Wij willen met u aan tafel zitten en in een openhartig gesprek uitvinden welke uitdagingen en vragen er bij u spelen om zo, gezamelijk, tot een beste oplossing te komen.
Oftewel, hoe kan de techniek u ondersteunen in plaats van dat u de techniek moet ondersteunen.
Donald Trump this week signed an extension of last year’s national emergency declaration aimed at barring commercial trade with certain foreign telecom companies. The extension comes nearly a year to the day after the first order, this time extending things through May of 2021.
Per the original language, the order invokes the International Emergency Economic Powers Act to “deal with the threat posed by the unrestricted acquisition or use in the United States of information and communications technology… supplied by persons owned by, controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction or direction of foreign adversaries.”
Specifically, it’s aimed at Chinese companies like Huawei and ZTE, against which the administration has levied all manner of national security complaints. Chief among them are accusations of government-tied spying and violations of sanctions against countries like North Korea and Iran.
Huawei has been especially hard hit, as the ban restricts the manufacturer’s use of Google app — a massive blow to its software ecosystem. Numbers from analyst firm Canalys earlier this month note than the company’s shipments have declined by 35% in markets outside of its native China. It’s true that the market was already on rocky ground for all manufacturers even before the COVID-19 pandemic, but Huawei’s plummet is four times that of Apple’s in non-China markets, per the firm.
The company has been working on its own in-house alternatives to key Google apps. In the meantime, however, Huawei is going to have to rely on sales of older devices, while shipping new flagships without the necessary apps.
The Trump administration has banned U.S. federal agencies from buying equipment and obtaining services from Huawei and two other companies as part of the government’s latest crackdown on Chinese technology amid national security fears.
Jacob Wood, a spokesperson for the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, was quoted as saying that the administration will “fully comply” with the legislation passed by Congress as part of a defense spending bill passed last year.
The new rule will take effect in a week — August 13 — and will also take aim at Chinese tech giants ZTE, Hytera, and Hikvision, amid fears that the companies could spy for the Chinese government. The rule comes in a year before Congress’ mandated deadline of August 2020 for all federal contractors doing business with Huawei, ZTE, Hytera and Hikvision.
The government will grant waivers to contractors on a case-by-case basis so long as their work does not pose a national security threat.
Huawei has long claimed it does not nor can it spy for the Chinese government. Critics, including the government and many lawmakers, say the company’s technology, primarily networking equipment like 5G cell stations, could put Americans’ data at risk of Chinese surveillance or espionage. Huawei has vigorously denied the allegations, despite findings from the U.K. government that gave a damning assessment of the technology’s security.
The company first came to focus in 2012 following a House inquiry, which labeled the company a national security threat.
Spokespeople for Huawei and ZTE did not respond to requests for comment.
It’s perhaps not for nothing that The Great Hack – the new Netflix documentary about the connections between Cambridge Analytica, the US election and Brexit, out on July 23 – opens with a scene from Burning Man. There, Brittany Kaiser, a former employee of Cambridge Analytica, scrawls the name of the company onto a strut of ‘the temple’ that will eventually get burned in that fiery annual ritual. It’s an apt opening.
There are probably many of us who’d wish quite a lot of the last couple of years could be thrown into that temple fire, but this documentary is the first I’ve seen to expertly unpick what has become the real-world dumpster fire that is social media, dark advertising and global politics which have all become inextricably, and, often fatally, combined.
The documentary is also the first that you could plausibly recommend those of your relatives and friends who don’t work in tech, as it explains how social media – specifically Facebook – is now manipulating our lives and society, whether we like it or not.
As New York Professor David Carroll puts it at the beginning, Facebook gives “any buyer direct access to my emotional pulse” – and that included political campaigns during the Brexit referendum and the Trump election. Privacy campaigner Carroll is pivotal to the film’s story of how our data is being manipulated and essentially kept from us by Facebook.
The UK’s referendum decision to leave the European Union, in fact, became “the petri dish” for a Cambridge Analytica experiment, says Guardian journalist Carole Cadwalladr She broke the story of how the political consultancy, led by Eton-educated CEO Alexander Nix, applied techniques normally used by ‘psyops’ operatives in Afghanistan to the democratic operations of the US and UK, and many other countries, over a chilling 20+ year history. Watching this film, you literally start to wonder if history has been warped towards a sickening dystopia.
The petri-dish of Brexit worked. Millions of adverts, explains the documentary, targeted individuals, exploiting fear and anger, to switch them from ‘persuadables’, as CA called them, into passionate advocates for, first Brexit in the UK, and then Trump later on.
Switching to the US, the filmmakers show how CA worked directly with Trump’s “Project Alamo” campaign, spending a million dollars a day on Facebook ads ahead of the 2016 election.
The film expertly explains the timeline of how CA had first worked off Ted Cruz’s campaign, and nearly propelled that lack-luster candidate into first place in the Republican nominations. It was then that the Trump campaign picked up on CA’s military-like operation.
After loading up the psychographic survey information CA had obtained from Aleksandr Kogan, the Cambridge University academic who orchestrated the harvesting of Facebook data, the world had become their oyster. Or, perhaps more accurately, their oyster farm.
Back in London, Cadwalladr notices triumphant Brexit campaigners fraternizing with Trump and starts digging. There is a thread connecting them to Breitbart owner Steve Bannon. There is a thread connecting them to Cambridge Analytica. She tugs on those threads and, like that iconic scene in ‘The Hurt Locker’ where all the threads pull-up unexploded mines, she starts to realize that Cambridge Analytica links them all. She needs a source though. That came in the form of former employee Chris Wylie, a brave young man who was able to unravel many of the CA threads.
But the film’s attention is often drawn back to Kaiser, who had worked first on US political campaigns and then on Brexit for CA. She had been drawn to the company by smooth-talking CEO Nix, who begged: “Let me get you drunk and steal all of your secrets.”
But was she a real whistleblower? Or was she trying to cover her tracks? How could someone who’d worked on the Obama campaign switch to Trump? Was she a victim of Cambridge Analytica, or one of its villains?
British political analyst Paul Hilder manages to get her to come to the UK to testify before a parliamentary inquiry. There is high drama as her part in the story unfolds.
Kaiser appears in various guises which vary from idealistically naive to stupid, from knowing to manipulative. It’s almost impossible to know which. But hearing about her revelation as to why she made the choices she did… well, it’s an eye-opener.
Both she and Wylie have complex stories in this tale, where not everything seems to be as it is, reflecting our new world, where truth is increasingly hard to determine.
Other characters come and go in this story. Zuckerburg makes an appearance in Congress and we learn of the casual relationship Facebook had to its complicity in these political earthquakes. Although if you’re reading TechCrunch, then you will probably know at least part of this story.
Created for Netflix by Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer, these Egyptian-Americans made “The Square”, about the Egyptian revolution of 2011. To them, the way Cambridge Analytica applied its methods to online campaigning was just as much a revolution as Egyptians toppling a dictator from Cario’s iconic Tahrir Square.
For them, the huge irony is that “psyops”, or psychological operations used on Muslim populations in Iraq and Afghanistan after the 9/11 terrorist attacks ended up being used to influence Western elections.
Cadwalladr stands head and shoulders above all as a bastion of dogged journalism, even as she is attacked from all quarters, and still is to this day.
What you won’t find out from this film is what happens next. For many, questions remain on the table: What will happen now Facebook is entering Cryptocurrency? Will that mean it could be used for dark election campaigning? Will people be paid for their votes next time, not just in Likes? Kaiser has a bitcoin logo on the back of her phone. Is that connected? The film doesn’t comment.
But it certainly unfolds like a slow-motion car crash, where democracy is the car and you’re inside it.