In 2016, the Cambridge Analytica worked for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
In a Guardian exclusive, a former employee explains how presentation showed techniques used to target voters in the U.S.
Cambridge Analytica was formed in 2013 as a subsidiary of its British parent company SCL group to participate in American politics.
CA is listed as a firm that is into data mining, data brokerage, data analysis with strategic communication for the electoral process.
Details of how the company acquires data and uses it was revealed by an ex-employee of CA.
The whistleblower revealed the juicy details to the Observer newspaper.
According to him, a psychology test app called “this is your digital life” was acquired by CA.
Through the app, the users were encouraged to take up a personality test.
CNBC reports that users were even paid to take the test.
Some of the tests were found on Facebook and among them are the likes of “Which celebrity do you look like.”
And if anyone has any idea how apps on Facebook work, CA’s app would have also asked for the user’s permission to access their profiles.
The issue now revolves around the ‘this is your digital life’ app which apparently did lots of damage in India.
This is where the problem starts. CA is accused of not getting the consent of users’ to access their profiles.
CA did not only collect the data and user profiles for its own use with claims against CA saying it distributed the data to others.
The app allegedly managed to get data of the profiles in the friend lists of the app users.
That, according to reports, gave CA access to data of 50 million users.
Using the data, based on the browsing patterns and preferences, CA targeted their campaign.
The UK’s Channel 4 aired a sting operation in which the now suspended CEO of CA, Alexander Nix revealed the company’s election strategies to the reporter who posed as a client.
The strategy reportedly includes the use of sex workers, bribes, misinformation and ‘entrapment’.
A firm by name Ovleno Business intelligence Pvt Ltd in India is believed to be involved in political campaigning, which is reportedly a partner organisation of CA.
Ovleno Business Intelligence had supposedly featured BJP, Congress and JD(U) in its clientele list but now, after the CA controversy, the site itself is unavailable.
We know the results of the Indian elections that gave BJP a massive victory. The question is how much did CA help in this victory.
Facebook seems to have realised that the app ‘this is your digital life’ did not abide by its rules only in 2015.
According to The Hindu, the social networking site then deleted the app from its platform and urged the app’s developer to destroy the data.
Reportedly, some data wasn’t destroyed. Facebook admitted that it did a mistake, but assured that corrective steps have been implemented long ago.
Reports also say that CA is being investigated by the UK’s electoral commission for its role in Brexit.
Meanwhile, in the US, investigation is underway to prove CA’s role in Trump campaign’s and the probable collaboration with Russian digital efforts.
Following the revelations in the Observer and the Guardian, the U.K. is investigating CA.
The BBC said it saw documents that prove CA meddled in elections from Nigeria to Trinidad and Tobago.
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