This article is from the source 'guardian' and was first published or seen on . The next check for changes will be

You can find the current article at its original source at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/mar/21/cambridge-analytica-offered-politicians-hacked-emails-witnesses-say

The article has changed 5 times. There is an RSS feed of changes available.

Version 0 Version 1
Cambridge Analytica was offered politicians' hacked emails, witnesses say Cambridge Analytica was offered politicians' hacked emails, witnesses say
(35 minutes later)
The data analytics firm that worked on the Donald Trump election campaign was offered material from Israeli hackers who had accessed the private emails of two politicians who are now heads of state, witnesses have told the Guardian.The data analytics firm that worked on the Donald Trump election campaign was offered material from Israeli hackers who had accessed the private emails of two politicians who are now heads of state, witnesses have told the Guardian.
Multiple sources have described how senior directors of Cambridge Analytica – including its chief executive, Alexander Nix – gave staff instructions to handle material provided by computer hackers in election campaigns in Nigeria and St Kitts and Nevis.Multiple sources have described how senior directors of Cambridge Analytica – including its chief executive, Alexander Nix – gave staff instructions to handle material provided by computer hackers in election campaigns in Nigeria and St Kitts and Nevis.
They claim there were two episodes in 2015 that alarmed members of staff and led them to refuse to handle the data, which they assumed would have been obtained illegally.They claim there were two episodes in 2015 that alarmed members of staff and led them to refuse to handle the data, which they assumed would have been obtained illegally.
SCL Elections, Cambridge Analytica’s parent company, denied taking possession of or using hacked or stolen personal information from such individuals for any purpose in either campaign.SCL Elections, Cambridge Analytica’s parent company, denied taking possession of or using hacked or stolen personal information from such individuals for any purpose in either campaign.
The revelations are the latest to focus attention on Cambridge Analytica, whose activities are being investigated in the US by the special counsel Robert Mueller as part of his inquiry into possible Russian collusion in the 2016 US presidential election.The revelations are the latest to focus attention on Cambridge Analytica, whose activities are being investigated in the US by the special counsel Robert Mueller as part of his inquiry into possible Russian collusion in the 2016 US presidential election.
In December 2016, while researching the US presidential election, Carole Cadwalladr came across data analytics company Cambridge Analytica, whose secretive manner and chequered track record belied its bland, academic-sounding name. Her initial investigations uncovered the role of US billionaire Robert Mercer in the US election campaign: his strategic “war” on mainstream media and his political campaign funding, some apparently linked to Brexit. She found the first indications that Cambridge Analytica might have used data processing methods that breached the Data Protection Act. That article prompted Britain’s Electoral Commission and the Information Commissioner’s Office to launch investigations whose remits include Cambridge Analytica’s use of data and its possible links to the EU referendum. These investigations are continuing, as is a wider ICO inquiry into the use of data in politics. While chasing the details and ramifications of complex manipulation of both data and funding law, Cadwalladr came under increasing attacks, both online and professionally, from key players. The Leave.EU campaign tweeted a doctored video that showed her being violently assaulted, and the Russian embassy wrote to the Observer to complain that her reporting was a “textbook example of bad journalism”. But the growing profile of her reports also gave whistleblowers confidence that they could trust her to not only understand their stories, but retell them clearly for a wide audience. Her network of sources and contacts grew to include not only former employees who regretted their work but academics, lawyers and others concerned about the impact on democracy of tactics employed by Cambridge Analytica and associates. Cambridge Analytica is now the subject of special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s probing of the company’s role in Donald Trump’s presidential election campaign. Investigations in the UK remain live.In December 2016, while researching the US presidential election, Carole Cadwalladr came across data analytics company Cambridge Analytica, whose secretive manner and chequered track record belied its bland, academic-sounding name. Her initial investigations uncovered the role of US billionaire Robert Mercer in the US election campaign: his strategic “war” on mainstream media and his political campaign funding, some apparently linked to Brexit. She found the first indications that Cambridge Analytica might have used data processing methods that breached the Data Protection Act. That article prompted Britain’s Electoral Commission and the Information Commissioner’s Office to launch investigations whose remits include Cambridge Analytica’s use of data and its possible links to the EU referendum. These investigations are continuing, as is a wider ICO inquiry into the use of data in politics. While chasing the details and ramifications of complex manipulation of both data and funding law, Cadwalladr came under increasing attacks, both online and professionally, from key players. The Leave.EU campaign tweeted a doctored video that showed her being violently assaulted, and the Russian embassy wrote to the Observer to complain that her reporting was a “textbook example of bad journalism”. But the growing profile of her reports also gave whistleblowers confidence that they could trust her to not only understand their stories, but retell them clearly for a wide audience. Her network of sources and contacts grew to include not only former employees who regretted their work but academics, lawyers and others concerned about the impact on democracy of tactics employed by Cambridge Analytica and associates. Cambridge Analytica is now the subject of special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s probing of the company’s role in Donald Trump’s presidential election campaign. Investigations in the UK remain live.
The firm is under pressure to explain how it came to have unauthorised access to millions of Facebook profiles. Politicians in the US and UK have accused it of giving misleading statements about its work, and the information commissioner has demanded access to the company’s databases.The firm is under pressure to explain how it came to have unauthorised access to millions of Facebook profiles. Politicians in the US and UK have accused it of giving misleading statements about its work, and the information commissioner has demanded access to the company’s databases.
In all, the Guardian and Observer has spoken to seven individuals with knowledge of Cambridge Analytica and its campaign in Nigeria in early 2015.In all, the Guardian and Observer has spoken to seven individuals with knowledge of Cambridge Analytica and its campaign in Nigeria in early 2015.
Hired by a Nigerian billionaire to support the re-election of Goodluck Jonathan, Cambridge Analytica was paid an estimated £2m to orchestrate a ferocious campaign against his rival, the opposition leader Muhammadu Buhari. Jonathan lost out to Buhari in the presidential race. There is no suggestion Jonathan knew of the covert operation.Hired by a Nigerian billionaire to support the re-election of Goodluck Jonathan, Cambridge Analytica was paid an estimated £2m to orchestrate a ferocious campaign against his rival, the opposition leader Muhammadu Buhari. Jonathan lost out to Buhari in the presidential race. There is no suggestion Jonathan knew of the covert operation.
Staff working on the campaign say in early 2015 they met Israeli cybersecurity contractors in Cambridge Analytica’s offices in Mayfair, London. Employees say they were told the meeting was arranged by Brittany Kaiser, a senior director at the firm.Staff working on the campaign say in early 2015 they met Israeli cybersecurity contractors in Cambridge Analytica’s offices in Mayfair, London. Employees say they were told the meeting was arranged by Brittany Kaiser, a senior director at the firm.
The Guardian and Observer have been told the Israelis brought a laptop from their office in Tel Aviv and handed employees a USB stick containing what they believed were hacked personal emails.The Guardian and Observer have been told the Israelis brought a laptop from their office in Tel Aviv and handed employees a USB stick containing what they believed were hacked personal emails.
Sources said Nix, who was suspended on Tuesday, and other senior directors told staff to search for incriminating material that could be used to damage opposition candidates, including Buhari.Sources said Nix, who was suspended on Tuesday, and other senior directors told staff to search for incriminating material that could be used to damage opposition candidates, including Buhari.
“It made everyone feel really uncomfortable,” said one source. “They wanted people to load it into their email programmes.” “It made everyone feel really uncomfortable,” said one source. “They wanted people to load it into their email programs.”
People “freaked out”, another employee said. “They wanted to have nothing to do with it.”People “freaked out”, another employee said. “They wanted to have nothing to do with it.”
One member of the campaign team told the Guardian and Observer that the material they believed had been hacked included Buhari’s medical records. “I’m 99% sure of that. Or if they didn’t have his medical records they at least had emails that referred to what was going on.”One member of the campaign team told the Guardian and Observer that the material they believed had been hacked included Buhari’s medical records. “I’m 99% sure of that. Or if they didn’t have his medical records they at least had emails that referred to what was going on.”
When news of the London meeting filtered back to Cambridge Analytica staff working on the ground in Nigeria, it caused panic, the source said. Local security advisers told the firm’s team to leave the country immediately because if opposition supporters found out, they could turn on them.When news of the London meeting filtered back to Cambridge Analytica staff working on the ground in Nigeria, it caused panic, the source said. Local security advisers told the firm’s team to leave the country immediately because if opposition supporters found out, they could turn on them.
“What is clear is that the security of their employees didn’t even seem to have occurred to them,” said one former employee. “It was a very serious situation and they had to evacuate immediately.”“What is clear is that the security of their employees didn’t even seem to have occurred to them,” said one former employee. “It was a very serious situation and they had to evacuate immediately.”
An SCL Elections spokesperson said team members working on the Nigeria campaign remained in the country throughout the original campaigning period, and left in accordance with the company’s campaign plan.An SCL Elections spokesperson said team members working on the Nigeria campaign remained in the country throughout the original campaigning period, and left in accordance with the company’s campaign plan.
Alexander James Ashburner NixAlexander James Ashburner Nix
4242
Eton, then Manchester University, where he studied history of artEton, then Manchester University, where he studied history of art
Nix worked as a financial analyst in Mexico and the UK before joining SCL, a strategic communications firm, in 2003. From 2007 he took over the company’s elections division, and claims to have worked on more than 40 campaigns globally. Many of SCL’s projects are secret, so that may be a low estimate. He set up Cambridge Analytica to work in America, with investment from US hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer. He has been both hailed as a visionary – featuring on Wired’s list of “25 Geniuses who are creating the future of business” – and derided as a snake oil salesman.Nix worked as a financial analyst in Mexico and the UK before joining SCL, a strategic communications firm, in 2003. From 2007 he took over the company’s elections division, and claims to have worked on more than 40 campaigns globally. Many of SCL’s projects are secret, so that may be a low estimate. He set up Cambridge Analytica to work in America, with investment from US hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer. He has been both hailed as a visionary – featuring on Wired’s list of “25 Geniuses who are creating the future of business” – and derided as a snake oil salesman.
Cambridge Analytica has come under scrutiny for its role in elections on both sides of the Atlantic, working on Brexit and Donald Trump’s election team. It is a key subject in two inquiries in the UK – by the Electoral Commission, into the firm’s possible role in the EU referendum, and the Information Commissioner’s Office, into data analytics for political purposes – and one in the US, as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Trump-Russia collusion. The Observer revealed this week that the company had harvested millions of Facebook profiles of US voters, in one of the tech giant’s biggest ever data breaches, and used them to build a powerful software program to predict and influence choices at the ballot box. Emma Graham-HarrisonCambridge Analytica has come under scrutiny for its role in elections on both sides of the Atlantic, working on Brexit and Donald Trump’s election team. It is a key subject in two inquiries in the UK – by the Electoral Commission, into the firm’s possible role in the EU referendum, and the Information Commissioner’s Office, into data analytics for political purposes – and one in the US, as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Trump-Russia collusion. The Observer revealed this week that the company had harvested millions of Facebook profiles of US voters, in one of the tech giant’s biggest ever data breaches, and used them to build a powerful software program to predict and influence choices at the ballot box. Emma Graham-Harrison
The Guardian has seen an email from Nix dated 26 January 2015, referring to the “Israeli team”.The Guardian has seen an email from Nix dated 26 January 2015, referring to the “Israeli team”.
It says: “Although it is outside of our remit, I have asked for an update on what the Israeli team has been working on and what they will be delivering between now and the election.”It says: “Although it is outside of our remit, I have asked for an update on what the Israeli team has been working on and what they will be delivering between now and the election.”
In a second episode in early 2015, sources said the same Israeli team that had worked on the Nigeria campaign obtained private information of the St Kitts and Nevis politician Timothy Harris. At the time he was an opposition leader, and is now prime minister.In a second episode in early 2015, sources said the same Israeli team that had worked on the Nigeria campaign obtained private information of the St Kitts and Nevis politician Timothy Harris. At the time he was an opposition leader, and is now prime minister.
Sources have said staff did not want to handle what appeared to be stolen material. “Nobody wanted to have anything to do with it,” one employee said.Sources have said staff did not want to handle what appeared to be stolen material. “Nobody wanted to have anything to do with it,” one employee said.
A statement from SCL Elections said: “During an election campaign, it is normal for SCL Elections to meet with vendors seeking to provide services as a subcontractor. SCL Elections did not take possession of or use any personal information from such individuals for any purposes. SCL Elections does not use ‘hacked’ or ‘stolen’ data.”A statement from SCL Elections said: “During an election campaign, it is normal for SCL Elections to meet with vendors seeking to provide services as a subcontractor. SCL Elections did not take possession of or use any personal information from such individuals for any purposes. SCL Elections does not use ‘hacked’ or ‘stolen’ data.”
The statement added: “Members of the SCL Elections team that worked on the Nigeria campaign remained in country throughout the original campaigning period, although the election was rescheduled and SCL was not retained for the entirety of the extended campaign period.The statement added: “Members of the SCL Elections team that worked on the Nigeria campaign remained in country throughout the original campaigning period, although the election was rescheduled and SCL was not retained for the entirety of the extended campaign period.
“Team members left in accordance with the company’s campaign plan. Team members were regularly briefed about security concerns prior to and during deployment and measures were taken to ensure the team’s safety throughout.”“Team members left in accordance with the company’s campaign plan. Team members were regularly briefed about security concerns prior to and during deployment and measures were taken to ensure the team’s safety throughout.”
The revelations will add to the questions facing Cambridge Analytica and the techniques it uses to influence elections for its clients.The revelations will add to the questions facing Cambridge Analytica and the techniques it uses to influence elections for its clients.
In the UK, the Electoral Commission and the Information Commissioner’s Office are investigating the firm for breaches of electoral and data protection law.In the UK, the Electoral Commission and the Information Commissioner’s Office are investigating the firm for breaches of electoral and data protection law.
Cambridge AnalyticaCambridge Analytica
The Cambridge Analytica FilesThe Cambridge Analytica Files
NigeriaNigeria
St Kitts and NevisSt Kitts and Nevis
AfricaAfrica
AmericasAmericas
newsnews
Share on FacebookShare on Facebook
Share on TwitterShare on Twitter
Share via EmailShare via Email
Share on LinkedInShare on LinkedIn
Share on PinterestShare on Pinterest
Share on Google+Share on Google+
Share on WhatsAppShare on WhatsApp
Share on MessengerShare on Messenger
Reuse this contentReuse this content