Oct 20, 2018 Last Updated 2:43 PM, Oct 18, 2018

Ex-Cambridge Analytica exec opens 'ethical' data firm

In the UK, former Cambridge Analytica (CA) exec Ahmad Al-Khatib has launched an 'ethically based' data analytics business called Auspex International.

Earlier this year, CA was accused of illegally collecting Facebook profiles which could be matched to electoral rolls. The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) is currently investigating how data belonging to an estimated 87 million Facebook users was improperly accessed, and has fined Facebook £500k for its part in the CA data breach.

Al-Khatib, who was previously a Director of CA parent company Emerdata, was hired by CA to rebrand the business before the data scandal broke. Positioning itself as a 'powerful agent of political and social change with the potential to deliver positive outcomes for millions', his new firm will focus on social and political campaigns in the Middle East and developing world.

Mark Turnbull, former MD of CA's International Political division, has been hired as Managing Director of the new business. Turnbull was exposed by an undercover Channel 4 News investigator, sitting alongside CA's Chief Executive Alexander Nix as he boasted about the company's ability to disseminate damaging information about clients' political rivals and compromise politicians by using young women as 'honeytraps'. According to the FT, Auspex will include seven other members of Turnbull's CA team.

Commenting on the new venture, Al-Khatib said: 'I believe very strongly in the positive impact that ethically based, data-driven communications can have, particularly in the developing world where modern communications techniques can dramatically improve the lives of ordinary people. Of course with the experience of CA we are acutely aware of the issues surrounding the use of data, and have taken all steps necessary to be fully compliant from day one. But we believe that modern communications techniques can help governments to understand their people better, anticipate social needs and govern more effectively'.

Source: MRWeb.com, July 13,2018