Cambridge Analytica whistleblower talks info warfare in Vancouver

The whistleblower behind a scandal involving data collected from millions of Facebook users warned attendees at a Vancouver conference Wednesday about the threat posed by those who harness social media for nefarious political purposes.

Christopher Wylie, a social researcher and data scientist from Victoria, B.C., spoke at Cambridge House International’s Extraordinary Future about his time as former director of research for Cambridge Analytica and its London-based affiliate SCL Group.

Wylie, 29, is known for his role as whistleblower for bombshell reports last March on Cambridge Analytica’s unauthorized collection of data from 87 million Facebook users, intended to be used in political campaigns during the 2016 U.S. presidential elections. The company closed operations in May and two weeks later Wylie testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee for a hearing on data privacy.

He described the firm’s creation by players linked to the Tea Party movement and so-called alt-right, including Steve Bannon, who was chief strategist at the White House during the first seven months of Donald Trump’s presidency, CEO Alexander Nix, and investors Robert and Rebekah Mercer.

Wylie said it was important for people to understand that Cambridge Analytica used tactics and techniques which originated from military research and development, such as those used to hamper Islamic State recruitment.

“You can either send in a drone and blow that guy up, or you can deceive, trick, confuse, create paranoia — make him leave on his quote-unquote ‘own volition’ by disseminating information or disinformation via online or rumours and all that in the temporal space,” Wylie said.

Wylie said that while there was a vast difference between the rules of engagement in elections and war, voters could be targeted in much the same way as enemies. Political campaigns working with firms like Cambridge Analytica can collect voters’ online data to identify their conspiratorial thinking or …read more

Source:: Vancouver Sun

Blue Jays Takeaways: Estrada playing out the string strongly

The Toronto Blue Jays fell to the Baltimore Orioles Wednesday night, 2-1. There wasn’t much in it. Five Orioles pitches pieced together a four-hitter, with Billy McKinney’s eighth-inning solo shot — a 409-foot blast — winding up as Toronto’s only extra-base hit.

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. had a couple of singles, Justin Smoak walked twice, and Teoscar Hernandez made a real, honest-to-goodness impressive play on a challenging fly ball to the wall in right in the fifth inning. Otherwise, this was about as September-ey as September baseball gets between two non-contending teams playing out of little but obligation.

But we still found some takeaways. And we might as well start with one of the more underappreciated figures of recent Blue Jays history — Marco Estrada.

Estrada shines as he nears the end of the line in Toronto

With obvious consideration given to the quality of competition, Estrada was rather strong over his six innings Wednesday night. His lone run allowed came on a Camden Yards special solo shot off the bat of Orioles designated hitter DJ Stewart. The homer travelled only 364 feet and carried a hit probability of just 25 per cent, but thanks to its collision with the right-field foul pole it counts the same as McKinney’s no-doubter to centre.

Otherwise, Estrada allowed only four baserunners on three singles and a walk. Living in the zone while relying almost exclusively on his fastball and change-up, Estrada ran up 12 swinging strikes and nullified hard contact. The Orioles put only one ball in play against Estrada at over 100 m.p.h.

Via Baseball Savant.

Still, considering Estrada’s 5.57 ERA over 139 innings pitched this season — not to mention recent market trends that have moved dramatically away from committing money to veteran starters — the 35-year-old pending free agent may …read more

Source:: Sportsnet.ca

Sen. Grassley Sets Friday Deadline For Kavanaugh Accuser To Respond

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Another date has been set in the confirmation process for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Sen. Chuck Grassley says by Friday morning Christine Blasey Ford must respond to his request to attend a hearing next week about her sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh. In his letter to ranking member of the committee Sen. Dianne Feinstein Grassley also requested a copy of the unredacted letter Ford sent Feinstein about the allegations.

In a separate letter to Democratic members of the committee, Grassley denied their request to cancel Monday’s hearing about Kavanaugh’s nomination. He also again dismissed having the FBI investigate the allegations.

In a statement issued Wednesday evening, Ford’s attorney Lisa Banks said, “The rush to a hearing is unnecessary and contrary to the Committee discovering the truth.” Banks also said a hearing with “just two witnesses,” or Ford and Kavanaugh, is “not a fair or good faith investigation.”

…read more

Source:: Newsy Headlines

Jeanine Pirro: “They want to accuse him of putting his hand over her mouth, of attempted rape, as if they know what that is”

JEANINE PIRRO: Number one, what in Brett Kavanaugh’s background suggests in any way shape or form he disrespects women? What in his background for the women that work for him, dated him, went to school for him, none of this has ever shown up and they want to accuse him of putting his hand over her mouth, of attempted rape, as if they know what that is. We are not even close to that in terms of the facts that are alleged.

Previously:

Tucker Carlson blames Democrats for death threats made toward Christine Blasey Ford

Fox host: Christine Blasey Ford is not “doing things in a way that people would do if she was a true victim”

Wash. Post reporter: Kavanaugh friend Mark Judge is the kind of person you might describe as a men’s rights activist

…read more

Source:: Media Matters for America