 Russian trolls, some weren't employed after 2015. It's ridiculous because the damage CA did was obviously thousands to millions of times worse than a few troll posts and a redo of the gay putin meme. In fact msnbc let up on the Russia collusion hype right as the CA story broke probably out of fear people would start demanding just those sanctions. The real problem is if they sta
        • You mean like using a foreign national as a senior adviser? Perhaps a UK citizen named Christopher Steele, hired by the Clinton Campaign?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The Russians already have the data from the RNC and DNC so why not Facebook as well?

  • Oh no, the data might even be stored in (gasp) Russia!

    Russia would be a safer place than the usual store of data, which seem to be publicly accessible S3 buckets.

  • And in other news... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Okian Warrior ( 537106 ) on Monday April 09, 2018 @12:12AM (#56404417) Homepage Journal

    Analysis of a Recent Facebook company announcement:

    Buried in a company announcement was acknowledgement that nearly all [commondreams.org] of its users have been targeted to some degree.

    That makes about 2 billion users whose privacy was leaked.

    Also, Facebook was trying to collect patient data [cnbc.com] from hospitals:

    The idea was to build profiles of people that included their medical conditions, information that health systems have, as well as social and economic factors gleaned from Facebook.

    Also also, Diamond and Silk (two pro-Trump bloggers from the election cycle) were deemed unsafe for the community [facebook.com] by facebook. Their followers no longer receive a notice when they make a new post.

    From Facebook:

    "This decision is final and it is not appeal-able in any way." (Note: This is the exact wording that FB emailed to [Diamond and Silk].)

    • That makes about 2 billion users whose privacy was leaked.

      How the hell is privacy "leaked" when you (a) entered the information yourself into a 3rd party's website and (b) agreed to allow the information you entered to be shared?

      In the United States the data belongs to the person who collects it. If you don't want someone using "your" data, then don't give it to them!

  • Lately whenever Slashdot posts a story that shows Russia in a bad light, Slashdot starts having trouble with its nginx gateway.

  • There is now more than one copy of said data, and nobody knows exactly how many copies or who has them.

  • COULD Be (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mentil ( 1748130 ) on Monday April 09, 2018 @01:51AM (#56404641)

    The data COULD also be stored in North Korea. Or on a laptop in someone's basement. Or in a locked filing cabinet in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying "Beware of the Leopard".

    • Or in a locked filing cabinet in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying "Beware of the Leopard".

      Actually, this "could" is the problem right there.

      In spookier organizations . . . or in companies with sensitive data . . . the data is compartmentalized. Access is based by someone having a "need to know", and accesses are logged. This is used for accountability and traceability purposes. If the identity of a spy is compromised . . . who knew the true name . . . ? This is how internal moles are caught.

      In the case of Facebook, they don't seem to have any idea who "could" have had access to their data.

  • by Casandro ( 751346 ) on Monday April 09, 2018 @02:52AM (#56404745)

    ... at the current diplomatic climate, none of that data could hurt me. The far bigger problem is that that data is likely also stored at Facebook servers where administrations that could actually hurt me, can access it.

  • If Trump's name didn't somehow get attached to this story, the Cambridge Analytica whistle blower would have been only a small blip on the landscape of the news media.

    Attach Trump or Putin name to any story, however dry or souped up it may be, and the media will immediately pick and run with it.

  • The real problem here is morons on facebook taking quizzes to see what type of pizza or what species of cat they are and they grant some Cambridge sub-brand has access to their entire life's history. I blame the people first.
  • by qaz123 ( 2841887 ) on Monday April 09, 2018 @05:39AM (#56405073)

    Aleksander Kogan, a Russian data scientist who gave lectures at St. Petersburg State University

    They are making it sound like he is a Russian data scientist because he gave a few lectures at St. Petersburg State University.
    His parents moved to the United States when he was seven. He's obviously a citizen of the US and therefore an American data scientist.

    • His parents moved to the United States when he was seven. He's obviously a citizen of the US and therefore an American data scientist.

      *turns on TV* "Breaking news. New evidence of Russian spies infiltrating America and walking among us. Story at 11".

  • I find it hilarious that Democrats started hating Russians approximately the moment they stopped being communist.
    • That is not true. Under Obama there were even cases where the Democrats ridiculed Republicans who demonized Russia. Obama certainly was not enthusiastic about escalating tensions with Russia until the end.
      Clinton herself supported the 'let's not degrade relations too much' reset initiative in 2009 and she's on the far hawkish side of the spectrum. Afterwards she went all out though and I'm certain that's out of self interest.
      If there's one article I'd recommend on the deterioration of ties iwth Russia it wo

  • Where does the data come from? Facebook. This is like bringing a phone book from the US to Russia and tell them the data comes from Russia.

  • I'm laughing at all of you who stored your entire lives on Facebook, and now are pwned by these 'companies', and by Putin. Between this and the Equifax breach, your lives are about as safe and private as a convict in prison or an animal in a zoo, and it doesn't look like there's any recovery from it for you. Sad, sad, sad.
  • Other interviews clearly indicate that he is speculating as with almost all of what he said.

    Someone began this thread with a conspiracy theory re:Trump having a tie to the Russians through this. The craziness of that is phenomenal.

    This is pretty simple. Russia is a big country. There is going to be a good number of people that live there that have the same notions about what they can do with data that others have done. In Russia there are large businesses. There are all sorts, just like in America. To

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