You don’t have to be Carole Cadwalladr to remember Cambridge Analytica and its questionable use of 87 million individuals’ Facebook data in the 2016 US presidential election. Cambridge Analytica was part of the SCL group of companies bought by Emerdata Limited in January 2018. Cambridge Analytica’s former CEO, Alexander Nix, was caught in a Channel 4 sting boasting about entrapping political opponents with prostitutes and blackmailing them:
Days later, the Information Commissioner’s Office’s shiny jacketed staff raided the SCL group offices in London and the SCL companies filed for bankruptcy protection weeks later. They are now in liquidation.
Not content with losing Emerdata’s investors millions of dollars, Nix had first made sure he was paid $8.775m by Emerdata before the SCL group collapsed. Nix admitted his blame for the failure of the SCL group and he was subsequently banned from acting as a director for 7 years.
Now Nix has resurfaced. In a true display of a sense of entitlement that can only come from an Old Etonian, Nix has sued Emerdata for a further $10 million plus that he has claims he is owed by the company whose subsidiaries he acknowledged to the Directors’ Disqualification Unit his actions destroyed. Guido suspects that Nix will soon to live to regret this chutzpah. Get your popcorn ready.
Dominic Cummings’s Substack fan club certainly kept him busy over the weekend. So far, he’s received over 400 questions and sent 100 replies on topics varying from Corbyn and the culture wars, to Biden and border policy. Guido’s collated the best material below…
The most entertaining exchange was with Carole Cadwalladr, who forked out the £10 fan club fee to fire off a five-paragraph diatribe on her political grievances, lambasting Cummings on everything from Vote Leave campaign spending to his involvement in Boris’s election. The latter of which she adds: “by your own reckoning, this has led to tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths”…
Cummings responded in equal length; on Cadwalladr’s claims that the Electoral Commission [EC] acted “unlawfully“, Cummings accuses it of being “an incompetent and confused entity”:
“Remember: the EC literally refused repeatedly to take evidence from the key 6 people involved!! […] Yes they came to [those] findings but the most extraordinary thing was they literally hired lawyers to fight lawyers hired by the crucial 6 to try to force them to take evidence from us.”
In response to allegations over Vote Leave’s relationship with Cambridge Analytica, Cummings added:
“Remember: CA had nothing to do with us, we never had the infamous Facebook data your mate Wylie had, there was no conspiracy!”
Turning to Carole’s ongoing campaign to spuriously ruin Darren Grimes’s life, Dom has pointed out the failure of the Electoral Commission to interview key witness during their biased investigation, which was “of course partly why the courts threw out the Grimes case, cos the EC had totally botched it… Also NB. the courts threw out Grimes case but this got no coverage cos of covid!” Carole is yet to respond…
Read the rest of Cummings’s views below:
Julian Knight knocked it out of the park this morning at his DCMS Select Committee, as conversation turned to the Cambridge Analytica circus. Questioning the Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham, Knight asked if Denham had felt “used as a means to bring about a political objective, as in the undermining of a democratic decision.” Knight contextualised the situation, saying:
“There was a degree of confirmation bias about much of the reporting around this, we had much lauded prize winning journalists coming out with quite bizarre conspiracy theories, diagrams and that sort of thing.
We had disjointed Netflix films, we had witnesses who claimed to be whistleblowers but who were actually in the market for selling information in the same way as Cambridge Analytica was being accused of.”
Denham admitted that her investigation may have been “coloured by others” in that way, going on to say “we tried our best” to look past the colourful characters in the story and produce objective reports.
Denham went on to confirm that Brittany Kaiser, who was Netflix’s star ‘whistleblower’ in their Cambridge Analytica film refused to speak to her, and went on to imply that others such as Chris Wylie and his associates may not have done either. This is despite their willingness to talk extensively to the media. Guido awaits her written submission for more hypocritical names. The Remainer media circus is finally packing up, and the mess its leaving behind doesn’t look good.
The Information Commission has finally concluded its 3 year investigation into Cambridge Analytica. Its comprehensive report, shared with the Digital, Culture and Media and Sport Select Committee, will not make happy reading for the Carole Cadwalladrs of this world. The investigation reviewed 42 laptops and computers, 700 TB of data, 31 servers, over 300,000 documents, and a wide range of material in paper form and from cloud storage devices. Guido brings you some select findings…
On whether SCL Elections Ltd and Cambridge Analytica were involved in the referendum campaign:
“From my review of the materials recovered by the investigation I have found no further evidence to change my earlier view that SCL/CA were not involved in the EU referendum campaign in the UK”
On data practices of organisations on both sides of the EU referendum campaign:
“I identified no significant breaches of the privacy and electronic marketing regulations and data protection legislation that met the threshold for formal regulatory action.”
On Evidence of Russian involvement:
“We did not find any additional evidence of Russian involvement in our analysis of material contained in the SCL / CA servers we obtained.”
The report does highlight dodgy data practices from Cambridge Analytica, with the Commissioner writing “I have also confirmed my previous understanding about the poor data practices at the company, which, had they sought to continue trading, would likely have attracted further regulatory action against them by my office.” It’s clear Cambridge Analytica were shysters. Yet not ones who changed the outcome of the Brexit referendum. Guido can’t wait for Carole’s climbdown…
Carole Cadwalladr and David Lammy have been spluttering furiously into their cornflakes all morning after Nick Clegg told the Today Programme that there was “absolutely no evidence” that Russia or Cambridge Analytica influenced Brexit. Clegg said “we have a duty to explain fact from some of the allegations that have been made”. Clearly not a duty that Carole has ever felt bound by herself…
“Much though I understand why people want to reduce that eruption in British politics to some kind of plot or conspiracy, some use of new social media through opaque means, I’m afraid the roots to British euroscepticism go very, very deep…”
Never mind the fact that the official report from the Information Commissioner’s Office already crushed all of Carole’s grand conspiracies about Facebook, Cambridge Analytica and Brexit, raising questions about her pet whistleblower Chris Wylie instead. Clegg hasn’t triggered anyone this badly since tuition fees…
If she wants to start addressing disinformation on social media she could start with her own Observer ‘scoop’ over the weekend in which she deliberately mistranscribes a video of Steve Bannon talking about Boris. Bannon says “we went back and forth over text”, instead Carole transcribes this as “back and forth over the text” which then forms the crux of her story. The same people who’d be the first to say Bannon is a pathological liar are now taking an entirely unsubstantiated boast from him as the gospel truth before distorting it even further themselves…
Channel 4 execs were busy celebrating their BAFTA victory last night for their Cambridge Analytica exposé, despite mysteriously failing to put any real scrutiny on the key person at the heart of it all. Sadly one person who wasn’t sharing the love was Pulitzer-nominated journalist Carole Cadwalladr, who bitterly complained:
“Its fine, lads. You take the BAFTA. I’ll take the abuse.”
Who knew that making legal threats and trying to use data protection laws against your own collaborators isn’t good for your working relationships?
At least Carole doesn’t have to commiserate on her own, famously successful Twitter lawyer Jolyon Maugham cruelly suffered yet another defeat at the hands of the law last Friday as a judge threw out his final attempt to stop the UK having enough medicines in the event of no deal Brexit. Poor old Carole and Jolyon just can’t get a break…