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

‘Narcos: Mexico’ Is Back For A Second Season: Here’s Everything We Know So Far

Entertainment

‘Narcos: Mexico’ Is Back For A Second Season: Here’s Everything We Know So Far

Since Netflix aired Narcos, the crime thriller retelling the rise of the cocaine trade in Colombia led by drug lord Pablo Escobar, the story has enjoyed indomitable success. After three seasons, Netflix and the show creators Chris Brancato, Doug Miro, and Carlo Bernard, created “Narcos: Mexico” a standalone story. Shifting the focus from Colombia to Mexico, the series tells the story of the Mexican drug trade all the way from the 80s down to what it is today. So, is there going to be a second season to the story? The answer is yes! 

Netflix announced the second season last year, just three weeks prior to the premiere of the first season. This upcoming season would make the franchise’s fifth installment. Little is known about the upcoming Narcos: Mexico 2 so far. There are numerous theories and speculations about what could possibly happen. So here’s all we know as of yet.

When will it be released?

Credit: narcos / Netflix

Netflix hasn’t announced an official release date yet. The series first dropped in November 2018, and production on season 2 began filming in Mexico City last year—where the first chapter was also filmed. All three seasons of Narcos and the standalone series have ten episodes per season, so if we follow the patternseries are usually released around the same time of year, we could expect a similar premiere date for the next installment around November this year.

The Plot and cast

At the end of the first season, it was revealed that Scoot McNairy, the unseen all-knowing narrator, was an agent who will lead a task force to indict those responsible for DEA Agent Kiki Camarena’s death, which is set up to be the plot for season two.

It’s speculated that viewers would witness what happened after the death of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent played by Michael Peña, who was captured and tortured before his death. The good guys in the DEA are expected to bring justice to the murder of one of their associates. And it’s been suggested that Kiki’s death would intensify the government’s war on drugs. 

“What occurred in Guadalajara gave beginning to the primary cartel. From that, others would observe. And the violence and cash and medicines, they simply fucking explode. It modified the DEA, too. Perhaps it woke us up, I don’t know,” Walt Breslin (Scoot McNairy) stated in the final moments of Season one, hinting at a possibly deepened war between the United States’ law enforcement and the drug cartel in season two.

Diego Luna and Scoot McNairy are set to return to the new installment of Narcos: Mexico. The cast will include Alejandro Edda as Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, Teresa Ruiz as Isabella Bautista, and Tenoch Huerta as Rafael Caro Quintero. It’s not certain if Alyssa Diaz will return to her role as Mika Camarena, the wife of Kiki. 

Depending on the direction the writers take Narcos: Mexico, the show could also see the rise of the Sinaloa Cartel in the late 80s as a result of Gallardo’s downfall after his capture and incarceration in 1989. 

Gallardo is currently serving his 37-year jail term in prison in Mexico for killing Kiki Camarena. The now 73-year-old said he was suffering from ill-health and wished to complete his sentence under house arrest. According to The Associated Press, Gallardo was denied the request. In a court ruling back in February of this year, it was decided that despite his advanced age, he was not qualified for release. 

Is there a trailer for season two?

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We’re building an empire. Why stop now?

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Gaumont International Television, the production studio behind Narcos: Mexico, has kept the show under wraps. We haven’t seen any trailers for the upcoming season revealed. It seems like we will only get to see images from season two after the production wraps. Diego Luna has said that the filming is still going on, so all we can do is keep a close eye on his social media to spot a sneak peek. 

The show recently received a WGA nomination in the “Episodic Drama” category. Diego Luna also received recognition for his role as Felix Gallardo. The Mexican actor was awarded a Critic’s Choice Award for Best Actor in a Drama Series after the first season of Narcos: Mexico.

Going back to the roots of the modern drug war, Narcos: Mexico is set in a time when the Mexican trafficking world was loose and disorganized, run by independent growers and users. Throughout the show we will witness the rise of the Guadalajara Cartel in the 1980s with Felix Gallardo at the helm, unifying traffickers in order to build an empire. A tragic chain of events unfolds as the drug trade grows and governments declare war against narco-trafficking for years to come. Season one is available to watch now on Netflix if you’re down for a binge run before the release of the second installment later this year.

READ: 21 Times Netflix’s “Narcos” Got It Wrong

Selena Gomez Announces New Netflix Series ‘Living Undocumented’

Entertainment

Selena Gomez Announces New Netflix Series ‘Living Undocumented’

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Selena Gomez continues her reign as a Netflix producer with Living Undocumented. It is always great when celebrities use their platforms to enrich and educate. Gomez has a huge platform and can generate huge numbers. 13 Reasons Why blew Netflix’s expectations out of the water, and I can’t help but think it’s because of Gomez’s enormous Instagram following. The girl has reach. 

As you might have guessed, Living Undocumented is a documentary series that follows the lives of undocumented immigrants as they navigate life under the looming threat of increasingly cruel immigration policies and ICE raids.

Selena Gomez announces Living Undocumented on Instagram

“I am so humbled to be a part of Netflix’s documentary series Living Undocumented. The immigration issue is more complex than one administration, one law or the story you hear about on the news. These are real people in your community, your neighbors, your friends—they are all part of the country we call home. I can’t wait for you guys to see this and hope it impacts you like it impacted me. Available globally October 2,” Gomez wrote.

Living Undocumented 

Living Undocumented will focus on eight undocumented families. Premiering on October 2nd on Netflix, the show will chronicle the families as they face possible deportation. The narratives will range from hopeful to infuriating, but the series will put a human face on a dehumanized group of people. 

It cannot be said again that the United States has always struggled with two contradictory narratives: the one where it is a beacon of hope for the tired, hungry, and poor, versus the one where it has upheld numerous racist and xenophobic immigration policies. This is an issue that predates Trumpito, even if he has kicked it into it’s most degrading form. 

“I chose to produce this series, Living Undocumented because, over the past few years, the word ‘immigrant’ has seemingly become a negative word,” said Gomez. “My hope is that the series can shed light on what it’s like to live in this country as an undocumented immigrant firsthand, from the courageous people who have chosen to share their stories.”

Gomez is joined by executive producers Eli Holzman, Aaron Saidman, Mandy Teefey, Anna Chai, and Sean O’Grady. Chai will also co-direct the series.

“Living Undocumented is designed to illuminate one of the most important issues of our time. But rather than discussing this issue with only statistics and policy debates, we wanted viewers to hear directly from the immigrants themselves, in their own words, with all the power and emotion that these stories reflect.”

Humanizing immigrants is key

People don’t just bring guns into Walmarts to kill 22 innocent humans beings for no reason. It is no secret that President Trump’s dehumanizing language was a catalyst for the El Paso shooting. The suspect whose name shall not be invoked told officers he was looking to kill “Mexicans.” Mexicans — the Latinxs Trump referred to as rapists and criminals. The mass murderer also said he wanted to stop a “Hispanic Invasion,” in his manifesto. Trump called Central Americans “invaders.” 

According to Pew Research Center, this year they found that 58 percent of Latinx adults say they experienced discrimination because of their race or ethnicity. Across all races and ethnic groups, two-thirds of individuals surveyed say that expressing racist views has become more common since Trump was elected. 

This year, at a Trump rally, supporters were cheering about shooting immigrants. 

“How do you stop these people?” Trump asks. Then someone yelled back, “Shoot them.” Trump smiled. The crowd cheered. Three months later, the El Paso shooting took 22 lives.

“The language that criminalizes and makes Latinos out to be evil is affecting our own citizens and it’s going to have both short- and long-term consequences that we are starting to see in the Latino population,” Elizabeth Vaquera, an associate professor at George Washington University who studies vulnerable groups, told the Washington Post.

A Bipartisan Non-Issue Becomes A Partisan Issue

This immigration “issue” started off as a hoax but through Trump’s horrible policies he created this new immigration crisis. In 2017, when Trump took office, migrants arrested at the border were at the lowest level in three decades. 

Three former employees of U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security wrote in Politico, the border crisis is all Trump’s fault.

 “It is Donald Trump himself who is responsible. Through misguided policies, political stunts and a failure of leadership, the president has created the conditions that allowed the asylum problem at the border to explode into a crisis.” 

Public Religion Research Institute survey found that 80 percent of Democrats view the fact that the majority of the United States will be nonwhite by 2045 as a good thing, while 61 percent of Republicans say it is bad. 

The barrage of harmful rhetoric has turned what was not even a problem into a national crisis with opinions straddling partisan lines, and a heightened hatred of Latinx people. Living Undocumented might be exactly what this country needs.