Cambridge Analytica, the data analyst firm that helped Trump win the Presidency in the States, has admitted to working with Malaysian officials in past elections, influencing voter opinion.
The firm which has recently come under scrutiny after being banned by Facebook for not deleting personal data of users after obtaining it from a popular psychology app.
According to thesundaily.my, “Channel 4 News said it staged a ‘sting operation’ in which it said had secretly recorded top Cambridge Analytica executives claiming they could use bribes, former spies and Ukrainian sex workers to entrap politicians around the world. The sting operation was conducted as part of an ongoing investigation into Cambridge Analytica, a data consulting firm that worked with President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.”
As reported by The Sundaily, Mark Turnbull, managing director of CA Political Global, said this during a series of undercover videos filmed over the last year:
“If you’re collecting data on people and you’re profiling them that gives you more insight that you can use to know how to segment the population to give them messaging about issues that they care about and language, and imagery that they’re likely to engage with, and we use that in America, we use that in Africa, that’s what we do as a company.
“We’ve done it in Mexico, we’ve done it in Malaysia and now we’re going to Brazil,” Turnbull said, proceeding to mention Australia and China.
Reuters reported that British privacy regulators are seeking a warrant to search the offices of the political consultancy Cambridge Analytica late Monday following reports that the company may have improperly gained access to data on 50 million Facebook users.
However, according local news site, The Malaysian Insight, the company’s registered office listed on their website is actually a regular, gated community household occupied by the owner who has no knowledge of Cambridge Analytica.
The Malaysian Insight tried contacting Cambridge Analytica’s parent organisation, Strategic Communication Laboratories’ South East Asia head Azrin Zizal. They are awaiting a response.
Azrin Zizal has been involved with both the Donald Trump presidency campaign and the ‘Leave’ campaign in the Brexit referendum. He has company since 2015 and is their representative here.
The psychology app that was allegedly misused, thisisyourdigitallife, offered users a personality prediction test, describing itself on Facebook as “a research app used by psychologists”.
Some 270,000 people downloaded the app, allowing the app to access information such as the city listed on their profile, or content they had liked.
Facebook, which did not say how the data was used or misused, said it removed the app in 2015 when it learned of the violation, and was told from the creators that the data from the app had since been deleted.
In Malaysia, Cambridge Analytica supported Barisan Nasional (BN) in Kedah with a targeted campaign highlighting their school improvements since 2008. BN won Kedah back from Pakatan Rakyat in the 13th general with wins in 21 out of 36 state seats and 10 out of the 15 parliamentary seats in the state, as reported by The Malaysian Insight.
To learn more about the British company that has been influencing the political polls in countries across the world, allegedly through fake news, sex and spies, check out this documentary: