The Northern Spy: history’s most ironic question
TweetFollow Us on Twitter

The Northern Spy: history’s most ironic question

By Rick Sutcliffe

The Spy notes and passes on verbatim with little comment (it is its own commentary) the following advertisement:

Is your target audience completely persuaded?

Let Vologda Analytica do it for you. Our extensive data sets and state-of-the-art algorithms can analyze any target population and build your campaign. Whether your product is political, household or industrial goods, or your services, our techniques have proven effective with a wide variety of clients and situations and will work in yours as well.

We begin by comparing your targets with our general population, analyzing their vulnerabilities within their particular social environment, and weaving a fabric of data around them that reinforces their proclivities in directions most favourable to you. This can be as simple as reinforcing the beliefs they evidence by virtue of the context of their very social connections--a few posts here and there from people they know can work wonders, and your targets are unlikely ever to check the origin of those posts.

We can also insert testimonials from people whom your prospective clients, customers, or voters follow on social media or have in their contact lists. Peer pressure is a powerful and effective tool.

News items are our speciality. Whether we can find actual appropriate ones or not, our highly skilled staff of writers can create such items to order for any application--whether it be negative news about your opponents or competitors, pictures of and testimonials from celebrities (some of them even real people) using or endorsing your products. We can also generate data or test results from labs or opinion polls to support you whose authenticity few people could question.
If you prefer, we have a lineup of political, economic, and scientists with eminent-sounding names who are ready to express well-crafted evidence-based concerns about whatever it is your opponents or competitors are saying, doing, or making. Depending on your situation and the state of you current advertising campaign, these efforts can range from explicit to subtle.

For what we deliver, our fees are modest and our results are guaranteed. If you do not see measurable improvement within ninety days in people's favourable views of you, your message, or your product, we will cheerfully refund our fee.

The Spy managed to get an interview with Ivan Pilatovich, the president and COO of Vologda Analytica.

Q. How did you obtain all the personal data you use to target your influence?

Telephone books, publicly available birth and death records, obituaries in newspapers, corporate and organizational lists of officers and contacts, and by scraping people's own sites and those of their social media friends. You would be astonished how much information is freely available for harvesters like us.

Q. What about privacy laws?

Come, come. There is no such thing as privacy any more. Get used to it. Hey, they or their friends, associates or employers posted the information, so it's ours as well as much as it is their own.

Q. How do you sift out the audience to target for a campaign?

From the readily available traces they leave of their lives--membership in certain organizations, who their friends are and what they believe, others' referrals, postings, their responses to questionnaires we seed...

Q. (interrupting) Do people realize for what you are going to use the data they give you by answering those questions?

We pay a small fee for their answers, and they sign a disclaimer. It's all perfectly legal. We then collate the data with their internet tracks and our other information, and voila! a complete profile of purchasing and political habits, views, and proclivities.

Q. For how many people have you these profiles?

That's a moving statistic. Last time I checked it was about two hundred forty million. But that was several weeks ago. It may be double by now.

Q. And you guarantee your results?

Experience, my good fellow. We've swayed a referendum in England, turned a presidential campaign around, and turned a dozen obscure brands and services into household names. We know our techniques work.

Q. But surely your business can best be described as generating fake news to influence people.

Quite the contrary. Once we determine what people are already inclined to believe, we simply reinforce it. We are best described as telling people what their itching ears already want to hear.

Q. Have you no concern for truth?

A. What is truth?

--The Northern Spy

Opinions expressed here are entirely the author's own, and no endorsement is implied by any community or organization to which he may be attached. Rick Sutcliffe, (a. k. a. The Northern Spy) is professor of Computing Science and Mathematics, Associate Dean of Science and Chair of the University Senate at Canada's Trinity Western University. He has been involved as a member of or consultant with the boards of several organizations, and participated in developing industry standards at the national and international level. He is a co-author of the Modula-2 programming language R10 dialect. He is a long time technology author and has written two textbooks and ten alternate history SF novels, one named best ePublished SF novel for 2003. His columns have appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers (paper and online), and he's a regular speaker at churches, schools, academic meetings, and conferences. He and his wife Joyce have lived in the Aldergrove/Bradner area of B.C. since 1972.

Want to discuss this and other Northern Spy columns or Rick's SF? Check out the Arjay blog at http://www.arjay.bc.ca/blog/

URLs for Rick Sutcliffe's Arjay Enterprises:

The Northern Spy Home Page: http: //www. TheNorthernSpy. com
opundo : http: //opundo. com
Sheaves Christian Resources : http: //sheaves. org
WebNameHost : http: //www. WebNameHost. net
WebNameSource : http: //www. WebNameSource. net
nameman : http: //nameman. net

General URLs for Rick Sutcliffe's Books:
Author Site: http: //www. arjay. ca
Publisher's Site: http: //www. writers-exchange. com/Richard-Sutcliffe. html
The Fourth Civilization--Ethics, Society, and Technology (4th 2003 ed. ): http: //www. arjay. bc. ca/EthTech/Text/index. html

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Astropad 2.3 - Turn your iPad into a gra...
Astropad transforms your iPad into a professional graphics tablet for your Mac. Use your iPad to draw directly into Photoshop and any other Mac creative tools you know and love. Built for the needs... Read more
ScreenFlow 8.1 - Create screen recording...
ScreenFlow is powerful, easy-to-use screencasting software for the Mac. With ScreenFlow you can record the contents of your entire monitor while also capturing your video camera, microphone and your... Read more
Tower 3.2.0 - Version control with Git m...
Tower is a Git client for OS X that makes using Git easy and more efficient. Users benefit from its elegant and comprehensive interface and a feature set that lets them enjoy the full power of Git.... Read more
Acorn 6 6.2 - Bitmap image editor.
Acorn is a new image editor built with one goal in mind - simplicity. Fast, easy, and fluid, Acorn provides the options you'll need without any overhead. Acorn feels right, and won't drain your bank... Read more
Cocktail 12.0 - General maintenance and...
Cocktail is a general purpose utility for macOS that lets you clean, repair and optimize your Mac. It is a powerful digital toolset that helps hundreds of thousands of Mac users around the world get... Read more
Paperless 2.5.0 - $49.95
Paperless is a digital documents manager. Remember when everyone talked about how we would soon be a paperless society? Now it seems like we use paper more than ever. Let's face it - we need and we... Read more
Fantastical 2.5.4 - Create calendar even...
Fantastical is the Mac calendar you'll actually enjoy using. Creating an event with Fantastical is quick, easy, and fun: Open Fantastical with a single click or keystroke Type in your event details... Read more
Overflow 3.0.4 - Application launcher th...
Overflow is an application designed to quickly launch applications, open documents, or access folders while reducing the number of items needed in your Dock. Anything you want can be added to the... Read more
Numi 3.19 - Menu-bar calculator supports...
Numi is a calculator that magically combines calculations with text, and allows you to freely share your computations. Numi combines text editor and calculator Support plain English. For example, '5... Read more
Things 3 3.7 - Elegant personal task man...
Things is a task management solution that helps to organize your tasks in an elegant and intuitive way. Things combines powerful features with simplicity through the use of tags and its intelligent... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

The best iPhone games like Pokemon Go
Pokemon GO is still the, if you'll excuse the pun, go-to game if you want some AR action on your phone. But it's not the only choice out there, and if you've got a hankering for something a bit different, then your eyes might already have started... | Read more »
These are the iPhone games to look forwa...
Every Friday here at 148Apps we like to do one thing. And that one thing is make sure that you've got a really good idea of what you're going to be playing come this time next week. That's right, it's time for us to round-up the best games that... | Read more »
We talked to Tony Swatton, legendary Hol...
Sometimes we like to tell you about the awesome stuff going on around mobile gaming, not just about how awesome mobile games are. And this is definitely one of those times. Because what's more awesome than real-life weapons based on things from... | Read more »
Which of these 5 games do you think shou...
You know what time it is, right? It's time for you, our esteemed and charming readership, to choose which of the five games below deserves to be crowned our game of the week. It's a pretty good week as well, so we expect that every single vote is... | Read more »
The winner of last week's game of t...
It's been another close run thing in the 148Apps game of the week award, but after checking on some possible areas of contention with the Frankfurt bureau, we can finally reveal that the winner of last week's coveted title is the impressively deep... | Read more »
The best iPhone games like Starcraft
Starcraft sits at the top of the RTS tree for a number of very good reasons. It also isn't on mobile, again, for a number of very good reasons. But that doesn't mean you can't find a way to indulge your sci-fi, competitive, massive, or engaging RTS... | Read more »
The best cyberpunk games for mobile
Cyberpunk games have come and gone through the years, but CD Projekt Red’s upcoming Cyberpunk 2077 has reignited everyone’s interest in dystopian hacker worlds lately. It also got me interested in exploring the App Store to see what the best... | Read more »
Take back a fallen kingdom in new 3D MMO...
If you’ve ever craved to be the hero of your own story within a colourful, yet endangered land in need of saving, Final Destiny could be the journey you’ve been waiting for. A new fantasy 3D MMORPG that sees you team up or fight against others, the... | Read more »
The 5 best dogs in mobile gaming
Not too long ago we talked about all of the finest kitty-cats mobile gaming had to offer, but what about the best dogs on the market? You don't have to have thumbs to be an awesome protagonist. [Read more] | Read more »
The 5 best iPhone games like The Room
The Room has had a massive impact on the world of mobile gaming. Not only is it a brilliant adventure, it also shows how the touchscreen controls on your iPhone can be turned into something far more elegant and tactile than just a bunch of buttons... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Apple offers refurbished 12″ iPad Pros for up...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2017 12″ iPad Pros available for $120-$190 off MSRP, depending on the model. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: – 64GB 12″... Read more
Apple offers Certified Refurbished 10″ iPad P...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2017 10.5″ iPad Pros available for $100-$170 off MSRP, depending on the model. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: – 64GB 10... Read more
Save with these Apple refurbished 9″ iPad Pro...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2016 9″ iPad Pros available starting at $469. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: – 32GB 9″ iPad Pro WiFi: $469 original MSRP... Read more
US Cellular offers new iPhone Xs and Xs Max f...
US Cellular is offering any iPhone Xs or iPhone Xs Max for $800 off for new customers. Their promotion reduces the price of Apple’s new iPhones to a low of $199 for 64GB iPhone Xs models ranging up... Read more
MacPrices Columnist Charles W. Moore Passes A...
NEWS: 09.21.18-: Charles W. Moore (1951-2018), columnist at MacPrices, passed away this past Sunday, September 16 at home in rural Nova Scotia, a province in Canada, after fighting for years with... Read more
Get a new iPhone Xs or Xs Max for $100 off Ap...
Boost Mobile is offering the new iPhone Xs and Xs Max for $100 off from September 21st to October 9th. Their discount reduces the cost of an Xs to $899 for the 64GB models and $999 for the 64GB Xs... Read more
Final weekend for Apple’s 2018 Back-to-School...
Purchase a new Mac or iPad Pro using Apple’s Education discount, and take up to $400 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution with a .edu email address qualify for... Read more
Clearance 2017 15″ 2.9GHz MacBook Pros availa...
B&H Photo has clearance 2017 15″ 2.9GHz Touch Bar MacBook Pros available for up to $800 off original MSRP. B&H charges sales tax in NY & NJ only, and shipping is free: – 15″ 2.9GHz Touch... Read more
Apple Should’ve Created A 4-inch Smartphone W...
EDITORIAL: 09.19.18- Apple created the new iPhone XR as an entry level model catered to those on a budget and to bring the high end experience of the iPhone X to the masses at a lower price but I... Read more
Apple offering Certified Refurbished 2017 13″...
Save $230-$200 on the purchase of a 2017 13″ 2.3GHz non-Touch Bar MacBook Pro with Certified Refurbished models at Apple. In many cases, Apple’s refurbished prices are the lowest available for each... Read more

Jobs Board

Hair Stylist - *Apple* Blossom Mall - JCPen...
Hair Stylist - Apple Blossom Mall Location:Winchester, VA, United States- Apple Blossom Mall 1850 Apple Blossom Dr Job ID:1065040 Date:Yesterday Job Read more
Cashier - *Apple* Blossom Mall - JCPenney (...
Cashier - Apple Blossom Mall Location:Winchester, VA, United States- Apple Blossom Mall 1850 Apple Blossom Dr Job ID:1042611 Date:Today Job Description Read more
Operations Associate - *Apple* Blossom Mall...
Operations Associate - Apple Blossom Mall Location:Winchester, VA, United States- Apple Blossom Mall 1850 Apple Blossom Dr Job ID:1044618 Date:Today Job Read more
*APPLE* Training Institute Program Assistant...
## Posting Summary: The Gordie Center seeks applications for the position of APPLE Training Institute Program Assistant. The position assists the APPLE Training Read more
Best Buy *Apple* Computing Master - Best Bu...
**634841BR** **Job Title:** Best Buy Apple Computing Master **Location Number:** 001027-Lake Worth-Store **Job Description:** The Core Apple Computing Master is Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.