Mr Nix boasted about Cambridge Analytica’s work for Trump, saying: “We did all the research, all the data, all the analytics, all the targeting, we ran all the digital campaign, the television campaign and our data informed all the strategy.”
Separately, Mr Turnbull described how the company could create proxy organisations to discreetly feed negative material about opposition candidates on to the Internet and social media.
He said: “Sometimes you can use proxy organisations who are already there. You feed them. They are civil society organisations.. Charities or activist groups, and we use them – feed them the material and they do the work…
“We just put information into the bloodstream to the internet and then watch it grow, give it a little push every now and again over time to watch it take shape. And so this stuff infiltrates the online community and expands but with no branding – so it’s unattributable, untrackable.”
Cambridge Analytica’s senior executives were also filmed discussing a twin-track strategy to campaigning, putting out positive messages through the official Donald J Trump for President campaign, while negative material was pushed out through outside organisations.
Cambridge Analytica’s chief data scientist Dr Tayler said: “As part of it, sometimes you have to separate it from the political campaign itself. So in America you know there are independent expenditure groups running behind the campaign… Super pacs. Political action committees.
“So, campaigns are normally subject to limits about how much money they can raise. Whereas outside groups can raise an unlimited amount. So the campaign will use their finite resources for things like persuasion and mobilisation and then they leave the ‘air war’ they call it, like the negative attack ads to other affiliated groups.”
In a different meeting, Mr Turnbull described how the company created the “Defeat Crooked Hilary” brand of attack ads, that were funded by the Make America Number 1 super-PAC and watched more than 30 million times during the campaign.
Coordination between an official election campaign and any outside groups is illegal under US election law.
Announcing the chief executive’s suspension, the company said in a statement that “in the view of the board, Mr. Nix’s recent comments secretly recorded by Channel 4 and other allegations do not represent the values or operations of the firm and his suspension reflects the seriousness with which we view this violation.”
The company said it had asked Alexander Tayler, its chief data officer, “to serve as acting C.E.O. while an independent investigation is launched to review those comments and allegations.” [Continue reading…]
The information commissioner is seeking an urgent court warrant to enter the London headquarters of the elections consultancy Cambridge Analytica after the firm was caught in an undercover sting boasting about entrapping politicians, using honey traps and running fake news campaigns.
Elizabeth Denham said she had also demanded that Facebook halt a data audit of Cambridge Analytica, saying it could prejudice her investigation.
Cybersecurity consultants from Stroz Friedberg, who had been engaged by Facebook to do the audit, were at CA’s office in London on Monday evening when the ICO asked them to leave so the authorities could pursue their own investigation.
An ICO spokesman said the commission had issued a demand to access CA’s records and data.
Analytica has not responded to the commissioner by the deadline provided; therefore, the information commissioner is seeking a warrant to obtain information and access to systems and evidence related to her investigation,” the spokesman said. [Continue reading…]