Far more than 87 million people may have had their Facebook data harvested by Cambridge Analytica, according to evidence from former employee Brittany Kaiser. Speaking to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee, Kaiser said Cambridge Analytica had a suite of personality quizzes designed to extract personal data from the social network, of which Aleksandr Kogan's This Is Your Digital Life app was just one example. In evidence provided to the committee, Kaiser wrote: "The Kogan/GSR datasets and questionnaires were not the only Facebook-connected questionnaires and datasets which Cambridge Analytica used. I am aware in a general sense of a wide range of surveys which were done by CA or its partners, usually with a Facebook login – for example, the'sex compass' quiz. "I do not know the specifics of these surveys or how the data was acquired or processed.
Personal information gathered from price comparison websites may have been used without people's knowledge or consent by pro-Brexit campaigners in the European referendum. An ex-director of Cambridge Analytica told parliament last week that she believed the Leave.EU campaign, headed by Nigel Farage and bankrolled by Arron Banks, may have breached data protection laws by using people's private information without consent. She said she had seen with her "own eyes" how Leave.EU had apparently targeted customers of Eldon Insurance – owned by Banks – using their private data to promote anti-Europe messaging. Banks, Leave.EU and Eldon have vehemently denied having shared any such data, either with each other or with Cambridge Analytica. But a "subject access request" submitted to Eldon has revealed that it holds data not just on its own customers, but also on people who have submitted a query to a price comparison website (PCW), which involves them agreeing to the site's privacy terms.
If a 29-year-old Peugeot 309 is the answer, it's fair to wonder: what on earth is the question? In fact, I had no idea about either the question or the answer when I submitted a "subject access request" to Eldon Insurance Services in December last year. Or that my car – a vehicle that dates from the last millennium – could hold any sort of clue to anything. If there's one thing I've learned, however, in pursuing the Cambridge Analytica scandal, it's that however weird things look, they can always get weirder. Because I was simply seeking information, as I have for the last 16-plus months, about what the Leave campaigns did during the referendum – specifically, what they did with data.
"We had a guy called Matthew Richardson who'd known Nigel for a long time and he's always looked after the Mercers. The Mercers had said that here's this company that we think might be useful." He said that Mercer, Farage and co had all met at a conference in Washington. "The best dinner we ever went to. Around that table were all the rejects of the political world. And the rejects of the political world are now effectively in the White House.
For two years, observers have speculated that the June, 2016, Brexit campaign in the U.K. served as a petri dish for Donald Trump's Presidential campaign in the United States. Now there is new evidence that it did. Newly surfaced e-mails show that the former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, and Cambridge Analytica, the Big Data company that he worked for at the time, were simultaneously incubating both nationalist political movements in 2015. Emma Briant, an academic expert on disinformation at George Washington University, has unearthed new e-mails that appear to reveal the earliest documented role played by Bannon in Brexit. The e-mails, which date back to October of 2015, show that Bannon, who was then the vice-president of Cambridge Analytica, an American firm largely owned by the U.S. hedge-fund billionaire Robert Mercer, was in the loop on discussions taking place at the time between his company and the leaders of Leave.EU, a far-right nationalist organization.