Ai found evidence that a relatively small cluster of accounts – and a broader group of accounts that amplify them – drove a disproportionate amount of the Twitter conversation about the four candidates over a recent 30-day period.
Ai identified a cohort of roughly 200 accounts – including both unwitting real accounts and other “Suspicious” and automated accounts that coordinate to spread their messages – that pumped out negative or extreme themes designed to damage the candidates.
Over a recent 30-day period, between 2 percent and 15 percent of all Twitter mentions of the four candidates emanated in some way from within that cluster of accounts, according to the Guardians.
“We can conclusively state that a large group of suspicious accounts that were active in one of the largest influence operations of the 2018 cycle is now engaged in sustained and ongoing activity for the 2020 cycle,” Horvath said.
The Twitter profile of the user where it originated indicates the account was created in May 2018, but it had authored just one tweet since then – in January, when the account announced it had breaking news about the former Texas congressman leaving a message using racist language on an answering machine in the 1990s.
The new activity centers on a refined group of core accounts – the very same accounts that surfaced in the group’s 2018 voter fraud study.
Ai findings, last year the company reported challenging millions of suspect accounts every month, including those exhibiting “Spammy and automated behavior.” After attempts to authenticate the accounts through email or by phone, Twitter suspended 75 percent of the accounts it challenged from January to June 2018.
Earlier efforts included releasing data sets of potential foreign information operations that have appeared on Twitter, which were composed of 3,841 accounts affiliated with the IRA, that originated in Russia, and 770 other accounts that potentially originated in Iran.
The orginal article.
President Trump has benefited enormously from the frog-in-hot-water nature of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into his campaign and possible overlap with Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election.
America has been waiting for Mueller to present a document that ties all of this together – eager, in part, for evidence proving the president’s guilt, or exonerating him, on charges that he and his campaign worked with the Russians.
As people have awaited the outcome, the slow accretion of malfeasance that Mueller has already uncovered has faded into background noise.
There’s a lot that Mueller knows and which we don’t, certainly.
Last December, journalist Marcy Wheeler responded to questions about what Mueller would ultimately present at the end of his probe by making the point above: So much of what he has found is already out there.
Former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos lied about his contacts with Russians while serving on the campaign.
Trump adviser Roger Stone lied about his interactions with people as he sought out a back channel to WikiLeaks – which was in the process of releasing documents allegedly stolen by the Russian nationals working for the country’s military intelligence agency, the GRU. The Mueller report that is sitting in plain sight above does not show that Trump himself actively conspired with Russian actors to influence the election.
Mueller’s report is, to some significant degree, already out.
The orginal article.
AUSTIN, Texas-With rain hammering outside, Zack Malitz stood in a warehouse space lit by strands of bistro lights and began to reveal the campaign strategy of Beto O’Rourke in exacting detail.
Is the Beto for Senate campaign a blueprint for how a Democrat-including perhaps O’Rourke himself-ought to run nationally in 2020? Or is it a cautionary tale in the limits of mobilization?
The digital director of Sanders’ Texas effort was Malitz, and as Beto O’Rourke’s campaign took shape, Bond suggested to Wysong that he was the right person to translate and update its lessons to a Senate race.
For the duration of the campaign, O’Rourke operated with an unusual two-headed structure: the Austin-based Wysong oversaw field and voter-contact operations, while campaign manager Jody Casey, also a political neophyte, worked in El Paso, handling functions like advance and communications more closely tied to the candidate.
Starting in mid-December, the campaign’s small field staff of seven organizers started calling through its list of supporters, inviting them to come together in person for the first time to watch Beto himself greet them on video livestream.
As it grew, the Beto for Senate field program regularly turned to methods that most campaign tacticians would find aimless.
The Beto for Senate office was tucked into a small room just around the corner from the bar, outfitted with technology provided by the campaign: a slew of Chromebooks, cheap cellphones, a pair of printers.
Malitz wrote down the address of the campaign headquarters in North Austin, and she promised to be there the next morning for a training at 9 a.m. When that hour arrived, Malitz and Sufrin were rallying colleagues for the brief trip to Austin Community College, the early-voting location closest to the campaign headquarters.
The orginal article.
Your phone and TV are tracking you, and political campaigns are listening in – Los Angeles Times.
Welcome to the new frontier of campaign tech – a loosely regulated world in which simply downloading a weather app or game, connecting to Wi-Fi at a coffee shop or powering up a home router can allow a data broker to monitor your movements with ease, then compile the location information and sell it to a political candidate who can use it to surround you with messages.
As a result, if you have been to a political rally, a town hall, or just fit a demographic a campaign is after, chances are good your movements are being tracked with unnerving accuracy by data vendors on the payroll of campaigns.
The RealOptions case turned out to be a harbinger for a new generation of political campaigning built around tracking and monitoring even the most private moments of people’s lives.
Just as the antiabortion organizations did around clinics, political campaigns large and small are building “Geo-fences” around locations from which they can fetch the unique identifying information of the smartphones of nearly everyone who attended an event.
“I don’t think a lot of people are aware their location data is being sent to whomever,” said Justin Croxton, a managing partner at Propellant Media, an Atlanta-area digital firm that works with political campaigns.
Which political campaigns and other clients receive all that tracking information can’t be traced.
Serge Egelman, research director of the Usable Security & Privacy Group at UC Berkeley’s International Computer Science Institute, said his team can unearth which opaque data brokerages are amassing information, but not which political campaigns or interest groups buy it from them.
The orginal article.
In a friend’s dining room in central Los Angeles, 27 hours before she will announce she’s running for president of the United States, I ask self-help author and motivational speaker Marianne Williamson to perform a miracle.
I didn’t know Williamson has advised Oprah Winfrey since the mid-’90s, when Winfrey reached out to Williamson for help getting over a “Betrayal,” the specifics of which, Winfrey admitted on a 2018 episode of her podcast “Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations,” she no longer recalls.
Lo, Marianne Williamson has delivered a surprisingly harsh miracle: For the first time since November 2016, I’m embarrassed enough to stop feeling sorry for myself about the state of America.
Like Trump, Williamson chafes at a traditional campaign strategy and relies on her daughter, whom she brought on as an “Executive team member,” Williamson says.
As Williamson sees it, if Kamala Harris or Cory Booker or Elizabeth Warren is elected, or any of the “1,736 people who are running so far” – a joke Williamson makes approximately 1,736 times during our week together – you’re not treating the cause of our country’s disease.
So why can’t Williamson act as physician in a more modest office than president of the United States? “Any lower office than the presidency is primarily a management function,” Williamson tells me.
Friedman says, “Her spirituality is actually not a liability. [It’s] a significant opportunity for Marianne to connect with people on a plane that’s different than the political. [And] there is no knowledge gap whatsoever between Marianne and the candidates.” In office, Friedman says, Williamson would mitigate a lack of government experience the same way the similarly unproven Bloomberg did when he was elected mayor of New York in 2001, by hiring “Smart people with experience in government.”
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly quoted Marianne Williamson.
The orginal article.
An adviser there referred him to Psy-Group, an Israeli private intelligence company.
In Amsterdam, the firm prepared a report on a religious sect called the Brunstad Christian Church, whose Norwegian leader, Psy-Group noted, claimed to have written “a more important book than the New Testament.” In Gabon, Psy-Group pitched “Operation Bentley”-an effort to “Preserve” President Ali Bongo Ondimba’s hold on power by collecting and disseminating intelligence about his main political rival.
In another project, targeting the South African billionaire heirs of an apartheid-era skin-lightening company, Psy-Group secretly recorded family members of the heirs describing them as greedy and, in one case, as a “Piece of shit.” In New York, Psy-Group mounted a campaign on behalf of wealthy Jewish-American donors to embarrass and intimidate activists on American college campuses who support a movement to put economic pressure on Israel because of its treatment of the Palestinians.
For particularly sensitive operations, Psy-Group created fake front companies and avatars who purported to work there, and then hired real outside contractors who weren’t told that they were doing the bidding of Psy-Group’s clients.
Benzeevi had already received a draft of Psy-Group’s battle plan, contained in an e-mail that was password-protected and marked “PRIVILEGED & CONFIDENTIAL.” The proposal assured Benzeevi that Psy-Group’s activities would be “Fully disconnected” from him and his hospital-management company.
A former company employee said that Benzeevi “Appeared to like the idea that someone from Mossad would be on his side.” Before Benzeevi flew back to California, he was given the number of a bank account where he could wire Psy-Group the fee for the Tulare campaign-two hundred and thirty thousand dollars.
Psy-Group’s post-election push into the U.S. market included a cocktail reception on March 1, 2017, at the Old Ebbitt Grill, near the White House, “In celebration of our new D.C. office.” The next day, an article in Politico briefly mentioned the gathering and described Psy-Group as a multinational company with “Offices in London, Hong Kong and Cyprus.” There was no mention of Israel; Burstien thought it would be better for business to play down the Israel angle.
“From a free-market point of view, it’s scary,” a former Psy-Group official said, adding that the list of possible applications for avatars was “Endless.” Another veteran of Israeli private intelligence warned, “We are looking at the tip of the iceberg in terms of where this can go.” .
The orginal article.
Kamala Harris was born in 1964, in Oakland, California, to young, married international graduate students.
“My elementary school class,” at Thousand Oaks Elementary School, “Was only the second class in my city to be desegregated through busing,” Harris writes in her new book, “The Truths We Hold.” Like Barack Obama, who is three years older than Harris and who entered politics around the same time, Harris was often described, in her early career, as having a background that operates as a kind of universal passport.
In a profile of Harris that was published in 2007, in San Francisco magazine, the journalist Nina Martin wrote, “One of Harris’s Nob Hill friends thinks her Brahmin background accounts for her ease around wealthy, powerful people. ‘A lot of people think,”Those people are too rich for me, I can’t be part of their world-they’re out of my fucking league,” ‘ this friend says, adding that Harris never seemed to feel like she didn’t belong.
Her campaign has had a promising start: the day after the announcement, it had already raised $1.5 million in donations, and, last Wednesday evening, Rachel Maddow concluded an interview with Harris by saying, “Honestly, I think there is a good chance that you are going to win the nomination.” On Sunday, Harris held a kick-off rally in downtown Oakland, drawing a crowd of twenty thousand people.
The phrase “No false choices” recurs throughout the book; at one point, Harris describes it as a mantra.
The first attack that Harris faced in her Presidential campaign came from the left, over her record as a prosecutor.
Buses filled with a hundred and forty undocumented people were stopped on their way to a migrant-processing center by a crowd shouting, as Harris recalls it, “Nobody wants you!” and “Turn around and go back home!” Harris writes, “There were children inside the buses, looking out the windows at faces filled with hate and vitriol.” In stories like this, Barack Obama would insert a signature gesture: consider the experience of the anti-immigrant protester, he would say, before explaining why that protester was misguided.
“Let’s not put people in a box.” An adviser told The Atlantic’s Edward-Isaac Dovere, “It’s not going to be hope and change. It’s going to be truth and justice.” Harris is not exactly a centrist, as the Times described her.
The orginal article.
Thanks to an army of data crunchers who marry that information with data you drop at a clothing or automobile site, many candidates often have intimate knowledge of who you are and whether you’re likely to support them.
Facebook’s data scandal involving consultancy Cambridge Analytica shed light on how companies can take personal information we give away and transform it into highly effective targeted ads.
While you may be aware your data is being used, you might not know the full extent of the process.
So we dug in to find out how data goes from your voter registration form to data brokers and back to you in the form of a political ad.Voter data in America.
The rules differ when it comes to uses of voter data for purposes other than elections.
The Federal Trade Commission, the US government’s consumer watchdog, produced a report on data brokers in 2014 and recommended that Congress require greater transparency from the data industry.
A RoboCent spokesperson told CNET in July that the company partners with data firms NationBuilder, Aristotle and i360 for voter data.
“The very politicians who fight for consumer data are also using it and not responsible for [where] that data goes to after campaigns,” said Kim Alexander, founder and president of California Voter Foundation.
The orginal article.
McCaskill expected a relatively easy race against the Republican nominee, Matt Blunt, Missouri’s thirty-four-year-old secretary of state.
Temple remembers getting a voice-mail message from McCaskill late on Election Night, saying, “Roy, I just got my ass kicked. Come work for me.” She told me that she was devastated by the defeat: “I drank too much red wine and ate too many cookies for months.” McCaskill concluded that she had made a catastrophic mistake in assuming that she could win by running up big margins in St. Louis and Kansas City and ceding rural Missouri to the Republican candidate.
A few months later, during a nationally televised debate on “Meet the Press” between McCaskill and Jim Talent, Tim Russert asked McCaskill whether she thought Bill Clinton had been a great President.
Early in McCaskill’s time in the Senate, Clinton took her to lunch in the Senate dining room and told her that she’d heard McCaskill was considering endorsing Obama in 2008.
Last year, unlike most other Democrats from deep-red states, McCaskill voted against the Supreme Court nomination of Neil Gorsuch, but explained her vote carefully.
Tall and thin, wearing his campaign uniform-a dress shirt, bluejeans, a belt with a big buckle, and cowboy boots-he launched into a screed about how McCaskill was threatening the American way of life: “Are we going to be able to keep terrorists out of the country? Are we going to preserve our Second Amendment rights? Claire McCaskill was for every one of Barack Obama’s liberal, far-left Supreme Court nominees. She supported judges who want to keep sanctuary cities. I think we need a U.S. senator who will secure our borders. We’re going to build that wall!” He paused, and shifted to a reverential tone.
McCaskill is trying to upend the cultural polarity of the 2016 Presidential campaign.
Just about the only time I ever saw McCaskill appear flustered was at a town-hall meeting in Kansas City, when a man got up and said that McCaskill had promised to meet with him to discuss a problem he was having, but when he’d contacted her office nobody had returned the call.
The orginal article.
In recent months, some reporters who cover the Trump White House have received phone calls from the last person they would expect: Hillary Clinton.
On the other hand, some Democrats say, why should the woman who won the popular vote in 2016-62,523,126 votes, to be precise, the biggest number of votes in history with the exception of President Barack Obama-be silenced at a time of great public discourse? Why is it only Hillary Clinton, not Joe Biden or John Kerry or even Bernie Sanders, for that matter, who is seen as so tarnished by a presidential loss that she must sit silent on the sidelines?
“I don’t see all these Democratic candidates banging down Hillary Clinton’s door, asking her to lock arms,” Kellyanne Conway said in an interview with “Fox & Friends” earlier this month.
On election night, Hillary and Bill Clinton both called the Tallahassee mayor, who is seen as a rising star in the Democratic Party and who spoke at the Democratic National Convention in 2016, to congratulate him and offer themselves as surrogates for anything he needed in his gubernatorial campaign, a source familiar with the call said.
The campaign experienced some blowback from liberals for announcing that Hillary Clinton would campaign for Gillum.
At Queens University in Belfast Northern Ireland, where she recently received an honorary degree, the school has set up a scholarship program called the Hillary Rodham Clinton Award for Peace and Reconciliation.
“Not only is she running, she should run. In the Democratic Party, the question is can anybody throw a punch or take a punch, and one thing we know about Hillary Clinton is she can take a punch.”
“It’s curious why Hillary Clinton’s name isn’t in the mix-either conversationally or in formal polling-as a 2020 candidate,” said Philippe Reines, her longtime gatekeeper in the Senate and at the State Department.
The orginal article.