But Zuck's emails!
December 5, 2018 10:58 AM   Subscribe

 
What a horrible invasion of privacy regarding personal data. Why would anyone take advantage like that. I feel so bad for them.

dumb fucks
posted by leotrotsky at 11:01 AM on December 5 [67 favorites]


How sad that personal data was exposed and used without their permission or prior knowledge!
Also Zuckerberg's correspondence I guess.
posted by PennD at 11:12 AM on December 5 [8 favorites]


Collins obtained the documents in a rather unusual way. As Buzzfeed News recently reported, Ted Kramer, managing director of a company called Six4Three which has used Facebook data in the past, is suing Facebook in California, and Kramer was given the sealed documents as part of discovery in that case. Kramer then traveled to the UK in possession of the documents, and was met with an obscure UK legal power, demanding he hand them over to Collins’ Committee.

Wow, is that ever burying the lede. Here’s the entire (as of a minute ago) WikiPedia article on Six4Three:
Six4Three is a tech company which produced a way to search for bikini pictures from your contacts on Facebook. After Facebook closed off access to data in 2014, the company sued Facebook for destroying that line of business, hoping to recover the money invested in the app.[1] During discovery Six4Three obtained email and/or internal documents allegedly showing how much Facebook-founder Mark Zuckerberg knew about the privacy gaps in the Facebook partner API. This same API was abused by Cambridge Analytica to data mine information on tens of millions of US voters from a few hundred thousand users[2]. Damian Collins, a UK MP investigating Cambridge Analytica, took interest in the documents and compelled their release in November 2018 by threatening the founder of Six4Three with imprisonment while he was in the UK on other business.[3]
posted by Sys Rq at 11:22 AM on December 5 [27 favorites]


However they were acquired, these emails clearly show the intent and actions of executives at Facebook. For me, the worst is the Android call log scraping and the decision to sweep it under the rug as much as possible. Combined with the recent Soros story, and [waves hands generally at everything we've learned about them for the last two years at least], I'm ready for US legislators to take real action.

Right now Facebook is protected from antitrust legislation, because that legislation has been deliberately weakened. But there are strong arguments to strengthen it, and we should encourage our new Representatives to do so next year.
posted by bwerdmuller at 11:30 AM on December 5 [16 favorites]


Six4Three: file stupid lawsuits, win shitty prizes.
posted by rhizome at 11:41 AM on December 5 [2 favorites]


Looking at the PDF, everything from page 17 to page 250 is in image form so not searchable.
Anybody have software installed to automatically OCR the PDF and spit out an editable one?
posted by w0mbat at 11:46 AM on December 5 [2 favorites]


For me, the worst is the Android call log scraping and the decision to sweep it under the rug as much as possible.

I almost went with the following quote as the link text, before I decided a plain summary would be more appropriate:
To mitigate any bad PR, Facebook planned to make it as hard of [sic] possible for users to know that this was one of the underlying features of the upgrade of their app.
posted by tobascodagama at 11:52 AM on December 5 [6 favorites]


Anybody have software installed to automatically OCR the PDF and spit out an editable one?

In Windows, if you drop it into OneNote and select "insert as printout", it will render it searchable through OCR. But make sure you have OneNote set to print/insert long documents as a single page, or else it's a pain to browse through.
posted by howfar at 11:55 AM on December 5 [11 favorites]


Guardian leads with “Facebook: Tech Giant Discussed Cashing In On User Data, Emails Suggest”, presumably relegating all of their “Man Bitten By Dog” stories to further down the page.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 12:03 PM on December 5 [3 favorites]


I am laughing. Out loud. In capitals.
posted by infini at 12:12 PM on December 5 [6 favorites]


I’m literally shivering with schadenglee, in case anyone was wondering

On the subway platform, no less
posted by schadenfrau at 12:14 PM on December 5 [19 favorites]


The Motherboard article is pretty dang thin. "Nearly 250 Pages of Devastating Internal Facebook Documents Posted Online By UK Parliament" is quite the headline, and if your going to use it you'd better be a bit more specific about the actual devastating parts. It sounds like there might be a lot of juicy bits, but they aren't provided.
posted by Going To Maine at 12:53 PM on December 5 [1 favorite]


Here's a Twitter thread (unrolled). Note how often the "growth team" comes up.
posted by tobascodagama at 12:57 PM on December 5 [3 favorites]


One of the people who should also be explaining himself now is San Mateo County Judge V. Raymond Swope, the judge who sealed these documents in the first place.
posted by NoxAeternum at 1:09 PM on December 5 [8 favorites]


Related, from Buzzfeed, "Mark Zuckerberg's Biggest Problem: Internal Tensions At Facebook Are Boiling Over":
Internally, the conflict seems to have divided Facebook into three camps: those loyal to Zuckerberg and chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg; those who see the current scandals as proof of a larger corporate meltdown; and a group who see the entire narrative — including the portrayal of the company’s hiring of communications consulting firm Definers Public Affairs — as examples of biased media attacks.
There's a few different sources from these different factions cited in the article: some public FB posts by executives in support, some anonymous ex-employees, and a whole bunch gleaned from threads on Blind, an app that sounds like Yik Yak but for corporate.

The kicker is pure gold:
For now, as Facebook's employees debate her future publicly and privately, Sandberg has set her sights on damage control. Still reeling from the revelation that Facebook’s communications and policy team hired a public affairs team to investigate George Soros, Sandberg has been trying to make amends.

According to two sources, she attempted to call Soros last month, within days of the reports about Definers, and left a message after he didn’t pick up. Soros has yet to call her back because he’s been traveling, a source told BuzzFeed News.

“It appears he’ll be traveling for a while,” the source said.
posted by mhum at 1:17 PM on December 5 [13 favorites]


Note how often the "growth team" comes up.

A surprisingly on-the-nose name for a cancerous department.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 1:17 PM on December 5 [17 favorites]


Damian Collins, a UK MP investigating Cambridge Analytica, took interest in the documents and compelled their release in November 2018 by threatening the founder of Six4Three with imprisonment while he was in the UK on other business

The Marcus Hutchens treatment then?
posted by rough ashlar at 1:18 PM on December 5


One of the people who should also be explaining himself now is San Mateo County Judge V. Raymond Swope, the judge who sealed these documents in the first place.

Funny you should mention that. Apparently Swope is none too pleased with these latest developments himself, according to the Mountain View Voice, "Facebook's international drama has its day in county court":
San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Raymond Swope, who had issued a court order that the documents be sealed, called together the legal counsels for Facebook and Six4Three the afternoon of Friday, Nov. 30, to find an answer to that very question: Why and how had his court order been violated?

"When I issue a valid court order governing the conduct of parties in this case -- or any other such court order -- I expect these to be followed," he said during the court proceedings. "I do not expect a compromise of the integrity of this judicial system."

[...]

In April 2015, Six4Three filed a lawsuit against Facebook; the suit has been working through the county court system ever since. As part of the discovery process, the attorneys representing Six4Three had been granted access to confidential Facebook documents.

However, Kramer, as a plaintiff, was not supposed to have access to them. But he somehow gained access, and so was able to deliver Facebook's confidential documents to Parliament, which he handed over on a thumb drive. Just what was on that thumb drive was a key concern of both Swope and Facebook's legal team, and was not known by those parties at the time of Friday's hearing.

[...]

So how did Kramer get access to the confidential documents? The only people who could have granted him access were his attorneys, Swope said.

During the hearing, Swope vigorously questioned two of Kramer's attorneys, Stuart Gross of Gross & Klein, and David Godkin of Birnbaum & Godkin. Both mentioned a third member of Six4Three's legal team, Thomas Scaramellino, who was also a former investor in the company. He was not present, but they said he may have played a role in granting Kramer access to the files through a company Dropbox account that may have had "syncing" features they were unaware of.
posted by mhum at 1:23 PM on December 5 [1 favorite]


I don't really give a fuck that Swope is upset. Given what we now know, he needs to explain his decision to seal these documents in the first place, because doing so was clearly in the interest of Facebook only, and we need to figure out if the corrective course is fixing a law or punishing a judge who forgot who his duty is to.
posted by NoxAeternum at 1:29 PM on December 5 [12 favorites]


figure out if the corrective course is fixing a law or punishing a judge who forgot who his duty is to

Is that how it's supposed to work? I mean, I'm no lawyer at all, but these docs weren't produced as part of a criminal case or anything related to the larger Facebook problems (e.g.: Russian disinfo ops, lax oversight over political ads, fascist groups using their platforms to recruit and spread propaganda, etc...), right? It was literally about a guy who made an app that scanned for bikini pics suing Facebook for turning off the API features that made his app possible. I haven't been able to determine (via some cursory googling) if these kinds of documents are normally sealed in discovery or if this was an abberation or what.

I mean, for sure Facebook sucks big time and probably needs to be razed to the ground, but I'm not quite getting what duty the judge is supposed to be upholding in this specific case.
posted by mhum at 1:54 PM on December 5


The important question is who this "Deep Throat" guy thinks he is, breaking the law like that!
posted by tobascodagama at 2:04 PM on December 5 [7 favorites]


"Is that how it's supposed to work?"

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(c), courts can seal discovery for various reasons, which I'm guessing here is mostly trade secrets, and it's a pretty low standard. Documents that are used as evidence in the trial become part of the court record (which is public), and then they're subject to a higher standard and it's (supposed to be) much harder to seal them.

The idea is that, if you're Coca Cola and a company called Doca Dola hired away your chief recipe guy who is now illegally using your trade-secret recipe, you're going to be very reluctant to file your TOTALLY LEGITIMATE lawsuit if doing discovery is going to automatically result in the public disclosure of your secret recipe. Indeed, it allows the discovery process to be weaponized where you file vexatious litigation merely to get discovery and publicly publish all the discovery.

Now the discovery process in general is a hot (and already weaponized) mess, and judges are way too willing to let parties seal public documents, but no, this isn't unusual at all, and at this stage of the trial, was probably justified. And whatever lawyer gave their client a copy of these records done fucked up real bad.

Also having done bulk discovery slightly before e-discovery tools were any good, where you would comb through THOUSANDS of e-mails from a company's principals on a case have to do with, say, an insurance dispute that hinges on whether the president ever suggested that a particular safety protocol could be ignored, you will discover dozens of people who are carrying out their extramarital affairs using their work e-mail. Which would be a pretty shitty thing to have made public record just because the president of your company might be a little lax with maintaining railings in the factory to standard! If you've ever sent a single ill-advised work e-mail that you'd prefer not to have made public completely absent context in a lawsuit totally unrelated to you or your work, you can see why these rules are generally a pretty good idea.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:23 PM on December 5 [22 favorites]


Given what we now know, he needs to explain his decision to seal these documents in the first place,

Do Judges have such an obligation in the rules of conduct from supreme court of the state? If so, then by all means file grievances for it.

Otherwise the voting for a different judge appears to be the option. Toss 'em out.
posted by rough ashlar at 2:36 PM on December 5 [1 favorite]


I don't really give a fuck that Swope is upset. Given what we now know, he needs to explain his decision to seal these documents in the first place, because doing so was clearly in the interest of Facebook only, and we need to figure out if the corrective course is fixing a law or punishing a judge who forgot who his duty is to.

What? No he doesn't. This wasn't an investigation into Facebook, these were documents turned over to the lawyers for this preposterous and creepy bikini pic company. Even the client isn't supposed to have access to the full set of documents. There are a lot of reasons for this. Do you want bikini pic creeper to have access to all your emails? Obviously no.

The plaintiff's lawyers, defendant's lawyers, and judge spend a lot of time deciding what will be allowed into evidence for the lawsuit and they proceed from there. Any documents which are introduced can also be sealed if really required but certainly documents at this early stage are almost always under seal because no-one has yet decided if they are material.

If a legal authority wanted to investigate Facebook, they could subpoena these documents, review them for relevance, and then release the relevant ones as evidence in the case.
posted by atrazine at 2:56 PM on December 5 [2 favorites]


Once in a great while, karma kicks in?
posted by jenfullmoon at 3:00 PM on December 5 [2 favorites]


The plaintiff's lawyers, defendant's lawyers, and judge spend a lot of time deciding what will be allowed into evidence for the lawsuit

Assumes facts not in evidence.

I'd guess the hours of Facebook's legal team was FAR greater than the other 2. Why would a Judge spend any time on a case when cases settle out of court and therefore their effort would be wasted?

Besides this isn't about entering evidence, this was about records that were known to a smalll group of people who should be known to a larger group.

Should the records of Mossack Fonseca be protected from release because they were lawyers VS the possible public good of that information being know?


If a legal authority wanted to investigate Facebook, they could subpoena these documents, review them for relevance, and then release the relevant ones as evidence in the case.

Yes they could. But based on what I've lived - asking for records has gotten no where VS finding records in the public record to then use to beat the other side over the head with you should have been able to get in discovery. What's MORE damn fun is to go into the bankruptcy court, buy the computers off the bankruptcy estate for $500 and then use the 31 meg of emails to the lawyers against 'em - because there is no way in hell a judge is gonna alllow discovery of the client/attorney email - even if it DOES show fraud. So exactly how does the public/legal authorities get to certain info without "a whistleblower"?\


In this instant case, note how the claim is a suspected restriction of liberty in a foreign land. How many people would stand their ground like Joseph Nacchio did to the request of records from the Bush admin or how Marchus Hustichens when offered by the FBI to roll over on 'Nick' (?) and when he didn't got 6 charges and upon fighting got bumped up to 10 charges?

Having a legal fight is expensive. In the US federal charges to get to trial is at least 1/4 of a mil for a good defense. How many ppl have 250K+ lying around - applying the US lens to the UK on the idea of being in the pokey of the state?
posted by rough ashlar at 3:28 PM on December 5 [1 favorite]


Kramer then traveled to the UK in possession of the documents, and was met with an obscure UK legal power, demanding he hand them over to Collins’ Committee.

There are questions about why Kramer had access to the documents while in the UK, where he was obviously subject to UK jurisdiction, and even more how Collins knew about it. But it’s not a very obscure legal power, even if it is an unusual exercise of it. The process is very different, but the concept is similar to a Congressional subpoena, which also carries a threat of being arrested by the Sergeant-at-Arms and the possibility of (eventually) imprisonment for failure to comply.

From an outsider’s perspective, it seems that Zuckerberg doesn’t really see why he should be subject to anyone’s oversight, and that is why he has shown such reluctance to testify. He doesn’t like to do it in the US, but there he essentially has less choice as that’s where he lives. He can escape personal compulsion by Parliament as long as he stays out of the UK, but for all sorts of reasons he cannot necessarily keep all information he wishes to hide out of the UK.
posted by Quinbus Flestrin at 3:35 PM on December 5 [9 favorites]


Another presidential candidate ruined by leaked emails.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 4:12 PM on December 5 [6 favorites]


Once in a great while, karma kicks in?

Let's wait and see how much actual kicking results from this. I've seen too many "revelation that will blow things wide open" stories followed by no real, consequential outcome once the media spotlight has moved on to the Next Big Eyeball-Snagger News and it's promptly forgotten by the public. I do hope my cynicism is misplaced, but I won't be holding my breath.
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:42 PM on December 5 [7 favorites]


Anybody have software installed to automatically OCR the PDF and spit out an editable one?

I have an OCR'd version done. A few pages are skewed, because Acrobat no longer has a "do not deskew" option in its OCR functions, but it's all readable.

https://www.scribd.com/document/395023114/Note-by-Chair-OCRd
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 6:04 PM on December 5 [1 favorite]


Dang ErisLordFreedom, I just got done doing my own OCRd version (via Omnipage), which I've slapped on Github here - https://github.com/BuxtonTheRed/btrmisc (it's the one PDF file in that repo).

I am pretty sure more versions (run thru different tools) is absolutely good though.
posted by BuxtonTheRed at 6:08 PM on December 5


There are pretty good reasons why stuff like this gets sealed so that only lawyers (who have particular ethical obligations to the court that go beyond their obligations to their clients) get to look at it. I mean, in this case it's pretty funny because so far only Facebook and its management people seem to have been embarrassed, but if the information was sensitive personal stuff about innocent people it would be less funny. That's probably part of the reason it was sealed.

Sounds like the judge's ire should be (and probably is) directed mostly at the lawyers who broke the rules and let their client see things he wasn't supposed to. The idea that the judge did something wrong is a bit silly, because a judge isn't supposed to be Father Christmas and only give the nice kids the benefit of court procedure.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 6:41 PM on December 5 [1 favorite]


... oh, and I don't think the UK MP did anything particularly wrong by requiring the bikini app idiot to give up the documents that he had acquired unlawfully. The lawyers' ethical breach isn't his problem.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 6:45 PM on December 5


I feel like the anecdote that has stuck with me the most about Zuckerberg (and Facebook) is this one:
“I said, ‘Mark, 97 percent of Filipinos on the internet are on Facebook,’” Ressa recalled. “I invited him to come to the Philippines because he had to see the impact of this. You have to understand the impact ... He was frowning while I was saying that. I said, ‘Why, why?’ He said, ‘Oh well. What are the other 3 percent doing, Maria?’”
Next level vileness.
posted by Ouverture at 6:46 PM on December 5 [7 favorites]


Just to be clear, the "UK MP" who did this is Damian Collins, who is the Chair of the House of Commons digital, culture, media and sport (DCMS) committee, which is the committee that Zuck won't come and testify to about Facebook's role in spreading election-related (and other) disinformation.
posted by dowcrag at 12:26 AM on December 6 [2 favorites]


Washington Post's article on this news (which I didn't see linked upthread, apologies if I missed it) has a bit more substance to it.

I wonder if the story of how Damain Collins knew Kramer had the documents, or even whether if Collins actually even knew he did have them, will ever come to light.
posted by fragmede at 4:37 AM on December 6 [1 favorite]


tl;dr: Read the chapter titled "I’m CEO… Bitch: Zuckerberg moves to Silicon Valley to 'dominate' (and does)" in Adam Fisher's Valley of Genius.

Bro culture and misogyny rank as two of the most vexing and persistent aspects of Silicon Valley and the computer industry in general, despite larger cultural awareness and continued efforts to address such problems.

Emily Chang's Brotopia: Breaking up the Boys' Club of Silicon Valley is an excellent history of how pervasive and far-reaching these problems are. Chang also identifies key players and organizations who have to some extent addressed the cultural problems surrounding patriarchy and sexism in Silicon Valley and its adjacent industries.

In a different way, Adam Fisher's Valley of Genius: The Uncensored History of Silicon Valley, as Told by the Hackers, Founders, and Freaks Who Made It Boom is an insiders' ethnographic perspective on the making of Internet culture and the computing industry, comprised of quotations by founders and builders of the computing industry. Unlike with Chang's transparent political framing, the sexism and bro-ness of Silicon Valley culture reveals itself in the unselfconscious quotes of the builders themselves, and the evidence is damning.

Many of the luminaries of even old school Web 1.0 and pre-Internet computing reveal themselves to be aggressive misogynists and Chang's and Fisher's books make excellent companions for anyone interested in how and why so many bros wield so much power in the digital age.

My main point in bringing up these two books in the context of this thread is to recommend specifically the 25th chapter (7th chapter in Book Three) of Fisher's Valley of Genius titled "I’m CEO… Bitch: Zuckerberg moves to Silicon Valley to 'dominate' (and does)", which paints a portrait of Facebook and its corporate culture that lines up with the reporting highlighted in the FPP and upthread.
posted by mistersquid at 8:27 AM on December 6 [5 favorites]


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