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A Good CV/Resume / Re: How to make an effective video CV
« on: April 08, 2018, 04:33:32 PM »
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What are we to make of the revelations published over the weekend, in the Observer and the Times, that Cambridge Analytica, the data-analytics and messaging company financed, in part, by the conservative billionaire Robert Mercer, used tens of millions of ill-gotten Facebook profiles to create algorithms aimed at “breaking” American democracy?

First, that these were not really revelations at all. Reporters from the Guardian, The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, Das Magazin, and the Intercept have been reporting these facts for years. We knew as early as December, 2015, for instance, that Facebook data obtained without users’ knowledge was being exploited by Cambridge Analytica on behalf of Senator Ted Cruz, who at that time was Mercer’s preferred candidate in the Republican Presidential primaries. Later, when the Mercer family, along with Steve Bannon, came to support Donald Trump, it was no secret that they brought with them Cambridge Analytica, a firm that boasted of being able to parse and influence the electorate through “psychographic” algorithms derived from that data. After Trump won, Alexander Nix, the head of Cambridge Analytica, crowed that the company’s psychographic algorithms had carried the day. (He later retracted that, then reaffirmed it.)

The millions of Facebook accounts in question—as the reporter Michael Schwartz pointed out last March—were mostly culled from the friend networks of people who clicked on a cute personality quiz on the site. A significant number of the initial test-takers, starting in around 2014, were paid freelancers recruited through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk marketplace by a British research company called GSR. They and others who took the quiz likely did not know that they were giving GSR permission to access their Facebook friends’ profiles. If Facebook officials were not aware of this at the time, when GSR sold this data to Cambridge Analytica, they certainly knew it by January, 2017, when the Swiss researchers Hannes Grassegger and Mikael Krogerus published “The Data That Turned the World Upside Down,” a detailed account of how C.A.’s psychological modelling was used by the Trump campaign. (The Guardian recently quoted a former Facebook employee in charge of data security explaining that he “always assumed there was something of a black market” for data obtained by third-party companies such as GSR, and that when he brought this up to his bosses he was discouraged from investigating too deeply. “Do you really want to see what you’ll find?” he says a Facebook executive told him.)


Consultants working for Donald Trump's presidential campaign exploited the personal Facebook data of millions.

That's the key message in March 17 stories by The New York Times and the UK's Guardian and Observer newspapers, as well as in statements from Facebook. The stories and statements indicate the social networking giant was duped by researchers, who reportedly gained access to the data of more than 50 million Facebook users, which was then misused for political ads during the 2016 US presidential election.

Until now, most of what you've heard about Facebook and the 2016 election has been focused on meddling by Russian operatives. Those efforts are being investigated by the FBI and the US Senate.

Data consultancy Cambridge Analytica represents a different problem. The UK-based company reportedly acquired data about millions of Facebook users in a way that violated the social network's policies. It then tapped that information to build psychographic profiles of users and their friends, which were utilized for targeted political ads in the UK's Brexit referendum campaign, as well as by Trump's team during the 2016 US election.

Facebook says it told Cambridge Analytica to delete the data, but also that reports suggest the info wasn't destroyed. Cambridge Analytica says it complies with the social network's rules, only receives data "obtained legally and fairly," and did wipe out the data Facebook is worried about.


Facebook is changing the way it shares data with third-party applications, Mark Zuckerberg announced Wednesday in his first public statement since the Observer reported that the personal data of about 50 million Americans had been harvested and improperly shared with a political consultancy.

The Facebook CEO broke his five-day silence on the scandal that has enveloped his company this week in a Facebook post acknowledging that the policies that allowed the misuse of data were “a breach of trust between Facebook and the people who share their data with us and expect us to protect it”.

Why have we given up our privacy to Facebook and other sites so willingly?
 Read more
“We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can’t then we don’t deserve to serve you,” Zuckerberg wrote. He noted that the company has already changed some of the rules that enabled the breach, but added: “We also made mistakes, there’s more to do, and we need to step up and do it”.

Facebook’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, shared Zuckerberg’s post and added her own comment: “We know that this was a major violation of peoples’ trust, and I deeply regret that we didn’t do enough to deal with it.”

Zuckerberg also spoke to a handful of media outlets on Wednesday, including a televised interview with CNN in which he apologized for the “breach of trust”, saying: “I’m really sorry that this happened.” In similar conversations with the New York Times, Wired, and tech website Recode, Zuckerberg expressed qualified openness to testifying before Congress and said that he was not entirely opposed to Facebook being subject to more regulations

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Faculty Sections / Re: How to Get PhD Funding
« on: December 23, 2017, 07:32:18 PM »
thank you for sharing this article

Teaching & Research Forum / Amazon Web Services
« on: December 23, 2017, 05:30:16 PM »
Amazon is big. In its last financial quarter, it sold $32bn (£25.6bn) worth of stuff worldwide, including $6bn of media, $10bn of sales outside North America, and $23bn of electronics “and other general merchandise”. That “other” category encompasses everything from crucifixes to sex toys, board games to plyboard, and mousemats printed with the faces of obscure TV and Radio personalities.

It has also diversified beyond its simple shopping business: the company will sell you something to be delivered in less than one hour, food from restaurants, and even digital content to be watched on your TV or listened to on your phone. And, of course, it has a hardware business which many other companies would kill for, producing ebook readers and tablets, and single-handedly creating the product category of “smart speaker” with the Echo.

But there’s another chunk of Amazon that you’re less likely to know about. It’s responsible for a full tenth of the company’s revenues, yet its “operating income” – the amount of money it leaves in Amazon’s coffers once expenses are accounted for – dwarfs any other sector, pulling in $861m compared to the $255m Amazon makes in North American sales and the $541m it loses internationally.

The division is Amazon Web Services, or AWS, the section of the company that sells cloud computing services to both the outside world and to Amazon itself. You can buy storage space to hold a huge database, bandwidth to host a website, or processing power to run complex software remotely. It lets companies and individuals avoid the hassle of buying and running their own hardware, while also letting them pay for only what they actually use.

It began as almost a point of principle for Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos, before evolving to become the single most profitable part of the entire company. Now, AWS is moving into the third stage of its life, providing the underpinning for Amazon’s own quest to dominate not just our shopping, but our homes themselves.

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