Critical Dharma for Thinking Minds
Christopher Wylie talks to the Guardian UK about his role in setting up Cambridge Analytica and its use of the data of 50 million Facebook users, which by many accounts is the data and propaganda tool that put Donald Trump in the White House.
“We risk fragmenting society in a way where we don’t have any more shared experiences, and we don’t have any more shared understanding. If we don’t have any shared understanding, how can we be a functioning society? . . . If you want to fundamentally change society, you first have to break it. It’s only when you break it that you can remold the pieces into your vision of a new society. This was the weapon that Steve Bannon wanted to built to fight his culture war.” — Chris Wylie
Although the company is under investigation in the US and Britain for its illegal use of data and breach of privacy laws, Axios reports that Cambridge Analytica, through its subsidiary SCL, currently has an open contract with the US State Department, now under the control of former head of the CIA, Mike Pompeo. (SCL is the business unit that actually conducts the research; Cambridge Analytica is basically a shell company that owns and markets the services of SCL.)
“SCL received a $500,000 contract for “target audience research” to help the State Department counter ISIS propaganda. It’s possible the group’s data harvesting methods will be as unpopular abroad as they have been in the U.S. The deal is between SCL and State’s Global Engagement Center. The Center was set up by the Obama administration in 2016 to fight ISIS’s online presence, and the deal with SCL was signed in early 2017.” —Axios, March 19, 2018
Just in case you think it’s only the Bad Guys who use the tools of culture wars, the State Dept. contract with Cambridge Analytica/SCL was set up and run by the Obama Administration.
Meanwhile, in China, Chairman for Life Xi Jinping has instituted what the Chinese call its ‘social credit system’. If a person has ‘bad social credit,’ for say, reusing an expired train ticket, the government could bar you from taking the train, airplane, and other transport. This is the first rollout of an all-encompassing ‘social credit system’ that would restrict people’s rights based on their ‘social credit score’ or ‘trustworthiness.’ In other words, totalitarianism by social media.
SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China said it will begin applying its so-called social credit system to flights and trains and stop people who have committed misdeeds from taking such transport for up to a year.
“People who would be put on the restricted lists included those found to have committed acts like spreading false information about terrorism and causing trouble on flights, as well as those who used expired tickets or smoked on trains, according to two statements issued on the National Development and Reform Commission’s website on
Those found to have committed financial wrongdoings, such as employers who failed to pay social insurance or people who have failed to pay fines, would also face these restrictions, said the statements which were dated March 2.
It added that the rules would come into effect on May 1.
The move is in line with President’s Xi Jinping’s plan to construct a social credit system based on the principle of “once untrustworthy, always restricted”, said one of the notices which was signed by eight ministries, including the country’s aviation regulator and the Supreme People’s Court. Friday.. —Reuters, March 16, 2018
China has flagged plans to roll out a system that will allow government bodies to share information on its citizens’ trustworthiness and issue penalties based on a so-called social credit score.
However, there are signs that the use of social credit scoring on domestic transport could have started years ago. In early 2017, the country’s Supreme People’s Court said during a press conference that 6.15 million Chinese citizens had been banned from taking flights for social misdeeds.
Reporting by SHANGHAI Newsroom and Brenda Goh; Editing by Kim Coghill
Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Now let’s connect the dots: Cambridge Analytica/SCL got control of data from 50 million Facebook users and used that data analysis to swing the 2016 election toward Donald Trump. SCL still has an open contract with the US State Department, begun under the Obama Administration, to ‘influence foreign actors’, in other words, to conduct culture wars abroad, and thus has the capacity to conduct culture wars and shape public opinion in the US. China is already using its own social media credit system to restrict the rights of its citizens and their access to basic services like public transportation. What does that add up to?