Entertainment

The Alarming Issues Raised In ‘The Great Hack’ Will Keep You Up At Night

It’s become so common to see Facebook and Instagram ads pop-up after doing a Google search for a pair of shoes, a restaurant or headphones, that there are memes around the lack of privacy we face for being online. It doesn’t bother us. There’s an underlying attitude of “this is the price we pay for the convenience of an interconnected world.” “The Great Hack,” a documentary on the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica data-mining scandal, takes a sledgehammer to this passive way of thinking. 

The film debuted at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year and was recently added to Netflix’s streaming service.

It opens with a scene of Brittany Kaiser at what is implied to be Burning Man, a weeklong festival held in the middle of the Nevada desert and founded on the principles of sustainability, civil responsibility, and inclusion. The voiceover introduces Kaiser as a former Obama intern who went on to become a director at Cambridge Analytica—a company working exclusively with Conservatives and linked to the success of Trump, Brexit, and other far-right political parties. 

Kaiser is a complicated figure. Her resume begins with positions associated with idealism and the Democratic Party, who ended up working to undermine democracy. She turned whistleblower—a label former colleagues scoff at—under a cloud of suspicion. Most people asked, “what’s in it for her?” When she’s asked outright about her evolution she says “None of them [referring to Obama and Hillary Clinto] ever wanted to offer to pay me…you have to work for people who pay you.” She references her family’s financial troubles as the trigger for accepting a job with Cambridge Analytica.

Next comes David Carroll, a media professor at Parsons School of Design.

Carroll filed a legal claim against the London-based data company to gain access to the information they collected on him. To date, Cambridge Analytica has refused to comply.

Carole Cadwalladr is another player introduced in the film.

Credit: thegreathack / Instagram

She is a British investigative journalist who began to unravel the relationship between the tech giant and consulting company. When she raised the alarm around the alarming connection between Cambridge Analytica and Brexit, similar fake-news harassment was turned on her. The movie runs a video featuring a scene from Airplane! where a line of slap and beat a woman who has Cadwalladr’s face superimposed. The last person in line is shown with a gun.

The movie explains how a one-click personality test with questions like “I prefer to be left alone,” and “I have a rich inner world,” built a psychological profile of the user, and allowed them to be manipulated for political gains. The test was designed by University of Cambridge psychology professor Aleksandr Kogan, and its findings were sold to Cambridge Analytica. 

They complied to delete the data at the request of Facebook, but the movie captures Kaiser going through old emails and finding data sets weeks after Cambridge Analytica said they had erased them.

How did we get here?

Credit: Credit: @katdaddddy / Twitter

The film repeatedly asks how the dream of a connected world tore us apart and has created a world where people like Carroll are fighting to make data rights, a human right. To better understand what went down in the 2016 election and how digital is affecting our democracy, it’s worth the watch. Knowing what is being collected about us shouldn’t be a secret—especially when other businesses profit off that intel. 

In the meantime, here’s a cheat sheet.

Giving Up Access To Your Data Isn’t Entirely Your Fault—Or In Your Control

Credit: @JohnSlavin9 / Twitter

Kogan offered Cambridge Analytica data from apps that were given special permission to harvest information. The film highlights how simply being Facebook friends with someone, who granted a third-party vendor access to their profile, could have caused your data to leak. These apps pulled from the person granting access, and in the process created an entry point for the data company to harvest from their friend’s network. If you were friends with someone using this app, data could be pulled without your permission or realization. It wasn’t just public information—they also mine from private messages to build data profiles on users. 

Cambridge Analytica Bombarded “Persuables” With Content They Couldn’t Ignore

Credit: @ishcontent / Twitter

In order to mobilize swing voters, and ground the opposition, Cambridge Analytica took the data they found and focused on a small population who could be persuaded to back their clients. They called this population the “persuadables.” People like Kaiser talk about “pulling levers” to activate their base. These people were pummeled with inflammatory content on Facebook, YouTube, Google, and WhatsApp. The images, videos, and language used positioned Hillary Clinton as an evil crook, said a Cambridge Analytica exec who admitted on-camera in an undercover expose by a British news outlet. 

It wasn’t just all right-wing content. People labeled as liberals received the same treatment with Black Lives Matter content and stories focused on police brutality. The deception happened both ways.

Oil is No Longer the Most Lucrative Industry

Credit: @AndreaLoken / Twitter

According to Carroll, data mining has become a trillion-dollar industry. Kaiser says data has surpassed oil as the most valuable commodity and industry. They both make a case for protecting the information out there. Kaiser even argues it should be treated and protected like real estate. 

“This is not a partisan issue,” Cadwalladr argues. 

It’s Still Unclear What Data Was Collected And Who Was Targeted

Credit: @BrasilMagic / Twitter

At the film’s close, Carroll still hasn’t been given the information Cambridge Analytica collected on him. Speaking at the European Parliament, Carroll testifies that the pool of people targeted, who they were and the extent to which their data was used for is still unknown. What is clear is that the vendor’s business model works and has the ability to impact a mass population. 

“In the U.S. only about 70,000 voters in three different states decided the [2016] election,” he says. 

Kaiser Admits Data Targeting is a ‘Weapons Grade Communications Tactic’

Credit: @dens / Twitter

At the British Parliament, Kaiser offers testimony classifying Cambridge Analytica’s work as an industry regulated by the British government due to the severity of consequences associated with its use.

READ: Ted Cruz Couldn’t Have Been Expecting This When He Showed Up For His Flight At LAX

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A New ‘Coco’ Short Film Called ‘A Day in the Life of the Dead’ Has Just Premiered on Disney+

Entertainment

A New ‘Coco’ Short Film Called ‘A Day in the Life of the Dead’ Has Just Premiered on Disney+

Photo via Pixar/Twitter

We have exciting news for die-hard fans of the beloved Pixar movie, “Coco”. Disney+ has just premiered an adorable short film that gives audiences a glimpse into the “average day in the afterlife” in the Land of the Dead.

The 2-minute film is called “A Day in the Life of the Dead” and features various calacas going about the daily lives.

The short film is part of a series called “Pixar Popcorn” that started streaming on Friday. The series will feature a variety of short films inspired by different Pixar movies, including “Toy Story”, “Finding Nemo,” “The Incredibles”, and of course (and most importantly)…”Coco”.

“A Day in the Life of the Dead” is as beautifully animated as the 2017 film is.

The 2-minute film is animated with the same lush, vibrant colors of the original film and rendered with Pixar’s signature creative vision of the Land of the Dead.

And to make things more exciting, the movie is littered with cameos from fan-favorite characters like Mamá Imelda, Héctor, and the jaw-dropping arrivals agent.

In fact, one of the funniest vignettes is when the arrivals agent repeatedly loses his jaw bone, including when he tries to take an (unsuccessful) bite of cortadillo.

In other parts of the short film, we watch calacas riding a tandem bike, exercising, playing with cute animals, and attempting to keep their heads on straight–literally.

But of course, most of the humor of the short film comes from the inherent comedy of skeletons try to accomplish daily tasks when their bodies keep falling apart.

But “A Day in the Life of the Dead” isn’t the only Pixar short film that’s part of the “Pixar Popcorn” series. There’s tons of cute shorts that will keep you or the little kid in your life entertained for a while.

The series also features the short films “Dancing With the Cars”, “Soul of the City”, “Chore Day: The Incredibles Way”, “Dory Finding”, and “To Fitness and Beyond”, and more. There are eleven short films all together–the perfect amount to binge in one sitting!

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Reports Of A New Series Depicting The Life Of Frida Kahlo Has The Internet Asking All Sorts Of Questions

Entertainment

Reports Of A New Series Depicting The Life Of Frida Kahlo Has The Internet Asking All Sorts Of Questions

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There are few people in this world that are as iconic as Frida Kahlo. She’s captured the minds and imaginations of generations of people from all over the world. We’ve seen her story told before, including on the big screen, but fans have long awaited a Netflix rendition of the artists unique story and now it seem like we may finally be getting what so many of us have wanted for so long.

The Frida Kahlo Corporation is developing a TV drama series based on the artist’s storied life.

Acording to a report by Deadline, the Frida Kahlo Corporation is working with a media company and famed Venezuelan composer and singer Carlos Baute to produce a drama series following the life of the iconic artist.

Frida Kahlo has inspired and influenced fans around the world and has had a major impact on the Latinx diaspora, the art world, feminism and culture as a whole. So, it seems that producers are pulling out all the stops to make sure they do right by the artist.

The series is being written by Latino talent, lead by Joel Novoa and Marilú Godinez. Novoa, who has worked on Arrow, Blood and Treasure and the feature film God’s Slave is attached to direct. The partnership will create a slate of content to celebrate the life of Frida Kahlo in different genres.

“The idea is to talk about what the books don’t,” said the writing duo in a joint statement. “The subtext behind each painting, the richness of Mexico’s 20th century and the revolution. Themes that are incredibly relevant at this unprecedented time.”

Carlos Dorado of the Frida Kahlo Corporation added, “Frida Kahlo corporation is always looking for talented people who know how to exalt the life of an icon like Frida Kahlo. In this case the professional team that has been formed is distinguished by its great professionalism, experience and most importantly the sensitivity to be able to approach a project as important and transcendental as Frida Kahlo. This high professional team will always have the support of Frida Kahlo Corporation.”

So when can we expect to see a series about one of the world’s greatest artists and feminist icons?

The team expects to start production of the series during the second half of 2021. A studio has already shown interest and the presentation of the project to the market is expected to occur in February.

“We are currently developing and writing the basis of the series and expect to be ready to present the project in the upcoming weeks,” the team said in a statement.

Also, why has it taken so long?!

Should the series find a studio and distributor, this would be the first drama series focusing on Kahlo in recent history. It’s been almost twenty years since her story was told on the big screen, when Salma Hayek portrayed the icon in the 2002 film Frida. That film went on to earn six Oscar nominations, winning for Best Makeup and Best Original Score. More recently, Kahlo was voiced by Natalia Cordova-Buckley in the Oscar-winning Pixar pic Coco. 

In addition to this, in 2019 it was announced that there would be an animated film about the painter.

But fans of the iconic feminist and artist have long hoped to see a TV series depicting her larger than life personality and role in shaping the world we live in today and it looks like we may finally get what we’ve asked for.

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