Microsoft’s Xandr (Potemkin Ad Broker) Setup to Deny GDPR Rights

The noyb team has filed a complaint against Microsoft’s 2022 subsidiary for building a broker system that intentionally evades GDPR protection of consumer rights.

Advertising broker Xandr (a Microsoft subsidiary) collects and shares the personal data of millions of Europeans for detailed targeted advertising. This allows Xandr to auction off advertising space to thousands of advertisers. But: although only one ad is ultimately shown to users, all advertisers receive their data. This may include personal details concerning their health, sexuality or political opinions. Also, despite selling its service as “targeted”, the company holds rather random information: the complainant apparently is both a man, a woman, employed and unemployed. This could allow Xandr to sell ad space to multiple companies who think that they are targeting a specific group. As if that were not enough, Xandr does not comply with a single access request. noyb has now filed a GDPR complaint.

“Potemkin” refers to a facade or fake construct designed to deceive others into thinking a situation is better than it really is. The term originates from a story about the fake villages supposedly built to impress Empress Catherine II during her journey to Crimea in 1787:

  • Surface-level compliance: Xandr might appear to comply with GDPR regulations on the surface.
  • Lack of substance: Behind the facade, there might be inadequate measures to actually protect user data or honor GDPR rights.
  • Deception: Xandr could be designed to give the impression of compliance while actually making it difficult for users to exercise their GDPR rights.
  • Complexity as obfuscation: Xandr might be intentionally complex to discourage users from pursuing their data rights.
  • Misdirection: Resources ostensibly provided for GDPR compliance might actually serve to confuse or deter users.

Notably Xandr’s privacy center hasn’t updated since 2022 when Microsoft took it over. GDPR articles 15 and 17 are said to be violated, which noyb suggests will bring fines upwards of 20 million Euros.

Tesla Safety Feature Fraud is a “Death Trap”

Story after story tells the same sad story, how Tesla is a death trap putting innocent families on public roads in huge debt and grave danger.

…corrective steering would kick in, trying to move my 3,500+ lb Lithium Ion detonator at 50 mph out of a danger that simply did not exist, and almost into an adjacent car. Or a divider. Or a median. [After it predictably crashed itself]…the vehicle had been fully repaired, but I expressed to both the insurance company and Tesla that my family didn’t feel safe stepping foot inside of it as I felt like it was a death trap.

I was assured that the car was safe, but I wasn’t so trusting, thinking of all the weird things that had occurred previously with it, especially regarding its autopilot safety features.

Tory Party Loses UK Election So Badly Ex-PM Doesn’t Even Have a Seat

This is the huge buried election news lede, if you ask me:

The Tories won the smallest number of seats since the Tory Party came into being in 1832, a truly staggering failure to drum up enthusiasm for any more Conservative rule. They hold just 121 seats, having lost 252 since the last general election, compared with Labour’s whopping 412. Liz Truss became the first former prime minister in the history of the nation to lose her seat.

Some believe that the last Tory PM, who just half-heartedly walked his party out of power, fits an odd leadership pattern.

The prime ministership itself has been a revolving door, queasily spinning the incompetent as well as the downright villainous into the top job. David Cameron, Theresa May, Boris Johnson, Liz Truss, and Rishi Sunak. Each of their inadequacies was slightly different: Johnson was an egotistical liar, Truss a blundering clown, Sunak an out-of-touch billionaire, and so on. But together, they all oversaw a grinding degradation of every element of life in the U.K.

They spelled deregulation wrong.

Although at first glance that sounds truly awful, we also have to remember that in some circles outside of Wall Street such characteristics have become strangely normative (e.g. emerging “techbro” silicon valley, overrun by soulless bean-counting “hedge” thinkers).

We don’t have best-seller lists and book awards. What we have is this—the number at the end of the day.

The more villainous, the more clownish… the more likely?

People who cry “bad for business” in criticizing Twitter, Tesla or SpaceX for example, maybe don’t understand the shift in their business to the numbers behind classic military-industrial-congressional corruption.

Twitter was taken over by a wealthy white nationalist who fled the 1988 fall of Apartheid, rebranded the company with a literal Nazi swastika, who now automates information warfare with mass political disinformation… and nobody yet seems to think any of it appears extreme enough to warrant national security level precautions.

Lighting money on fire doesn’t make sense until you consider Twitter is perhaps being paid and authorized by Russia to light those fires (e.g. how Stanford was federally funded for fire-bombing Dresden, kick-starting Silicon Valley).

That’s a symptom of an even broader and less obvious problem in governance regarding the technology firms today amassing power.

We may as well be describing why Wiz landed in court, or Snowflake blames customers for the systemic lack of Snowflake security, or why Google describes massive AI integrity breaches as an exciting new feature instead of a failure of leadership.

The U.K. election, in that sense, hints at a healthy shift towards honesty, and away from public officials pandering to overly political right-wing self-interest technology firms.

Think hard about how Palantir suspiciously “won” a deal to privatize the U.K. NHS data for no good reasons (e.g. some speculate an ex-PM soon could show up on the payroll as thanks).

And then think about American elections ever taking a similar hard shift away from the right towards the center (e.g. Teapot Dome Scandal is allegedly the stuff of how Palantir “won” U.S. Army contracts).. back to enforcing an honest government logically serving the people it supposedly represents.