Linkedin Is Now Populated By Fake Robot Recruiters With a Human Touch

This morning, I received the following inmail from Madeline Vasquez, a “Senior Staffing Manager” at “Network Search UK”.


We have a number of linkedin groups in common. Seeing that we share the same linkedin groups, can we establish contact for the purpose of bringing you closer to your career goals as i am reaching out to you for a team of experienced resume and career mentors.

To that end, we are offering a complimentary resume review that can address any mistakes you might have on your resume. We can evaluate your resume and advise you on how you can improve it. There will be no cost unless you require us to actually work on it.

If you are keen, do email your resume to email address

Madeline Vasquez

This is what Madeline looks like in her profile. Madeline Vasquez Linkedin

This is of course a way to gather c.v.’s and information on people, but what is more interesting, are the features of this particular bait or phishing strategy.

Real Humans?

Fake Linkedin profiles are easy to establish but likely to be time-consuming and difficult to scale.  Crucially, anyone interested in establishing several fake profiles would quickly run into the trouble of finding different pictures to accompany each profile.

So it helps that synthetic pictures and avatars can be created cheaply and in great quantities. The quality, while not superb, is probably good enough to trick the busy recipient of this inmail,

The advantage of putting a picture in a linkedin profile, is probably motivated by the fact that profiles with pictures are more likely to attract attention and increase the percentage of success in terms of people actually sending their c.v. without bothering to look closely at the picture.

Three Degree of Separation.

Like all her below friends, Madeline Vasquez is conveniently three degrees of separation from me. Close enough to create the illusion of this being a real person, but not that close that I could quickly check her credential. Had she been a friend of a friend, I could ask that person if and how he knew Ms. Vasquez.

Meet Johnnie Scott

Johnnie Scott Linkedin

Irma Bell

Irma Bell Linkedin

and Jillian Vaughn

Jillian Vaughn Linkedin

How exactly this particular stunt is achieve I can only guess. The number of connections these profiles feature is also relatively low but consistent, between 50 and 100. Is this by design or will it change as more people fall in the trap and add them to their circle?

You’ve Got a Past Therefore You Exist

Humans have personalities because they have a past, they have memories and a track record. In the most engaging scene in Blade Runner Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) interrogates Rachael (played by Sean Young) a young lady whom he suspects of being a replicant.

Rick later makes Rachael realise that all her memories have been implanted and therefore she is not human.

What these profiles also have in common, is that whoever set them up, has attempted to give them past, or track record. They all claim to have been to university. Jillian, is supposed to have studied at Birkbeck, Johnnie at Heythrop College and Irma at the University of Leicester.

They all have “interests” which is a way to communicate “no I am not a software programme, if I were, how could I have an interest in “Rock stacking and Programming” as in the case of Johnnie.

Finally, they all belong to groups and have skills.

Sergeant Star for All?

The Swedish series “Real Humans” (Humans in the UK and coming soon in the US)  demonstrates how our interaction with robots of near-human or better-than-human characteristics could dramatically change society.

We are not there yet. However, computing power increases and the cost of deploying increasingly sophisticated interaction with humans decreases. Have a chat with Sergeant Star  of the US Army if you haven’t already.

These trends challenge our brains to become ever more aware and subtle in differentiating between humans and other forms of artificial intelligence.

Uber France Leaders Arrested For Running Illegal Taxi Company

Wahyd Vannoni:

Uber France Leaders Arrested For Running Illegal Taxi Company

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

Uber France CEO Thibaud Simphal and Uber Europe GM Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty were both taken into custody today in Paris. The news was first broken by the AFP. The police started investigating on Uber in November 2014 and raided Uber’s office in Paris in March 2015.

The two executives were charged with two different allegations. First, according to them, Uber is running illegal taxi operations. Uber has been struggling with this charge in many countries, starting with the U.S. In 2010, the company had to change its original name from UberCab to Uber as taxi companies didn’t want to create any confusion.

Second, the police said that Uber France is concealing digital documents. It’s hard to tell what the police was looking for when they raided the French office in March. But apparently, some documents are missing and slowing down the investigation.

The transportation company executives weren’t taken into…

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Taylor Swift and That 1984 Apple Advert

A very clever cartoon by @burnssheehan


and this is the famous 1984 advert the cartoon is referring to.

Press Releases Best Practice Infographic

London Is Redefining Tech Startups Through Adventurous Capital

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

[tc_contributor_byline cb_profile=”” slug=”ismail-ahmed”]

London hit an important milestone recently, but you may have missed the news as it emerged with a characteristically British lack of fuss. For the first time, the city’s technology startups attracted in excess of half a billion dollars of VC funding in a single quarter – $646.98 million for the period January to March 2015.

The data, collected by London and Partners (the evangelical wing of the London Mayoralty) puts the city on course for a $2 billion-plus investment year. That feels a lot like progress when you consider that London’s tech firms scraped together a miserly $10 million in Q2 2010. However, on purely numerical terms, our achievements are still modest.

London’s 2014 funding total of $1.35 billion puts it on par with Redwood City, Calif., population 76,000 and home to Evernote, Reputation and Turn. Even more humbling is the fact that San Francisco-based Uber raised $3 billion on…

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Careers: BBC Recruits Head of Communication

The Communications Division supports the BBC’s strategic agenda by defending and enhancing the Corporation’s reputation. Through press, publicity and corporate affairs, the team helps win internal and external support for the BBC’s programmes and strategic choices.

Application on BBC Website

UK Election 2015 Party Manifesti Word Clouds

It is important that you read this article till the end for a list of caveats.

What do they really worry about?
You’ve got our word!

verba volant, scripta manent

What are the main parties in recent polls in England most worried about? One way to answer this question is to take at face value what it is that they have committed to in writing, in their official manifesti and using frequency analysis, to highlighted the most recurrent themes.


Taking only the top three most frequent keywords the table below gives ammunition for those who think that all parties are the same. The words, “people” and “work” appear in all manifesti except for UKIP’s where “people” shares fourth place with “national” at 81 mentions each.

It is also no surprise that most parties, with the notable exception of the Conservatives, enjoy talking about themselves. Labour, LibDem and UKIP’s party names appear in the top three list. (Find all links to data and references below).

Top three words mentioned in the manifesti of the following parties.

Party Most frequent words Frequency
Conservatives People 158
Conservatives Work 137
Conservatives Support 131
Labour People 163
Labour Work 152
Labour Labour (the party) 145
LibDem Democrats, Liberal (the party) 177, 160
LibDem Work 170
LibDem People 167
UKIP UKIP (the party) 191
UKIP EU (The European Union) 158
UKIP Britain, British 125, 97


While both the Conservatives and the LibDem mention “schools” only (101 times and 84 times respectively), Labour mentions both “education” 39 times and “schools” 39 times.

Party School and education mentions Total
Conservatives Schools, 101 101
LibDem Schools, 84 84
Labour Education, 39 + Schools, 39 78
UKIP Schools, 40 40


While both the Conservatives and the LibDem mention “schools” only (101 times and 84 times respectively), Labour mentions both “education” 39 times and “schools” 39 times.

Party Health-related mentions Total
LibDem Health, 98 + NHS, 55 153
UKIP Health, 42 + NHS, 42 84
Labour Health, 32 32
Conservatives No direct mention 0

national PLAY-OFFS

Among the two parties aspiring to nationalistic votes, the Conservatives mention “National” 96 times, “Britain” 94 times and “country” 85 times, whereas UKIP mention “Britain” 125 times, “British” 97 times and “UK” 89 times.

Total “nationalistic” mentions

Party Nationalistic mentions Total
UKIP Britain, 125 + British, 97 + UK, 89 311
Conservatives National 96 + Britain, 94 + British, 56 + UK, 49 295
LibDem UK, 96 + National, 82 + Britain, 57 235
Labour Britain, 58 + National, 49 107

It is important to understand the shortcomings of this approach. The number of mentions is only the beginning of your research as a voter. Frequency does not give any indication as to how this issue will be dealt with in terms of policy proposals.


For instance, all four manifesti mention the word “tax”.

Party “Tax” mentions Total
Conservatives 121 121
LibDem 88 88
UKIP 67 67
Labour 43 43

However, this simple table doesn’t tell the voter what each party intends to do about it, lower it, increase it, or keep it the same.

It is therefore essential to read all the documents for a more thorough understanding of what each party stands for.

Here are the links to each party’s manifesto, as well as the wordclouds in pdf format.


LibDem WordCloud Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2015

UKIP WordCloud UKIP Manifesto 2015

Labour WordCloud Labour Party Manifesto 2015

Conservatives WordCloud ConservativeManifesto2015

*The methodology is as follows, the text of each manifesto was submitted to a website that provides frequency analysis.