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

Luminar 3.0.1 - Powerful, adaptive, conf...
Luminar is the new full-featured image editor that adapts to the way you edit photos. Over 300 essential tools to fix, edit, and enhance your photos with comfort. The future of photo editing is here... Read more
iMazing 2.8.5 - Complete iOS device mana...
iMazing (was DiskAid) is the ultimate iOS device manager with capabilities far beyond what iTunes offers. With iMazing and your iOS device (iPhone, iPad, or iPod), you can: Copy music to and from... Read more
OnyX 3.5.7 - Maintenance and optimizatio...
OnyX is a multifunction utility that you can use to verify the startup disk and the structure of its system files, to run miscellaneous maintenance and cleaning tasks, to configure parameters in the... Read more
TeamViewer 14.1.9025 - Establish remote...
TeamViewer gives you remote control of any computer or Mac over the Internet within seconds or can be used for online meetings. Find out why more than 200 million users trust TeamViewer! Free for non... Read more
Deeper 2.4.0 - Enable hidden features in...
Deeper is a personalization utility for macOS which allows you to enable and disable the hidden functions of the Finder, Dock, QuickTime, Safari, iTunes, login window, Spotlight, and many of Apple's... Read more
A Better Finder Attributes 6.16 - Change...
A Better Finder Attributes 6 allows you to change JPEG & RAW shooting dates, JPEG EXIF meta-data tags, file creation & modification dates, file flags and deal with invisible files. Correct... Read more
Boom 3D 1.2.3 - 3D surround sound and ph...
Boom 3D is a revolutionary app with 3D Surround Sound and phenomenally rich and intense audio that is realistic and works on any headphones. Features 3D surround sound Built-in audio player... Read more
Dash 4.6.1 - Instant search and offline...
Dash is an API documentation browser and code snippet manager. Dash helps you store snippets of code, as well as instantly search and browse documentation for almost any API you might use (for a full... Read more
iClock 4.6.5 - Customizable menu bar clo...
iClock replaces the old Apple's default menu bar clock with more features, customization and increases your productivity. Features: Have your Apple or Google calendar instantly available from the... Read more
Fantastical 2 2.5.7 - Create calendar ev...
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

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

PGC London '19: Kaijack Card Attack...
What would happen if giant monsters were indestructible? Wait, let me rephrase that. What would happen if giant monsters were real and indestructible? The answer, according to Kaijack Card Attack, is that they'd play a gamw somewhere between... | Read more »
Pre-register now for epic fantasy RPG Fi...
Final Blade is an epic fantasy RPG that revolves around two warring nations and one extremely powerful sword. Having already found great success in Taiwan and South Korea, the developer is now bringing its acclaimed free-to-play iOS and Android... | Read more »
The top 3 best iPhone and iPad games com...
The end of the week has rolled around. It's been a pretty good seven days for mobile gaming - if you want proof you can click here and check out our five favorite games that came out this week - but now we're going to turn our attention to the... | Read more »
The best games for iPhone and iPad that...
Every week here at 148Apps we like to make sure that you're up to date with all the awesome games that have come out for iPhone and iPad over the past 7 days. We pick the cream of the crop to ensure that you don't have to play anything boring and... | Read more »
The top 3 best idle games for iPhone and...
Sometimes you want to play a game where you don't really have to do anything. Don't worry, we're not here to judge you, we're exactly the same. We love some action when we're in the right mood, but sometimes we want something a little more chill -... | Read more »
The top 5 best games with great stories...
Last week we took a look at the best games for iOS that you could waste hours and hours of your life playing, so now we thought we'd have a look at the top 5 games for iPhone and iPad that have great stories. These are the tales that have stuck... | Read more »
Langrisser Mobile preview - Seminal TRPG...
Langrisser Mobile is set to finally break the revolutionary TRPG franchise's 20 year silence when the it finally makes its way to touchscreens the world over at the end of the month. The original Langrisser game (known as Warsong in the west)... | Read more »
Everything you need to win at Dragalia L...
Want to up your Dragalia Lost game? You've come to the right place. Here at 148Apps, we've been digging deep into Nintendo's latest gacha game to find the best tips, tricks, and strategies to share with all of our future co-op team mates (read: you... | Read more »
How will World of Warcraft, Starcraft, a...
You might have heard that Blizzard is bringing Diablo to mobile with Diablo Ultimate. There's been plenty of controversy surrounding that decision, and it's meant that a really important piece of information has been glossed over a little. Namely... | Read more »
The top 3 best iPhone and iPad games com...
Our mission here at 148Apps is pretty simple - we want to make sure that you're playing the best iPhone and iPad games in the world. Which is why, every Friday, we like to give you an insight into the incredible games that are set to rock your... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

T-Mobile offers customers 64GB Apple iPhone X...
Trade in an eligible phone at T-Mobile, plus sign up for their $30/month Unlimited plan, and they will include a 64GB iPhone Xr for just $10/month extra for up to 4 lines. That’s $40 per month,... Read more
Amazon offers blowout prices on 10.5″ Apple i...
Amazon has 10.5″ Apple iPad Pros on sale for $150 off MSRP this week, with prices starting at $499. These are the cheapest prices currently available for 10″ iPad Pros from any Apple reseller, and... Read more
Lowest Apple Mac mini price ever: Only $379 t...
B&H Photo has previous-generation 1.4GHz Mac minis available today for $379 including free shipping. That’s $120 off original MSRP for this model, and it’s the cheapest price we’ve ever seen for... Read more
Space Gray and Silver 2018 13″ 1.6GHz/256GB M...
B&H Photo has new Space Gray and Silver 2018 13″ 1.6GHz/256GB MacBook Airs on sale for $100 off MSRP, or $1299. Their prices are the lowest available for these new models from any Apple reseller... Read more
Amazon has 2018 9.7″ Apple iPads on sale toda...
Amazon is offering 9.7″ WiFi iPads with Apple Pencil Support for $30 off MSRP today, with prices starting at $299. These are the same iPads found in Apple’s retail and online stores: – 9.7″ 32GB WiFi... Read more
Amazon has 2018 9.7″ Apple iPads on sale toda...
Amazon is offering 9.7″ WiFi iPads with Apple Pencil Support for $30 off MSRP today, with prices starting at $299. These are the same iPads found in Apple’s retail and online stores: – 9.7″ 32GB WiFi... Read more
Get a clearance 10.5″ iPad Pro from Apple sta...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2017 10.5″ iPad Pros available for $100-$170 off original MSRP, depending on the model. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, shipping is free, and... Read more
Get a clearance 10.5″ iPad Pro from Apple sta...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2017 10.5″ iPad Pros available for $100-$170 off original MSRP, depending on the model. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, shipping is free, and... Read more
B&H has 2017 13″ MacBook Airs on sale sta...
B&H Photo has 2017 13″ 1.8GHz MacBook Airs available today for $100-$270 off MSRP, with models available starting at $899. Shipping is free: – 13″ 1.8GHz/128GB MacBook Air (MQD32LL/A): $899, $100... Read more
B&H has 2017 13″ MacBook Airs on sale sta...
B&H Photo has 2017 13″ 1.8GHz MacBook Airs available today for $100-$270 off MSRP, with models available starting at $899. Shipping is free: – 13″ 1.8GHz/128GB MacBook Air (MQD32LL/A): $899, $100... Read more

Jobs Board

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
Sephora Product Consultant - *Apple* Blosso...
Sephora Product Consultant - Apple Blossom Mall Location:Winchester, VA, United States- Apple Blossom Mall 1850 Apple Blossom Dr Job ID:1056553 Date:Today 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
Omni-Channel Associate - *Apple* Blossom Ma...
Omni-Channel Associate - Apple Blossom Mall Location:Winchester, VA, United States- Apple Blossom Mall 1850 Apple Blossom Dr Job ID:1074107 Date:Today Job Read more
Home Commission Associate - *Apple* Blossom...
Home Commission Associate - Apple Blossom Mall Location:Winchester, VA, United States- Apple Blossom Mall 1850 Apple Blossom Dr Job ID:1079517 Date:October Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.