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Democracy Hacked: Political Turmoil and…
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Democracy Hacked: Political Turmoil and Information Warfare in the Digital… (edição 2018)

por Martin Moore (Autor)

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259728,158 (4.38)Nenhum(a)
In the space of one election cycle, authoritarian governments, moneyed elites and fringe hackers figured out how to game elections, bypass democratic processes, and turn social networks into battlefields. Facebook, Google and Twitter - where our politics now takes place - have lost control and are struggling to claw it back. Prepare for a new strain of democracy. A world of datafied citizens, real-time surveillance, enforced wellness and pre-crime. Where switching your mobile platform will have more impact on your life than switching your government. Where freedom and privacy are seen as incompatible with social wellbeing and compulsory transparency. As our lives migrate online, we have become increasingly vulnerable to digital platforms founded on selling your attention to the highest bidder. Our laws don't cover what is happening and our politicians don't understand it. But if we don't change the system now, we may not get another chance.… (mais)
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Título:Democracy Hacked: Political Turmoil and Information Warfare in the Digital Age
Autores:Martin Moore (Autor)
Informação:Oneworld Publications (2018), 336 pages
Colecções:A sua biblioteca
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Etiquetas:to-read

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Democracy Hacked: Political Turmoil and Information Warfare in the Digital Age por Martin Moore

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Mostrando 1-5 de 9 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
Esta crítica foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Críticos do LibraryThing.
Can our current system survive in the digital age? Not unless we get serious about addressing the threats that outside agents pose. There are those presently in power who wouldn't be where they are without the security gaps and they don't seem very inclined to take the danger seriously.
  5hrdrive | Dec 17, 2018 |
This is a well written book that provides background on how the digital age is, and has been, influenced and manipulated by the political sphere. However, the focus appears to be a bit left of center. If you feel that Republicans and Russians hacked the 2016 election, this book is for you. If you're looking to find an equally critical story on the Obama social media minions, this book will not fulfill - aside from a brief discussion on White House social media propaganda.

Overall, Moore offers an informing story that helps the reader understand how democracy has been hacked by the digital age, and who some of the main players are, both public and private. ( )
  henrycalphinjr | Nov 11, 2018 |
Esta crítica foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Críticos do LibraryThing.
I think this book should be must reading for everyone! I learned about how Google and Facebook put money over everything else. Mr. Moore tells us about the hackers, the system failures, and what he feels are some of the fixes for the system. This book opened my eyes to how the internet works and the adage "there is no free lunch" really applies to this the internet. ( )
  foof2you | Oct 28, 2018 |
Esta crítica foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Críticos do LibraryThing.
Summary: An inquiry into the ways individuals and states have influenced democratic governments, how web-based platforms have made it possible, and some of the alternatives for the future.

Much has been made of various ways the 2016 presidential election in the United States was "hacked" or manipulated exploiting various tools and platforms on the internet. In this book, Martin Moore pulls back the curtain on how it was done, the vulnerabilities of our social media platforms, and both the potential for more influence along these lines in the future, and the alternative, which is not becoming societies of Luddites.

He begins with the different individuals and groups that in some way were connected with efforts to manipulate the internet. He begins by exploring those who are the "freextremists." These are the denizens of image boards like 4chan that generate memes, whose survival on the board depends on how provocative, indeed how offensive, it is as measured by how often it is reposted. Many of the digital natives on these sites were alt-right or neo-Nazi types. Eventually a number became allied with organizations like Breitbart, and became a key asset in the media campaigns of the Trump elections with alliances with Trump operatives. In turn, Moore profiles plutocrats like Robert Mercer, who provided the capital that turned Breitbart into a web powerhouse. Finally, he details the various ways from hacked email accounts of Clinton staff, to various fake news and meme postings through fake Facebook and Twitter accounts, that influence was brought to bear by Russian entities on US citizens to influence the election. The author remains agnostic on whether these played a decisive influence, although he makes it clear that the Republican candidate used these methodologies or benefited from them to a much greater extent than the Democrat candidate.

The second part of the book looks at the social media platforms used to sway potential voters. The Facebook story is insidious, not only because of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, but also because Facebook uses an ad and promotional post targeting system utilizing the incredible amounts of information it aggregates on each profile through likes, posts, and clicks on posts. Psychological profiling enables precise targeting of contents to base voters, those who might desert a candidate, and undecided voters. Google's pursuit of ad revenue also makes it vulnerable for similar reasons. Twitter is different in the ability of this platform to disseminate information, exploited heavily by bots and fake accounts (not to mention then candidate and now President, Donald Trump's Twitter presence). A common thread is advertising and the use of personal information to increase ad revenues, making these ideal platforms for political exploitation.

The third part of the book explores directions democracy could go. We could move to a platform democracy where platforms deliver everything from places to stay (AirBnB) to transportation (Uber) to healthcare (something Amazon is experimenting with) and schools. There is a possibility of these platforms pervading every aspect of life, to the exclusion of the local, including local news media. More insidious is what Moore calls "surveillance democracy" where a digital identity is mandated by government and becomes necessary for voting, passports and travel, purchasing a home, or even shopping for groceries. He describes the system already in place in India, and how such systems are already being used for social control in China.

The alternative for Moore is not to "unplug" but rather to use technology to serve rather than manipulate democratic processes, including following Estonia's model of creating policy around the individual and the privacy of their data, rather than large interests. He calls this "democracy re-hacked."

What Moore seems to be doing is relying on regulation to create and implement policies to protect democracy. What bothers me is that it seems easy to circumvent many such measures, and only those without the resources or the savvy to circumvent such regulation will be shut down. It seems that until there are better limits on the data that can be collected about us (or greater transparency about that collection), targeting ads and promoted stories tailored to our interests will likely continue to find their way into our search results, timelines and Twitter feeds. Perhaps privacy and freedom from manipulative advertising (or even algorithms) might be worth paying for--perhaps a subscription fee to platforms like Facebook or Twitter. In exchange for not harvesting and using our data, we would pay an annual subscription (for example, I pay a certain amount for my identity to not be linked publicly to my URL, and to keep my blog site ad-free). There may be many users who would prefer this option, if private really means private, rather than government imposed regulation.

Whether you think democracy can be "re-hacked" or not, it seems important that a populace educate itself how to avoid becoming unwitting victims of political manipulation through the internet, just as we have to learn to be savvy about viruses, spyware, and other ways hackers attempt to compromise the integrity of our computers and our data. Moore at very least helps us understand both that it is being done, and how, and in doing so already provides us a vital tool in taking back our democracy--personal agency.

____________________________

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher via LibraryThing's Early Reviewers Program in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. ( )
  BobonBooks | Oct 22, 2018 |
Esta crítica foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Críticos do LibraryThing.
I saw a question on a forum last week asking for "scary or Halloween" book recommendations. There were plenty of responses, and this was mine - the lone non-fiction. I haven't been scared by a fiction book since I read one of ghost stories when I was 8 years old. Stephen King made me laugh 35 years ago; Koontz - no; Rice - emphatically no; well...you get the picture. No, for me, the real scary books are of this type - what the fiction authors try to impart: powerlessness against larger, malicious forces. Note: I received an uncorrected advance review copy of this from the publisher through LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.

Moore takes on a challenging task and did quite a bit of research - there are 35 pages of citations to sift if you're game. He breaks the book into three parts: Hackers, Systems Failure, and Alternative Futures, each with three chapters. Americans interested in this might myopically think it pertains to a certain election, but Moore shows it is much bigger than that. This is a global problem.

In Part 1: Hackers, Moore describes the efforts of so-called Freextremists, Plutocrats, and State driven hacks.

The Individuals, the Freextremists, reside in a global network of places like 4chan, 8chan, and a bunch of chans (resisting the urge to poorly pun here) and they are truly frightening. Blitzing the net with ...I detest the word use, but he uses it - memes, the primary drive of the chan-denizens is "lulz" ... just for kicks, per se. But they got very interested in 2016 when they realized how much of a disruptive effort they had on the American and French elections, and the British Brexit debacle. And it really is semi-individually driven, normally resistant to requests. One 4chan board called "invasions" told people back in 2008 "We are not your personal army, we will not raid your ex or some random person without a lulzy motivation." But, they jumped in big time in 2016. One study found more than 8 million posts generated in 4chan...in only the first half of 2016! And in November 2016, one 4channer posted "We actually elected a meme as president," with another adding "I don't think it's possible for an image to convey the level of smug I feel right now." With critical thinking non-existent, the anti-social media eats this stuff up. I have relatives who repost so much of that crap I have to avoid interacting as much as possible.

The plutocrats many be relatively few, but they have tremendous resources - meaning money, of course. Moore calls the mercurial Robert Mercer an "angry libertarian anarchist." The Koch brothers have a more public profile than Mercer, but are no less a threat to democracy, all buying whichever politicians they can to further their aims. And Russia? Seems they've had a long game in mind that the Americans for sure are woefully ill-equipped to play. And not just here in the US. Of course, having the 2017 president as an ally advances the anti-NATO efforts faster than planned, so they're happy.

In Part 2: Systems Failure, Moore looks at Facebook, Google, and the humorously named Twitter. All have massive data on people. Facebook focuses on likes and dislikes, motivations, interactions, connections. Facebook, with two billion users, is particularly susceptible to hack efforts. Moore cites a 1926 University of Chicago doctoral thesis of Harold Laswell in which Laswell looked at the British, French, and German propaganda efforts in the First World War, and the manipulation of the mass media in order to justify actions. Laswell thought the British were "particularly clever propagandists" and that "the American public was particularly vulnerable to manipulation." Spoiler alert...it still is. Google, as THE search engine, knows more about our curiosities than even we can know, for they track all the minutae. And when they caved to the business-necessary model of ad-driven revenue, they focused their incredible resources on the individual. The Madison Avenue (and other similar world Meccas) model of advertising en masse hoping for a fraction of a hit was discarded like an old hat (they are my paraphrased takeaways) because now, the marketing giants, and of course, Google as the gateway, could target explicitly the individual. And this made it far easier for hackers to manipulate an audience. (There are a plethora of sub-threads in all of the chapters that I can't begin to touch on - for example, when a user opens a page from Google, in the fraction of a second it takes to load, Google has fed the user's data to the ad machine so that the ads...which you may or may not notice load a little later than the text...target the specific page opener.)

Moore titled his third chapter in Part 2 "The Unbearable Lightness of Twitter". My marks changed it to "The Unbearableness of Twitter" (red squiggle line...coined another word?) In 2006, a lot of people though Twitter "frivolous and superficial". At least one of me still does, though I cannot doubt its impact. The Twit is ubiquitous, feeds a puerile element even more than Facebook or other anti-social platforms, and despite the Kinf Twit-terer violating the Twit standards multiple times daily, they still let him (note: my editorial, not Moore's.) Twitter influences much in the world, and it is nearly as unchecked as the 4chan individuals.

In Moore's final Part 3, Alternate Futures, he looks at Platform Democracy, Surveillance Democracy, and Democray Rehacked. In Platform Democracy, he examines Google, Amazon, and Apple's attempts to get footholds in healthcare (it's a lucrative industry, after all), attempting to increase the levels of service to the individuals (and the state.) Education can benefit from a platform push, as well as transit. Democratic aims driven by profit motives can only end in good, right? Yeah...right.

Surveillance democracy might have lofty aims...the welfare of all...but has failed in literature and is nearly as frightening as 4chan subversives. Indoa's issuing of "unique identifiers" with associated biometrics, to ensure citizens have a verifiable identity that can be used for finance, healthcare, governmental services regardless of literacy might seem a utopian goal, but the inherent limits of technology should be obvious. If you're not in the system, due to some kind of input error or other problem, you can't exist. Think Sandra Biullock's "The Net" writ large...any system, no matter the purported security, would likely be easy to hack and delete/change data, and too easily perverted to screen the outputs. The US problems are not specific to its population...six years after the launch of the identification program, the first person to be given a digital identity was interviewed and asked if it helped her: "I am finding it difficult to survive. I feel all governments use the poor for politics and actually work for the rich." See? Global.

In Moore's final chapter, "Democracy Rehacked", he looks at grandiose schemes, and also successful uses of technology. He rightly observes that "finding a successful politician who wanted root and branch reform was as rare as finding a truffle in the desert." He cites Edward Luce, who argued that rather than expand participative democracy, those in power made conscious efforts to manage and control masses. (Side note: see John Taylor Gatto's take on the American education system deliberately manipulated to control the masses in his admittedly near-conspiracy theory but with solid elements books "The Underground History of American Education" and "Weapons of Mass Instruction".) and the trend has been ignored until too late: "It took Brexit and Trump, and subsequent electoral shocks, to provoke much wider reflection and reassessment of whether democracy was functioning as it should."

There are pockets of success in democratic use of technology - participative budgeting, Arab Spring, and others...but they are sparse. He notes "[i]f we are going to create a new digital democracy we should start by coming to terms with the scale of the task." True, and my margin note says we have the additional obstacle of undoing the damage already done while building new. The problem I see with this, and Moore doesn't address, is that the problems outlined in the previous 270 pages are not static - a virus mutates, and while time is spent trying to wrap heads around the scope of a problem, let alone finding a solution, billions of blathering destructive twits are loosed, millions of memes, and millions/billions of hacks launched. The hackers of all types described above are not stopping.

Don't look for answers here...there aren't any of substance. The last sentence is more suited to a bodice-ripper pulp novel than a critical analysis: "Democracy can be rehacked, but only if there is the will to do it."

Bottom line: be afraid. ( )
  Razinha | Oct 5, 2018 |
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In the space of one election cycle, authoritarian governments, moneyed elites and fringe hackers figured out how to game elections, bypass democratic processes, and turn social networks into battlefields. Facebook, Google and Twitter - where our politics now takes place - have lost control and are struggling to claw it back. Prepare for a new strain of democracy. A world of datafied citizens, real-time surveillance, enforced wellness and pre-crime. Where switching your mobile platform will have more impact on your life than switching your government. Where freedom and privacy are seen as incompatible with social wellbeing and compulsory transparency. As our lives migrate online, we have become increasingly vulnerable to digital platforms founded on selling your attention to the highest bidder. Our laws don't cover what is happening and our politicians don't understand it. But if we don't change the system now, we may not get another chance.

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