Author Archives: AirGap Anonymity Collective

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AirGap Anonymity Collective

Profile of “genius” Parscale, who “won” for Trump & the Facebook political influence juggernaut

Parscale — and every political consultant in a similar situation — is doing this interview to build his business. The introduction of sophisticated digital tools to the process of electing candidates has resulted in a bumper crop of people claiming that they have mastered this inscrutable system and that you should hire them.

Fleshed out, Parscale is the man behind the Trump campaign’s digital media efforts in 2016. He was hired to create a website for $1,500 (as he explained in that “60 Minutes” interview) and then his role expanded until he was managing tens of millions of dollars intended to promote the presidential candidate online.

The point of the interview was, in part, to serve as a profile of Parscale but, more broadly, to explain the primary way in which those millions were spent. Per Parscale’s accounting, that was largely on Facebook advertising. Trump’s team advertised on other platforms, too, but “Facebook was the 500-pound gorilla, 80 percent of the budget kind of thing,” Parscale said.

If you do a search for Brad Parscale’s appearance on “60 Minutes,” the first thing that pops up above the results as of Monday morning is an ad for Brad Parscale. And that, in a nutshell, is Brad Parscale.

Right after the campaign, it was the firm Cambridge Analytica that was making this case, arguing that its black-box analysis of the psychology of American voters allowed Trump to target specific sorts of people with ads that dug deep into their brains to trigger a response. The company (owned in part by the family of Robert Mercer, which was in other ways essential to Trump’s success) wanted to convince future candidates that they could work their magic to get them elected, too.

To “60 Minutes,” Parscale dismissed that claim — in part because he was in the midst of claiming that he was the one with the magic touch. He didn’t think Cambridge Analytica’s system of creating “psychographic” profiles of people was sinister, he said — he just didn’t think it worked.

Which is a simply bizarre claim in the broader context. It isn’t that Parscale doesn’t think that building profiles of people to target ads to them doesn’t work. It’s that Parscale doesn’t seem to realize that this is basically what Facebook was doing for him, in real-time.

By its very nature, Facebook does a more complete and more robust version of what Cambridge Analytica claims to accomplish. In 2014, we explained how Facebook’s political tools work, how it combines data about what you’ve clicked with outside consumer data to get as complete a picture of who you are and what you like as anything that exists. But then it overlays the ability to advertise specific things to specific people — and to test and refine and improve on those ads.

This is what Parscale was describing to “60 Minutes” — not his genius, but Facebook’s. He shows the nifty tricks that you can do with Facebook, A/B testing (as the process is known) different versions of ads with different photos and ads that allow the most effective to quickly rise to the surface. He clearly used all of those secret buttons, clicks and technology that he sought, leveraging Facebook’s deep sense of its individual users and tools to target them. Stepping back, Parscale comes off like the guy who hires LeBron James to play on his team in a 3-on-3 basketball tournament and then brags about his capable coaching. He’s an ad buyer, who lets the platform — say, on Google, when you search for his name — do the work.

The takeaway from the “60 Minutes” interview is simple. Facebook is a juggernaut that’s probably more influential in politics than it realizes itself. (See this New York magazine article to that end.)

Parscale says that his wife likes to say that “[he] was thrown into the Super Bowl, never played a game and won.” Right. It’s just that, in that example, he’s neither Tom Brady nor Bill Belichick. At best, he’s the guy who decided to hire them.

Full story ‘60 Minutes’ profiles the genius who won Trump’s campaign: Facebook https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2017/10/09/60-minutes-profiles-the-genius-who-won-trumps-campaign-facebook/?utm_term=.5c686f2463e8

Focus on Kaspersky hides facts of another NSA contractor theft

The Wall Street Journal based their story on the fact that another NSA contractor took classified documents home with him. Yet another Russian intelligence operation stole copies of those documents. The twist this time is that the Russians identified the documents because the contractor had Kaspersky Labs anti-virus installed on his home computer.

This is either an example of the Russians subverting a perfectly reasonable security feature in Kaspersky’s products, or Kaspersky adding a plausible feature at the request of Russian intelligence. In the latter case, it’s a nicely deniable Russian information operation. In either case, it’s an impressive Russian information operation.

This is a huge deal, both for the NSA and Kaspersky. The Wall Street Journal article contains no evidence, only unnamed sources. But I am having trouble seeing how the already embattled Kaspersky Labs survives this.

What’s getting a lot less press is yet another NSA contractor stealing top-secret cyberattack software. What is it with the NSA’s inability to keep anything secret anymore?

And it seems that Israeli intelligence penetrated the Kaspersky network and noticed the operation.

Full story on CRYPTO-GRAM October 15, 2017 by Bruce Schneier CTO, IBM Resilient schneier@schneier.com https://www.schneier.com

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Art For Action – Call for Pledges of Donations of Photography and Prints

Hello Everyone,

In preparation for our launch this December (31st) Art for Action (Twitter: @Art4Homeless) are calling for pledges of donations from artists and photographers.

It has been a pretty hectic process getting everything set up to support the charity and to ensure that we comply with the various regulations and to guarantee transparency for everyone involved.

Worthy of note before we say anything else is that all of the proceeds from the sale of donated art and photography will go to homeless charities in Ireland and the United Kingdom.

There will be no fees, no administration charges, no hidden this, that, and the other levied by Art for Action. All staff provide their services on a voluntary basis. Our founder is providing for the cost of all setup and ongoing costs. Some third party costs will be incurred in terms of payment processing fees and auction site fees and these will be paid from the purchase price of each piece – as is the norm – but that is it.

When the website launches there will be an entire section devoted to how Art for Action conducts its affairs and the accounts of the charity will be available for inspection by any member of the public – on request – without cost.

Call for Pledges of Donations – Artists, Photographers, Photojournalists

There are three ways to pledge:

1. Donate a digital version of your print to Art For Action and explicitly consent in writing that Art for Action have been granted the right to promote and resell the print and also specify the number of prints Art for Action can sell of this print, or specify unlimited;

2. Donate a printed version which the artist or photographer or photojournalist sends to our offices for resale;

3. Donate a printed, mounted, and framed version which is sent to our offices for resale;

All of the above choices are at the complete the discretion of the person donating their work. In each case the following information is also required:

  1. Title of the piece and description;
  2. A sample watermarked digital version of the piece (if applicable);
  3. A suggested guide price;
  4. Please email all details of donations (1-3 above) to Art4Action@intelography.com.

We are very grateful for your assistance and we look forward to publishing success stories throughout the coming years while improving the plight of the many people suffering from the effects of homelessness.

Thank you.

Mining for Tickets – Touts & Ticket Stealing Bots

My Face Value is preparing for launch on 31st December 2017. To keep up to date with the latest news follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Automated ticket mining bots can get around security measures designed to limit ticket purchases. These bots can hoover up hundreds of tickets within seconds of their release. The tickets then almost immediately appear at vastly inflated prices on resale websites.

In early 2017 Viagogo a secondary ticketing website was accused of “moral repugnance” for reselling tickets to an Ed Sheeran cancer charity gig for up to £5,000. An £85 seat to see Adele at the London O2 in 2016 was reportedly being sold online for £24,840.

The use of bots will soon become a criminal offence as part of a crackdown on resale websites. Touts who use bots to mine for concert tickets before selling them for massive profits – and blocking fans from seeing their favourite artists – will also face unlimited fines.

Ticketing firms must introduce tougher anti-bot measures and stronger enforcement of consumer rights laws. Presently, too much lip service is paid to the problem without any real steps being taken to combat it. 

Sources

  • Sky News
  • Sky Sports News

ENDS

Ticket Resellers, “Legal” Domestic Touts, Illegal Offshore Touts

My Face Value is preparing for launch on 31st December 2017. To keep up to date with the latest news follow us on Facebook and Twitter

It is important that fans understand that there are different types of secondary ticket companies. Some of these outfits have no affiliation with associations, football clubs, or supporters clubs and are often based offshore so that they are not subject to UK law.

The general resale of football tickets in the UK was banned in 1994 because of safety fears over the possibility of rival fans mingling together. Only outlets officially authorised by clubs can offer unwanted seats. But tickets are not always sold at face value on these websites even though they are authorised by a club to act as an authorised ticket reseller. Other clubs do have deals with resellers where tickets cannot be sold for more than face value.

But overseas firms can avoid UK consumer law and the Society of Ticket Agents & Retailers warns the online trade allows unscrupulous firms to “dupe unsuspecting ticket buyers”.

Under UK law, tickets advertised must include the cost and location of seats in the stadium. But during the course of 5 live Investigates research they found many examples where this did not happen or the tickets arrived late. The investigation also found that Premier League tickets with a face value of £23 were being be resold for as much as £130 each.

In a bid to clamp down on illegal trading clubs commenced seizing tickets in recent years.

Ticketbis

One firm, Ticketbis, was found to have distributed season tickets and it was also claimed it was reselling tickets associated with people already banned from a stadium. When asked to respond to the allegations, Ticketbis, which is based in Spain, said it is a “secure online platform that works as an intermediary between individuals that want to buy and sell tickets in 40 countries”. The company did not comment on the illegal sale of football tickets.

Acknowledgements & Sources

  • Alistair Magowan, Journalist (Article dated 22nd February 2016)
  • BBC Sport
  • Sky Sport
  • BBC 5 Live Investigates

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“The Last Official Buyer Will Be The Only Person Allowed Gain Entry” Rule

My Face Value is preparing for launch on 31st December 2017. To keep up to date with the latest news follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Recently a My Face Value community member asked our customer service team the following question:

“I got scammed today. Sold my ticket to a “mate” he said it was for his girlfriend. I ordered a paper ticket for her to pick up from the ticket office. It got touted for nearly double FV. How will My Face Value be able to stop this from happening?”

The community member asked that their identity not be disclosed but below is what we replied and how My Face Value propose to fight this problem:

We are very sorry to hear that. Its an endemic problem though and not surprising but as you say the “mate” was in quotes. Like all change this will be a gradual process however My Face Value have very specific offers to make to the football clubs with respect to managing the ticketing process and the enforcement of “the ‘last’ official buyer will be the only person allowed to gain entry rule”.

The Interim Solution 

Before the introduction of enforcement measures to ensure that “the ‘last’ official buyer will be the only person allowed to gain entry rule” we have implemented a process of “good standing” in the My Face Value community. While in the interim this will not stop the phenomenon that you describe – it will only allow a “tout” to do it once on our platform.

In parallel with this we have also developed a sophisticated process for “Tout Detection” which is covered briefly in this blog post to prevent the problem from occurring at all – not even once – but in reality one will always slip through from time to time and in those cases we will protect the community from a reoccurrence.

Keeping The My Face Value Community Tout Free 

My Face Value community members (hereafter “CM’s”) are uniquely identified by a combination of their email address and their phone number.

My Face Value CM’s have a “Good Standing” rating based on their activity on site, their BUY / SELL / SWAP order history and performance against other key criteria including pattern matching and algorithms to detect suspicious behaviour. The possible movement of CM’s between states are:

  1. Registered Inactive (No transactions completed);
  2. Registered Active (1 or more transactions completed);
  3. Active Suspended (Pending Appeal) – Marked as engaged in suspicious activity based on profiling and pattern matching and/or reports by other community members;
  4. Banned (Banned for Life) – Appeal denied.

Proposal To Football Clubs For Ticketing Enforcement & Control

In parallel with this My Face Value have developed technology and processes to implement rigorous enforcement and control of “the ‘last’ official buyer will be the only person allowed to gain entry rule” at the turnstiles as follows:

  1. Currently, season ticket holders Terms & Conditions necessitate that unused tickets are returned to the Club if not used and if the holder wishes to have them re-allocated;
  2. In cases where this is not done then the phenomenon that you describe is always possible because of a lack of “Enforcement & Control”.

In partnership with the football clubs My Face Value propose to combat the problem as follows:

  1. When a ticket is sold or swapped in the My Face Value community we will ultimately be seeking permission from the clubs to allocate a NEW ticket;
  2. The re-issued My Face Value ticket will be a mirror image of the original ticket with one significant difference – it will contain information unique to the My Face Value purchaser / swapper – namely an embedded photo, watermarking and a bar code;
  3. In the short term a visual inspection will verify that the person seeking to gain entry is the My Face Value purchaser / swapper;
  4. In the mid term this visual inspection will be augmented with a process where a scanner (which My Face Value will issue to the Clubs) will ensure with 100% certainty that the person seeking entry is the My Face Value purchaser / swapper and that the ticket is not a forgery;
  5. In the event that a “tout” or “forgery” is detected at the turnstiles by our scanners then all associated parties with that ticket will be immediately and automatically placed in the “Active Suspended (Pending Appeal)” Good Standing status on the My Face Value platform;
  6. This process is hugely summarised here to avoid writing a 50 page reply but this is the essence of our approach.

We hope that this answers your question. If you need any further clarifications please email us at support@myfacevalue.co.uk and don’t give that “mate” of yours any more tickets!

ENDS

Appoint My Face Value As Your Official Ticketing & Marketing Agent

My Face Value is preparing for launch on 31st December 2017. To keep up to date with the latest news follow us on Facebook and Twitter. 

My Face Value is not just about giving face value access to the most popular or sold out events and challenging the touts, corporate resale cartels and vested interests. That is only one part of what My Face Value are doing.

All Clubs, not just those who are in the top tiers, have fans who are not locals. Visiting fans who wish to go to games because they are in town. But these fans have a number of barriers to acquiring tickets.

The Club may not offer an online option to purchase tickets for games. The Club ticket shop may only be open for specific and restrictive hours each week. But before even calling the ticket hotline or accessing the Club website the fan must acquire the relevant information.

It can often seem like just a little too much hassle and often times results in lost potential ticket sales.

Focus On Your Strengths

My Face Value are not offering Ticketing Software Solutions that Clubs need to implement or embed in their websites or require any in-house IT skills. Clubs are in the business of football not IT. But if you want us to do that too – then we can and we will.

With My Face Value you do not have to market your website – a tricky exercise and expensive – instead the Club benefits from My Face Value brand awareness and reach. Your ticketing and marketing space on My Face Value will contain all of your own Club branding.

The Go-To Location for Tickets with Killer Features

Some of the killer features that your Club will get with My Face Value Ticketing & Marketing are:

  • Support for Paper and Digital Tickets;
  • Payment Fraud Prevention and Counterfeit Detection & Prevention;
  • Fan Registrations with Opt-In Email;
  • Sell Club Merchandise;
  • Sell Gift Vouchers;
  • Notify fans of Discount Codes to Drive Ticket & Merchandise Sales;
  • Run Fundraisers, Promotions, Competitions & Giveaways;
  • Blog to your Club’s Fan Base;
  • Tracking Your Sales Performance and Benefit From Better Forecasting.

And it’s free with all of the costs picked up by the fan in the form of a small transaction charge. There are no setup fees either.

Your Official Ticketing & Marketing Agent (OTMA) 

Register your interest in appointing My Face Value as your Clubs Official Ticketing & Marketing Agent (OTMA) please email PROclubs@myfacevalue.co.uk & we will manage everything on your Clubs behalf .

ENDS