Posts in Press Releases

Press Release: Fair Vote UK launches crowdfunder to fight Cambridge Analytica-related data case against Arron Banks

06/09/2019 Posted by News, Press Releases 0 thoughts on “Press Release: Fair Vote UK launches crowdfunder to fight Cambridge Analytica-related data case against Arron Banks”

Fair Vote UK launches crowdfunder to fight Cambridge Analytica-related data case against Arron Banks

 

Fair Vote UK has today launched a crowdfunder in order to pursue further legal action against Arron Banks and his companies to determine whether UK citizens’ data was off-shored to be used without their consent. 

 

Last year Brittany Kaiser, former Cambridge Analytica employee, said while giving testimony to the DCMS select committee that Eldon Insurance and Big Data Dolphins were storing and using British citizen’s data in Mississippi. This was further backed up by research done by Dr. Emma Briant, who brought forward audio recordings of Andy Wigmore (Director of Communications for Leave.EU) where Mr. Wigmore suggests UK citizens’ data was illegally stored in Mississippi.

 

In response to this revelation, Fair Vote UK immediately secured legal counsel in Mississippi and pursued a preservation order over this data so that the companies in question could not destroy or tamper with it. They were – at the time – granted a temporary injunction. Fair Vote UK went to Mississippi to testify in the hope of being granted a permanent injunction.

 

The Information Commissioner’s Office wrote a letter strongly supporting Fair Vote UK’s pursuit of this data, and stated its desire to investigate the data in question:

 

“Preservation and access to this data is of significant importance to the ICO’s current investigation. For this reason, and in light of potential uncertainty as to whether the data will remain preserved beyond the hearing on 5 June 2018, the ICO lends its support to Fair Vote Project’s claim for permanent injunctive relief.”

 

Fair Vote UK was unsuccessful in their first attempt, with the court noting certain criteria it would like the entity to meet. Fair Vote UK has now met – to our knowledge – that criteria and thus refiled their motion.

 

Arron Banks and his group of companies have not yet admitted offshoring of UK citizens’ data despite officers being on tape saying they did in fact offshore data, which is further evidenced by emails obtained during the first hearing.

 

Fair Vote UK Director Kyle Taylor said: “We don’t want to stop our pursuit. If this injunction is obtained, it could set a precedent and open the door to other cases where individuals can seek to discover and repatriate illegally held data – an issue we now know is a global one.

 

“While the UK agonises over its political future, calls to defend our democracy have missed the fact our democracy hasn’t been up to the job for quite some time. Data and democracy are now intimately linked. We need now to ask for full democratic accountability. To get there we need to hold any individual or organisation who has abused the weaknesses in our data-driven democratic processes to account.”

 

“This is not about Brexit and for us never has been, this is about the right of the people to chart their own democratic destinies free from manipulation and that means their data needs to be protected.”

 

About the need for the crowdfunding, Taylor added: “While we have been fortunate to have had pro-bono legal support and some early donors, to continue this lawsuit we need to crowdfund for legal fees and associated costs. It is likely we will end up back in Court. We are up against a very well-funded opposition. Arron Banks’ group of companies chose independently to fight our efforts to obtain information and documents, which raises some very serious questions. We believe strongly that this case needs to be seen through, and we’re grateful for any support.”

 

ENDS

For press enquiries please contact sara@fairvote.uk or call 07554 665 940

Notes

If you use any part of Kyle Taylor’s quotation please include a link to the crowdfunder.

Link to crowdfunder: https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/data-arronbanks/

Fair Vote UK files motion to reopen case in Mississippi against companies associated with Arron Banks

16/04/2019 Posted by News, Press Releases 0 thoughts on “Fair Vote UK files motion to reopen case in Mississippi against companies associated with Arron Banks”

Fair Vote UK files motion to reopen case in Mississippi against companies associated with Arron Banks

While giving testimony to the DCMS select committee, Brittany Kaiser, former Cambridge Analytica employee, said that Arron Bank’s company Big Data Dolphins was storing and using British citizen’s data at the University of Mississippi.

In response to this revelation, Fair Vote UK immediately sought legal counsel in Mississippi and pursued a preservation order over this data so that the companies in question could not destroy or tamper with it. Fair Vote UK successfully obtained two separate restraining orders preventing destruction. However, the case was later dismissed on jurisdictional grounds, thereby dissolving the prior restraints against destruction.

There are now six major developments that weigh in favour of the court reconsidering its dismissal of the plaintiff’s complaint on jurisdictional grounds.

The Mississippi court granted the motion to dismiss filed by defendants Big Data Dolphins LTD and Eldon Insurance Services LTD on the grounds that Mississippi did not have personal jurisdiction over the nonresidents defendants. Just three months later, the defendants nullified the court’s findings by filing their own lawsuit in against the University of Mississippi – affirming that Mississippi does indeed have jurisdiction over them.

Big Data Dolphins and Eldon Insurance have failed to fully disclose what personal data they possess.
The Information Commissioner’s Office fined Eldon Insurance for its misuse of sensitive personal data and started an audit in November 2018.

The National Crime Agency started investigating Eldon Insurance, its owner Arron Banks and Elizabeth Bilney in November 2018.

Parliament released Disinformation and ‘fake news’: Final Report, a report that detailed the “porous relationship” between Eldon Insurance and Leave.EU.

Big Data Dolphins and Eldon Insurance have a relationship with data scientist Dr. Domenico Mimmo Parisi, the founder and head of National Strategic Planning & Analysis Research Center’s at Mississippi State University, who recently accepted a position with the Five Star Movement, a right-wing political party in Italy.

Kyle Taylor, Director of Fair Vote UK, said: “The six major developments since the case was dismissed illustrate why the court should reconsider the dismissal.

Big Data Dolphins and Eldon Insurance have now consented to litigate the very issue they hotly contested just a few months ago. It’s important to remember this isn’t a suit claiming that they have offshore data, it is a preservation order to ensure nothing is destroyed while the relevant bodies can determine whether data protection laws were broken. If there was no misconduct, we see no reason why Eldon or Big Data Dolphins to oppose the motion.”

Click here to read the full motion.

Fair Vote UK welcomes Labour party policy adoption of key digital democracy reforms

06/02/2019 Posted by News, Press Releases 0 thoughts on “Fair Vote UK welcomes Labour party policy adoption of key digital democracy reforms”

Today Tom Watson announces Labour party proposals to rebalance the distorted digital market by establishing a new statutory regulator with powers to prevent market abuse and break up monopolies, introducing a Digital Bill of Rights and a legal Duty of Care to give more powers and protections back to consumers, particularly children and introducing Digital Democracy Guarantees – new rules to protect our democracy from subversion online.

Fair Vote UK’s white paper on digital democracy first published in April 2018 – was one of the first calls for such changes following the whistleblower allegations relating to private data taken from Facebook and misuse of private data in the EU referendum by Vote Leave. Since then, they have actively worked for legislative change that regulate social media platforms, enshrine citizens’ digital rights and fundamentally change rules to safeguard our democracy from foreign interference and disinformation online.

Kyle Taylor, Director of Fair Vote UK said:

“This is a really important first step in finally starting to tackle these serious issues facing our democracy. It has been almost a year since allegations of law-breaking and data theft emerged and more than six months since the Electoral Commission found Vote Leave guilty of breaking Electoral Law. There is an active NCA investigation into Arron Banks and Leave.EU and the ICO is also investigating further allegations of data crimes. It is obvious we need independent regulation of digital platforms and serious reforms to digital spaces so they cannot undermine our democratic institutions.

Tom Watson’s announcement today is an important first step and now the government should follow the opposition’s lead and introduce legislation to set up a new statutory regulator, enshrine digital rights into law and overhaul campaigning rules to protect our elections from foreign interference and disinformation. The evidence is clear. This shouldn’t be that difficult.”

Facebook moves to make UK political ads ‘transparent’

17/10/2018 Posted by News, Press Releases 0 thoughts on “Facebook moves to make UK political ads ‘transparent’”

From today, Facebook will be rolling out a tool that will attempt to make political adverts transparent.

Following revelations brought forward by Chris Wylie, Cambridge Analytica whistleblower and Brexit whistleblower, Shahmir Sanni, Facebook has slowly introduced measures to prevent fake news and foreign intervention into elections.

Kyle Taylor, Director of Fair Vote UK, said: “Facebook didn’t really want to introduce transparency, they were well aware of these issues for quite some time. It’s a shame that the Europe has suffered three democratic processes, that we know of, to have been affected by the lack of transparency in political advertising – the Brexit referendum, the referendum on the 8th Amendment in Ireland and our recent General Election. While this is a start, self-regulation is not enough to ensure proper behaviour. This needs to be part of electoral law with adequate deterrents to guarantee these giant corporations don’t hijack our democracy again.”

Hillary Clinton joins Damian Collins and Tom Watson in calling for the public inquiry into the EU Referendum that Fair Vote UK is fighting to make a reality

09/10/2018 Posted by News, Press Releases 0 thoughts on “Hillary Clinton joins Damian Collins and Tom Watson in calling for the public inquiry into the EU Referendum that Fair Vote UK is fighting to make a reality”

Hillary Clinton has joined Damian Collins MP and Tom Watson MP in calling for an inquiry into misconduct during the Brexit referendum, saying that democracy is in crisis and that Conservative party is failing democracy.

Fair Vote UK are pursuing a judicial review claim for a public inquiry into Brexit because of rampant irregularities including illegal activity, Russian interference and data hacking.

Fair Vote UK and Bindmans LLP have sent a pre-action letter to the government raising concerns over the decision not to hold a full public inquiry, which has attracted support from Labour’s Deputy Leader Tom Watson MP and chair of the DCMS committee Conservative MP Damian Collins

So far Fair Vote UK has raised over £30,000 to pursue the judicial review. Fair Vote UK are appealing for donations for the legal challenge through the Crowd Justice website. 100% of funds raised goes directly to the legal costs.

Kyle Taylor, Director of Fair Vote UK, said: “Hillary Clinton has joined an ever increasing chorus of voices calling for an urgent inquiry into what on earth happened during the Brexit referendum. Clinton rightly sees the failure of our Government to conduct an investigation into what happened as a total abdication of their responsibility as protectors of and believers in democracy. ”

Shahmir Sanni, the Brexit whistleblower, said: “It is astounding that the Government has thus far refused to carry out a full public inquiry into what happened during the Brexit referendum, if it hadn’t been for the evidence I brought forward we might not even know that Vote Leave broke electoral law in the pursuit of their goals. The suggestion that an inquiry is an attempt to undermine Brexit is ridiculous and to be honest, an irrelevant accusation. It is about one thing and one thing only, democracy. I urge the people of the UK who care about protecting their rights as citizens to determine the future of their country to back Fair Vote’s judicial review.”

Fair Vote UK launches Judicial Review to challenge May’s government over refusal to hold a public inquiry into the Brexit referendum

30/09/2018 Posted by News, Press Releases 0 thoughts on “Fair Vote UK launches Judicial Review to challenge May’s government over refusal to hold a public inquiry into the Brexit referendum”
On Monday, Fair Vote UK and Bindmans LLP sent a letter to the government to challenge Theresa May’s decision not to hold a public inquiry into the referendum. Over the weekend, Fair Vote received endorsements from a cross-party coalition of MPs who are urging the Prime Minister to hold a public inquiry and protect our democracy. You can read these endorsements in our press release below.

Fair Vote UK and Bindmans LLP have been crowdfunding for a judicial review to challenge the government’s refusal to hold an inquiry into illegal activity during the Brexit referendum.

The government rejected earlier calls for an inquiry claiming that it was an attempt to subvert or disrupt ongoing negotiations with the EU. Fair Vote UK and Bindmans LLP called this irrational as an inquiry would have no bearing on negotiations or the outcome. “By not holding an inquiry the UK makes it a certainty that future elections will be tainted in the same way.” said Kyle Taylor, Fair Vote UK.

Fair Vote UK and Bindmans LLP have sent a pre-action letter to the government raising concerns over the decision not to hold a full public inquiry, which has attracted support from Labour’s Deputy Leader Tom Watson MP and chair of the DCMS committee Conservative MP Damian Collins.

So far Fair Vote UK has raised over £30,000 to pursue the judicial review but needs an additional £70,000 to take the legal action to the next stage.

Fair Vote UK are appealing for donations for the legal challenge through the Crowd Justice website.

Tom Watson MP, Deputy Leader, Labour Party, said: “Mueller has shown that we need to follow the money – and the lies – to get to the truth about how votes are unfairly won. Given what we know about law-breaking, Russian involvement and massive data abuse issues, it is essential that we have a full public inquiry into what happened in the referendum.  We need to know what went wrong so we can fix it and safeguard our democracy. Fair Vote’s judicial review is timely and important and I hope it will force a Government rethink.”

Shahmir Sanni, the Brexit whistleblower, said: “It is astounding that the Government has thus far refused to carry out a full public inquiry into what happened during the Brexit referendum, if it hadn’t been for the evidence I brought forward we might not even know that Vote Leave broke electoral law in the pursuit of their goals. The suggestion that an inquiry is an attempt to undermine Brexit is ridiculous and to be honest, an irrelevant accusation. It is about one thing and one thing only, democracy. I urge the people of the UK who care about protecting their rights as citizens to determine the future of their country to back Fair Vote’s judicial review.”

Alistair Carmichael MP, Liberal Democrats, said: “It’s very worrying that Theresa May has refused to conduct a full public inquiry into what we know was illegal activity during the referendum, we must protect the sanctity of our democracy and make sure this doesn’t happen again. I back Fair Vote’s call for a public inquiry and hope we finally get the answers we as citizens need.”

Catherine West MP, Labour, said: “I strongly support this call for a Public Inquiry into irregularities in the Vote Leave Campaign. We need to be sure that our democratic processes are fair and not subject to dodgy donations or authoritarian foreign governments who seek to influence and undermine domestic policy. With new technology rapidly changing election practice, it is crucial that the Electoral Commission is sufficiently robust to manage elections and provides full confidence that our democracy is not being undermined.”

Lord Foulkes of Cumnock, Labour, said: “I fully support Fair Vote’s call for a public inquiry into the irregularities in the EU Referendum and their demand for a Judicial Review into the Prime Minister’s refusal to set up such an inquiry. The irregularities and outside interference should result in the Referendum being declared null and void. I will be raising this in the House of Lords on 22nd. October.”

Kyle Taylor, Director of Fair Vote UK, said: “The UK urgently needs its own Mueller investigation. The Government’s decision not to hold a full public inquiry into the Brexit referendum is unlawful and we are challenging it. We know that Vote Leave cheated and overspent by a considerable amount. Not to mention opaque donors, suspicions of Russian interference and data companies using questionable tactics. All this has led to such significant public concern that only a Public Inquiry headed by a judge with formal powers to compel witnesses can find out what truly happened.”

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

Fair Vote UK  was set up to tackle the issue of data misuse, voter manipulation and lack of transparency in elections head-on. We are committed to ensuring the institutions that protect our democratic processes are fit for purpose in a digital age.

Fair Vote UK took the decision to publish the whistleblower evidence for everyone to see. The evidence we have so far can be seen on our website, because the public deserve to know the truth about what’s happening in our democracy.

Electoral Commission may have made a mistake but Vote Leave still broke the law

14/09/2018 Posted by News, Press Releases 0 thoughts on “Electoral Commission may have made a mistake but Vote Leave still broke the law”

The High Court has ruled that the Electoral Commission (EC) misunderstood the law regarding donations. Vote Leave in light of this ruling now claim they only gave the donation because the EC said it was permissible in an email correspondence, wilfully  ignoring the clear stipulation in the same email that coordination would make any donation unlawful. Coordination is exactly what the EC found Vote Leave and BeLeave guilty of.

Kyle Taylor, Director of Fair Vote UK, said “We’ve said from the very beginning of this whole sorry affair that the Electoral Commission needs more powers and deep reform and we welcome Matthew Elliott’s consensus on this matter.

The key thing to remember here is that this ruling by the High Court does not in any way invalidate the ruling the EC reached, the EC did not at any point advise Vote Leave that they could break Common Plan Expenditure rules, meaning Vote Leave still broke the law. This crucial fact seems to be missing in the reactions to the High Court ruling.

The EC clearly states on their website following their investigation that they found overwhelming evidence of a common plan. In the emails from the EC that Matthew Elliott has published on Brexit Central it is clear that any donation would be considered unlawful if made under a common plan.

The EC’s misleading advice around spending laws indicates we must have comprehensive reform to make our laws clearer and more democratic but this ruling does not change the simple fact that Vote Leave and BeLeave engaged in illegal campaign coordination. As much as Matthew Elliott tries to obfuscate the truth, we cannot ignore that Vote Leave and BeLeave are responsible for breaking the law.

The Electoral Commission is the most important election regulator in this country. We must ensure that it is operating properly and that our laws reflect the realities of modern campaigning. The fact that yet more is coming to light regarding errors made in the Brexit referendum should give decision-makers pause for thought.

Matthew Elliott and other Brexiteers are using this ruling to once again deny responsibility for their own crimes. They have spent the past few months denigrating one of the fundamental institutions of our democracy, the Electoral Commission and are now being purposefully deceptive to cast even more doubt on our democratic process.

While Vote Leave will claim they were given misleading advice and therefore cannot be held accountable, we mustn’t forget that ignorance of the law is not and has never been a get out jail free card.”

NOTES TO EDITORS

https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/i-am-a/journalist/electoral-commission-media-centre/news-releases-donations/vote-leave-fined-and-referred-to-the-police-for-breaking-electoral-law

Fair Vote UK’s proposed Electoral Commission reforms: https://dev-ltbc.pantheonsite.io/home/electoral-reform/

Fair Vote UK launch class-action suit against Facebook

30/07/2018 Posted by News, Press Releases 0 thoughts on “Fair Vote UK launch class-action suit against Facebook”

Fair Vote UK launch class-action suit against Facebook with Bindmans LLP in wake of DCMS committee’s interim report on “fake news.”

In early July the ICO reported that Facebook had violated the Data Protection Act. Today, in the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee’s interim report on disinformation and “fake news” – leaked by Dominic Cummings of Vote Leave – the chair Damian Collins MP made it clear that Facebook had made it incredibly easy for user data to be harvested without their consent. It is clear something must be done.

In an effort to seek remedy for those whose personal and private information was taken without their consent, Kyle Taylor, Director of Fair Vote UK and victim of these activities, is – with Bindmans LLP – preparing a class-action lawsuit against Facebook.

Tamsin Allen of Bindmans LLP, said ‘We agree with Damian Collins MP that “data crimes are real crimes, with real victims”.  Accordingly, this week, we are taking the first formal steps in proceedings against Facebook for breaches on a vast scale of the agreement between the company and its users, and breaches of UK personal data rules.  Whilst Facebook has now informed those affected, the lack of protection provided by the company over the victim’s data has become woefully apparent during the Committee’s investigation’.

Kyle Taylor, Director of Fair Vote UK and one of the Claimants in the Facebook claim said ‘It is now abundantly clear the status quo with regard to how we hold internet giants to account does not work. The solution is urgent reform to properly regulate and oversee companies like Facebook. Because the breaches took place before the GDPR came into effect, the fines are simply not great enough to deter this behaviour. As such, we are hoping as many of the nearly 1.1 million people who had their data used without their consent will join our claim to hit Facebook where it counts – their bottom line.”

Any individual whose data was taken without their consent could be eligible to join the claim. Possible victims can visit Fair Vote UK’s site at https://our.fairvote.uk/page/s/FB-case and check whether their data was taken then submit their details to join. There are an estimated 1.1 million people in the UK who could be eligible.

 

ENDS

Electoral Commission finds Vote Leave broke the law, Fair Vote UK calls for immediate action.

17/07/2018 Posted by News, Press Releases 0 thoughts on “Electoral Commission finds Vote Leave broke the law, Fair Vote UK calls for immediate action.”

In light of the Electoral Commission’s report on Vote Leave, BeLeave and Veterans for Britain, confirming Shahmir Sanni’s whistleblower evidence of overspend and illegal campaign coordination, it is more clear than ever that the EU referendum was won by cheating and law-breaking. We must have a fair vote and Parliament must act now to ensure our future elections are not marred by cheating and corruption.

Kyle Taylor, Director of Fair Vote UK said: “The Electoral Commission has uncovered far more law-breaking than even we had believed occurred. The Government needs to take urgent action to deal with the fact the referendum is now illegitimate. We need to wake up and start fighting for our democracy.

These problems will not solve themselves. Until there are adequate deterrents against cheating, bad actors will continue to take advantage of our democracy and break the law. This is unacceptable. Elections and referenda have serious consequences and cheating in these campaigns must be punished.

When the Electoral Commission suspects wrongdoing in elections, these allegations should be promptly and thoroughly investigated by the police. The cap on fines should be lifted. Currently, fines given by the Electoral Commission are small enough that they are just the cost of doing business. We must build a system that holds people accountable for their actions.

Parliament must act immediately to implement common sense electoral reforms. The Electoral Commission found that Vote Leave, BeLeave, and Veterans for Britain misreported their campaign spending. Campaigns should be reporting their spending online, as MPs do with the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority. In referenda, the designated campaign should no longer be allowed to donate money to other groups. Perhaps most importantly, we should regulate paid political digital advertising in the election period with a Digital Bill of Rights for Democracy.”

We must have laws which reflect our current realities. The Electoral Commission’s report makes clear that our current system is not fit to purpose. With such monumental decisions such as Brexit at stake, we cannot stand by and allow our democratic processes to be denigrated and our votes cheated. Parliament must act and we must have fair votes for all.”

British citizens are preparing a damages claim against Facebook

11/07/2018 Posted by News, Press Releases 0 thoughts on “British citizens are preparing a damages claim against Facebook”

Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham has today published a scathing report into how British Citizens’ data and privacy has been violated.

 

Kyle Taylor, Director of Fair Vote UK, said “Under new GDPR laws, the ICO could fine Facebook for £479 million. Unfortunately, because they had to follow old data protection laws, they were only able to fine them the maximum of £500,000. This is unacceptable. Facebook must be held accountable for their violations of British citizens’ data. Fair Vote UK is preparing a class action claim against Facebook, which already has 84 claimants. All 1.1 million British citizens impacted by the Cambridge Analytica data breach can join the claim. People can check if they were impacted and join the claim on our website.

 

When it comes down to our democracy we should not be negotiating with private companies. Until now, Facebook has been allowed to make their own rules. It is time for Parliament to fulfil their legislative duties and regulate data barons like Facebook.”

 

With regard to the ICO’s call for a pause of digital political ads: “The ICO has called for an ‘ethical pause’ on digital advertising until regulation is brought in that will robustly protect fairness in our democratic processes. This is exactly what Fair Vote UK has been calling for since whistleblowers revealed damning evidence about how UK democracy was manipulated using voter microtargeting and misuse and abuse of data. It is shocking that even the ICO cannot implement the recommendations it sees fit but instead relies on political will that seems to be sadly lacking in order to restore trust in democratic processes.”

 

And on SCL Group, Cambridge Analytica and AIQ: “Furthermore, criminal proceedings for SCL Group mean those who committed these offenses may now be brought to justice. Similarly, a notice to Aggregate IQ to stop processing British citizens’ data raises further concern that such data may still be held overseas. While this is a start, there is still more to be done to hold these companies to account.

 

The Information Commissioner herself said that citizens have little idea of what is happening behind the scenes about how the average voters’ data is being used and also how personal data may have impacted the outcome of the Brexit referendum in ways that broke electoral law. These issues are of great concern and need to be dealt with urgently – especially in light of recent resignations and cabinet unrest – before we consider having another poll of any sort – whether it is another referendum or a general election.”

According to Vote Leave, Electoral Commission set to rule that they broke electoral law

04/07/2018 Posted by News, Press Releases 0 thoughts on “According to Vote Leave, Electoral Commission set to rule that they broke electoral law”

Electoral Commission is set to say Vote Leave cheated in the Brexit referendum and broke electoral law, according to Vote Leave themselves.

Christopher Wylie said: ‘If sanctions are issued against Vote Leave or their affiliates, this means the law was broken. This means that cheating occurred in the referendum. The law demands our elections are free and fair. Electoral crimes are real crimes. In any other arena, if players are caught cheating, they get disqualified. For something as important as an irrevocable change to Britain’s constitutional law, how can we tolerate a vote tainted with cheating?’

Shahmir Sanni said: ‘If this is true, the evidence that I brought forward in March has been confirmed. Vote Leave used BeLeave to break electoral law. This means criminal offences occurred and it is imperative that we take this seriously. We must ask why cabinet ministers denied anything was wrong and why Number 10 sought to discredit the evidence that was brought forward. We must question why we are putting the law second and party politics first. I’m waiting for the report, but just for clarity, I told you so.’

Kyle Taylor, Director of The Fair Vote Project, said: ‘This looks like an attempt to intimidate the EC before it has reached its final decision.

They say they’ll challenge the findings in court – fine. When the court agrees with the EC will they then admit they broke the law and accept their punishment?

Facts are facts. Whether they like it or not the fact is they cheated. Just because you don’t like the fact doesn’t make it any less true. I don’t like that only eating ice cream and only drinking beer is unhealthy. That doesn’t make it any less true. The fact is, they cheated.

This is an important moment that should lead to change. We believe Parliament should transfer the Electoral Commission’s investigative and prosecutorial powers to the police. ​We believe the Electoral Commission works best as a regulator and policy body. When there are grounds to suspect electoral offences have been committed, it should refer wrongdoing to the police with a recommendation that it is investigated promptly by either specialist fraud officers or specialist electoral offence officers’

Electoral Commission urges Parliament to act

26/06/2018 Posted by News, Press Releases 0 thoughts on “Electoral Commission urges Parliament to act”

Electoral Commission agree that our democracy is under threat, ask for urgent reform

For the last four months The Fair Vote Project have been campaigning for necessary Electoral Commission (EC) reform to protect our democracy after whistleblower evidence came to light suggesting cheating in the Brexit referendum. On Monday the EC, themselves, announced that ‘urgent’ reforms were needed because our democracy “may be under threat” by the very campaigns that fought for Brexit.

Kyle Taylor, Director of The Fair Vote Project, said: ‘After the recent revelations about alleged cheating in the Brexit referendum and the Cambridge Analytica scandal, it’s more clear than ever that our electoral system is not fit to purpose.

We applaud yesterday’s announcement by the Electoral Commission – the authority on UK elections – demanding their powers be strengthened. Civil society and our election watchdog not only agree that reform is needed but also on what reform should be. Now, Parliament must respond and implement these reforms to protect our democracy. Until these reforms are instituted, our democratic systems will remain vulnerable to cheating. We cannot in good conscience have another election without ensuring our polls are free and fair.”

Arron Banks and Andy Wigmore appear before the DCMS committee

13/06/2018 Posted by News, Press Releases 0 thoughts on “Arron Banks and Andy Wigmore appear before the DCMS committee”

The Fair Vote Project was set up in response to evidence brought forward by pro-Brexit whistleblowers relating to the misuse of data and alleged overspending in the recent Brexit referendum. The Fair Vote Project does not have a position on Brexit. It is a pro-democracy group motivated by ensuring that votes are fair and in order to be sure of this, in light of recent allegations, it is calling for immediate electoral commission reform.

The Fair Vote Project and its Director, Kyle Taylor, are defendants in a Mississippi, USA lawsuit against Eldon Insurance and Big Data Dolphins, companies registered in the UK with clear and self-declared links to Mississippi, USA. Based on testimony given by Brittany Kaiser and interview recordings given by Andy Wigmore, evidence suggests that British citizens’ data is being stored and used for political and commercial purposes at a state university.

The claim of this suit does not mean that Eldon Insurance and Big Data Dolphins did necessarily transfer UK data to Mississippi to use for political gain, it is simply an attempt to find out if they did.

Kyle Taylor, Director of The Fair Vote Project, said “The Fair Vote Project has said from the beginning that some things are bigger than Brexit, like preserving our democratic principles.

We sought the claim in Mississippi based on verbal accounts given by Kaiser and Wigmore. If the preservation order wasn’t being fought by Eldon Insurance and Big Data Dolphins then the matter could have been cleared up already. We have not said that what Kaiser and Wigmore stated happened for certain, we are simply trying to find out. If there was no wrongdoing why fight the case so vehemently?

Our motivation is clear – in the past few months, troubling evidence has been brought forward that suggests our democracy is not functioning freely and fairly. The Fair Vote Project is seeking to strengthen our democratic processes, hold those who may have cheated in our elections to account and ultimately make sure UK democracy is fit for the digital age.”

Shocking Revelations in Mississippi

05/06/2018 Posted by News, Press Releases 0 thoughts on “Shocking Revelations in Mississippi”

Mississippi court case reveals Eldon Insurance and Big Data Dolphins used insurance data of millions of UK citizens to conduct data modeling learned from Cambridge Analytica

The Fair Vote Project’s suit against Eldon Insurance and Big Data Dolphins in Mississippi, USA is set to enter a second day following extended testimony in what turned out to be a day full of revelations.

The case was separated into two hearings – the first to determine jurisdiction and the second to hear the motion to preserve data. Yesterday’s jurisdictional hearing went on for a grueling five hours of intense testimony, much longer than anticipated. One of the main witnesses called, Vanessa Sena, Project Manager for the Mississippi project at Eldon Insurance, was questioned for hours about the relationship Eldon Insurance and Big Data Dolphins had, has, and will have with the University of Mississippi.

The defendants attempted to suggest they did not have a significant enough relationship with the University to be under their jurisdiction for this legal matter despite having a signed lease agreement for thousands of square feet of office space in the University’s “Insight Park,” years of well-documented meetings and the release of 2017 audio interviews with Andy Wigmore, a once director of Eldon Insurance, boasting about already conducting Cambridge Analytica-style data experiments in Mississippi with British Eldon Insurance data.

Eldon Insurance Project Manager Victoria Sena’s main defense against these evidenced allegations was to say that Andy Wigmore is a “PR guy” who was attempting to hype the abilities of the Eldon and Big Data Dolphins. This claim was contradicted when she then suggested that Big Data Dolphins was undertaking data modelling learned from meetings with Cambridge Analytica in the UK, not Mississippi, exactly like Wigmore described in the tapes. If true, millions of UK citizens could be currently having information about their lifestyle, their credit check and other information taken for insurance purposes used in sophisticated data modelling projects planned for political gains.

The Fair Vote Project immediately made the ICO and DCMS Select Committee aware of this claim in its ongoing effort to protect British citizens’ and residents’ data from misuse.

Kyle Taylor, lead plaintiff and Director of the The Fair Vote Project, said “it was a surprising first day of testimony. To hear Eldon and Big Data Dolphin’s primary defense be that Andy Wigmore was simply a PR guy is not enough against the myriad evidence and is a desperate attempt to grasp at straws. Wigmore was a listed director until he resigned less than two weeks after Brittany Kaiser gave testimony that these companies were involved in offshoring UK citizens’ data to Mississippi.

Perhaps the most shocking revelation was that these companies may be currently misusing personal data in the UK. People should have the right to know how their data is being used and to refuse if it’s not something they want to be a part of. I’m sure many people in the UK would not be comfortable with their insurance data being used to build Cambridge Analytica-style personality models.

I look forward to giving my own testimony as we work to hold these companies to account and defend the rights of citizens in controlling their own personal data and preserve the sanctity of our democratic processes.”

BREAKING: ICO show support for The Fair Vote Project data protection case and DCMS select committee publishes tapes vital to the claim

05/06/2018 Posted by News, Press Releases 0 thoughts on “BREAKING: ICO show support for The Fair Vote Project data protection case and DCMS select committee publishes tapes vital to the claim”

Brittany Kaiser, former Cambridge Analytica employee, said while giving testimony to the DCMS select committee that Cambridge Analytica, Eldon Insurance and Big Data Dolphins were storing and using British citizen’s data at a facility in Mississippi at Ole Miss University.

 

In response to this revelation, The Fair Vote Project immediately sought legal counsel in Mississippi and pursued a preservation order over this data so that the companies in question could not tamper with it.

 

The Fair Vote Project was recently granted a temporary injunction and prepares tomorrow to testify in Mississippi in the hope of being granted a permanent injunction. If this injunction is obtained, it could set a precedent and open the door to other cases where individuals can seek to repatriate illegally held data.

 

The Information Commissioner’s Office has said it strongly supports The Fair Vote Project in its pursuit of this data and that the ICO itself would like to investigate the data in question:

 

“Preservation and access to this data is of significant importance to the ICO’s current investigation. For this reason, and in light of potential uncertainty as to whether the data will remain preserved beyond the hearing on 5 June 2018, the ICO lends its support to Fair Vote Project’s claim for permanent injunctive relief.”

 

Dr. Emma Briant, the academic who has brought forward audio recordings of Andy Wigmore (Director of Communications for Leave.EU) suggesting UK citizens’ data was illegally stored in Mississippi, will be giving evidence tomorrow as well. In advance of tomorrow’s session, Damian Collins and the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee have published Dr. Briant’s primary evidence for all to see as a result only of The Fair Vote Project’s efforts in Mississippi.

 

Kyle Taylor, Director of the The Fair Vote Project, said “I’m glad to be in Mississippi to testify in this landmark case which could set a new precedent in data protection law. We welcome the support from the ICO and hope to be able to aid them in their investigation into use of personal data and analytics by political campaigns which is unprecedented in its scale. With the ICO’s support and the new evidence released for our case by the DCMS Committee, it is more important than ever that a permanent injunction is obtained and Eldon Insurance is properly and thoroughly investigated.”

 

The Fair Vote Project was set up to tackle the issue of data misuse, voter manipulation and lack of transparency in elections head-on. We are committed to ensuring the institutions that protect our democratic processes are fit for purpose in a digital age.

 

The Fair Vote Project took the decision to publish the whistleblower evidence for everyone to see. The evidence we have so far can be seen on our website, because the public deserve to know the truth about what’s happening in our democracy.

 

See Dr. Briant’s audio recordings here

Mark Zuckerberg Disappoints

23/05/2018 Posted by News, Press Releases 0 thoughts on “Mark Zuckerberg Disappoints”

Mark Zuckerberg evades answering questions at yesterday’s disappointing hearing

Mark Zuckerberg appeared before the European Parliament yesterday to answer questions regarding the misuse of Facebook data by companies who have sought to influence elections around the world. His questioning came the day we heard that anti-abortion apps, Save the 8th and LoveBoth, being used to promote their cause in the Irish referendum on the 8th Amendment are collecting data and passing it on to Conservative groups in the USA, pro-Brexit groups and the Conservative party in UK.

It is unlikely that users are aware of the manner in which their data is being collected and who it is being given to. Trackers contained inside the apps have Facebook analytics which Facebook says can produce deep demographic analysis.

Kyle Taylor, Director of The Fair Vote Project, said “Zuckerberg was not held accountable at all, he was permitted to respond to questions in one go with no follow up questioning from MEPs’. Apparently this is what it looks like to be held to account for crimes against democracy. It seems totally without merit to ask him one hundred questions if he can just pick and choose the ones he wants to answer and avoid the more incriminating questions.

This painfully slow process illustrates just how weak our democratic institutions are at protecting and preserving our democracy and how big money is running roughshod over citizens’ right to self-determination – and it is quite literally happening again as we speak in Ireland and absolutely nothing has been done about it.

Zuckerberg claims to be trying to fix the problems that have recently come to light about misuse of Facebook data but suspicious apps like Save the 8th and LoveBoth continue to use Facebook products to abuse the current system.

When will our leaders around the world stand up to these self-styled data barons and give us back our democracy?”

Sign our petition for a Digital Bill of Rights to demand better protections for individuals online.

Fair Vote Project’s temporary injunction EXTENDED

21/05/2018 Posted by News, Press Releases 0 thoughts on “Fair Vote Project’s temporary injunction EXTENDED”

The Fair Vote Project obtains an extension of preservation order of British citizens’ data possibly being held in Mississippi

 

A former senior Cambridge Analytica employee told MPs’ that she believed prominent figures who backed Leave misused private data from Eldon Insurance Services Ltd and UKIP to influence the outcome of the Brexit referendum.

 

Brittany Kaiser said during her testimony that Arron Banks, who owns Eldon, and Andy Wigmore had said they wished to create “their own Cambridge Analytica” at the University of Mississippi using her proposals.

This alleged misused data is possibly being stored on a server at the University of Mississippi. Keeping U.K. data outside of the EEA without consent or proper protections is a violation of the Data Protection Act.

 

Hinds County Chancery Court Judge Dewayne Thomas last Friday extended a temporary injunction against Eldon Insurance Services Ltd and Big Data Dolphins Ltd, meaning they cannot destroy, alter or transfer any data currently being held.

 

How did Eldon and Big Data Dolphins come to lease server space in Mississippi?

 

Phil Bryant, Mississippi Governor, fostered a relationship with Arron Banks and Nigel Farage. Bryant says that he was informed that Eldon needed somewhere to undertake research and so he connected them with the University of Mississippi.

 

The Information Commissioner’s Office and the DCMS select committee are aware of the preservation order and the ongoing legal process.

 

Eldon, a UK-based company, was present during the hearing.

 

Kyle Taylor, Director of The Fair Vote Project, said “Eldon Insurance appear to have sent a representative to the hearing – what is there on that server that is so important that someone travelled all the way from Bristol to Mississippi to try and stop us from obtaining an extended preservation order?

 

If there’s nothing to see here as their lawyers claim why all the fuss to stop us from accessing this server to make sure?

 

The Judge’s decision to grant us an extension shows that he believes there is reasonable grounds to suspect British citizens’ data is indeed being held unlawfully in Mississippi.

 

We need to know for certain if this is the case and what it is was used for – Kaiser’s testimony seems to point to the strong possibility that the data was used in ways that are anti-democratic and that may cast doubt over the Brexit referendum result but also the ability of our democracy to function freely and fairly in the digital age.”

This story is just developing. Make sure you join us to receive updates as we learn more about what exactly Cambridge Analytica and Leave.EU did.

Temporary Injunction Granted re: Leave.EU

18/05/2018 Posted by News, Press Releases 0 thoughts on “Temporary Injunction Granted re: Leave.EU”

The Fair Vote Project has successfully obtained an order to prevent evidence being deleted that links Cambridge Analytica to the Leave campaign.

A former senior Cambridge Analytica employee told MPs’ that she believed CA and Leave.EU took data from UKIP and combined it with user data from a series of US-based companies with the expressed purpose of manipulating the outcome of the Brexit referendum. The amount of British citizens who had their data stolen is currently unknown.

Keeping U.K. data outside of the EEA without consent or proper protections is a violation of the Data Protection Act.

A temporary injunction order has been obtained by The Fair Vote Project in the United States to ensure that evidence of wrongdoing – if there is any – is preserved and that the relevant authorities can investigate. Eldon Insurance and Big Data Dolphins have been served summons.

Alexander Nix and Cambridge Analytica have continually denied ever working on the Leave campaign despite Arron Banks tweeting that he was proud to have worked with the company and making reference to a large social media machine deployed during the campaign.

Whistleblower testimony and the injunction obtained by The Fair Vote Project may finally prove once and for all that CA was intimately working on the Brexit referendum despite Cambridge Analytica’s obfuscation.

Kyle Taylor, Director of The Fair Vote Project, said:

“Cambridge Analytica has done nothing but try to pull wool over our eyes. Without this injunction I have no doubt they and their co-horts would have sought to destroy any evidence linking them to at least one of the Leave campaigns. We have no idea how much UK citizens’ data may have been transferred to the US, but it could be millions. This could have proven the decisive factor in the outcome of the referendum.”

This story is just developing. Make sure you join us to receive updates as we learn more about what exactly Cambridge Analytica and Leave.EU did.

Mark Zuckerberg Ignores Summons

18/05/2018 Posted by News, Press Releases 0 thoughts on “Mark Zuckerberg Ignores Summons”

Mark Zuckerberg will not answer MPs’ questions despite being issued with a formal summons

Facebook today announced that Mark Zuckerberg will not be appearing before MPs following the Electoral Commission’s appearance in front of the DCMS select committee today. Jeff Silvester, Chief Operating Officer of AIQ, the Canadian data company faced with allegations of illegal campaign coordination in the referendum with Vote Leave, BeLeave and several other campaign groups is set to appear before the committee tomorrow.

Facebook failed to answer some of the DCMS select committee’s key questions of how UK Facebook users were manipulated and influenced in the 2016 referendum. Some of the most important questions, such as from where AIQ received their data for who to target or how much overlap there was between the ads AIQ made for Vote Leave, BeLeave, Veterans for Britain and the DUP Vote to Leave went unanswered. Hopefully Mr Silvester will shed some much needed clarification on these vital inquiries.

Kyle Taylor, Director of The Fair Vote Project, said “No one is shocked that Zuckerberg has refused to stand before Parliament to explain the potentially illegal conduct of his company, conduct that may have allowed others to heavily manipulate voters during the Brexit referendum and thereby making a mockery of our democratic processes. And once again, shows how little respect Facebook has for the countries they operate in and the citizens’ data they use to profit from. It has been nearly two years since the referendum. The fact that Facebook still cannot provide the DCMS select committee with exactly what ads UK Facebook users saw leading up to the referendum is disgraceful. Elections have long lasting consequences and if Facebook and other social media companies can not quickly and efficiently pinpoint when their advertisers are breaking local electoral laws or spreading misinformation, we must ensure that regulatory bodies like the Electoral Commission have the power to intervene in a meaningful way.

The Electoral Commission’s testimony today to the DCMS select committee said that if reform was to happen it needs to be wholesale to be effective, this is something we are backing. Their suggestions for reform match what The Fair Vote Project is calling for: namely, fines that fit the crime rather than the current cap that is seen by many to simply be the cost of doing business, greater enforcement powers, ideally prosecutorial powers and a better way of reporting spending. The Fair Vote Project believes a report-as-you-spend system should be put in place to ensure transparency and fairness in real time.

It’s been months since the revelations from whistleblowers were made public and yet nothing has changed, cheating can still happen in elections and referenda – as we see happening in Ireland right now. There needs to be immediate, wholesale reform of the institutions entrusted to make sure our elections are free and fair so that we no longer need to rely on whether or not Facebook deigns to get its house in order or turn up for questioning.”

The Fair Vote Project was set up to tackle this issue head-on. Our whistleblower secure channels are open to anyone who has evidence of cheating by any party in the referendum. We are committed to securing a fair vote and ensuring the Electoral Commission is fit for purpose in a digital age.

The Fair Vote Project has taken the decision to publish the whistleblower evidence for everyone to see. The evidence we have so far can be seen on our website, because the public deserve to know the truth about what’s happening in our democracy.

Leave.EU fined by the Electoral Commission for breaching electoral law during the EU referendum

11/05/2018 Posted by News, Press Releases 0 thoughts on “Leave.EU fined by the Electoral Commission for breaching electoral law during the EU referendum”

Leave.EU found to have cheated during the Brexit referendum and has now been referred to the Metropolitan Police for possible criminal activity

Leave.EU has been fined by the Electoral Commission for ‘multiple breaches of electoral law’ and referred to the Metropolitan Police for suspected criminal offences.

Whistleblower evidence made public by The Fair Vote Project suggests illegal coordination to facilitate overspending by Vote Leave, the type of overspending we now know for certain Leave.EU is guilty of. It appears several groups working for Leave are suspected of cheating.

Kyle Taylor, Director of The Fair Vote Project, said “Arron Banks and others involved have shown a total disregard for the laws that are meant to ensure we have a functioning democracy, something that is the bedrock of a healthy and fair society.

On top of cheating UK citizens out of a democratic vote, Banks’ utterly audacious response to the ruling shows that he feels the law doesn’t apply to him and because of his wealth he should be above it. I urge Parliament and the police to show him that no amount of money means you can escape justice.

Until the fines substantially exceed the overspend, there will always be an incentive to cheat in our elections. These fines almost seem like the cost of doing business.

Weeks ago, The Fair Vote Project published evidence suggesting cheating was happening in Vote Leave as well and with a potential overspend of £625,000.

How much cheating does there have to be before MPs do their jobs and defend our democracy? The Electoral Commission themselves said they were unable to impose a heftier fine owing to limitations on their powers but were clear to emphasise how serious the breaches made by Leave.EU are.

There is now more doubt than ever swirling around the validity of the EU Referendum result which is why we’re demanding a fair vote on our future and consequential Electoral Commission reform to make sure this never happens again.

DCMS select committee summons Nix and Cummings

10/05/2018 Posted by News, Press Releases 0 thoughts on “DCMS select committee summons Nix and Cummings”

DCMS select committee issues formal summons to Cambridge Analytica’s Alexander Nix and Vote Leave’s Dominic Cummings to appear before them

DCMS select committee has today issued a formal summons to Alexander Nix and Dominic Cummings to give evidence as part of their inquiry into fake news and the spread of disinformation. It is extremely rare for an individual to ignore a formal summons.

In the letter sent to Nix, the committee said that they wished to ‘examine apparent inconsistencies’ in evidence he gave and other evidence they have received.

This action taken by the committee represents an escalation and suggests that they will not rest until they have had their questions answered.

Kyle Taylor, Director of The Fair Vote Project, said “It is deplorable that Nix has evaded facing UK MPs’ on matters that relate directly to our democratic processes and it is appalling how disempowered Parliament is when it comes to investigating alleged crimes against democracy.

Cambridge Analytica was forced to close after news broke that they had been involved in manipulating voters during elections around the world but there is still so much we don’t know about what they got up to and we have no assurances that it won’t happen again. It does not feel as if anyone has been punished for these alleged interferences in elections that have changed the fates of countries globally, including most recently suggestions that similar happened in our own Brexit referendum.

While it is admirable how fiercely Damian Collins is fighting to get those involved to give evidence, it is worrying that he is so limited in the powers available to him to get to the bottom of this. We must act soon to empower our regulatory bodies and update legislation around digital advertising during elections so that we can instil faith in our democratic processes, make sure that they truly are democratic and be sure this type of meddling doesn’t happen again.”

The Fair Vote Project was set up to tackle the issue of data misuse, voter manipulation and lack of transparency in elections head-on. We are committed to ensuring the institutions that protect our democratic processes are fit for purpose in a digital age.

The People v Facebook

10/05/2018 Posted by News, Press Releases 0 thoughts on “The People v Facebook”

The Fair Vote Project prepares a class-action claim against Facebook over its misuse of data that may have been used to manipulate UK and global elections

The Fair Vote Project has been contacted by some of the 1.1 million people whose Facebook data was harvested by the “This Is Digital Life” app created by Aleksandr Kogan and subsequently passed on to Cambridge Analytica, at which point it is unclear how this data may have been used and potentially misused.

All individuals and companies involved have deliberately obfuscated on the question of how exactly this data has been used though evidence brought forward by whistleblowers suggests it was used to manipulate voters.

Some people may have consented to having their data taken but most did not, as the app “scraped” the data of Facebook friends of those who downloaded the app without their knowledge.

The Fair Vote Project is preparing a damages claim for breaches of the data protection act and they will be running adverts on Facebook asking users who had their data taken to join the class action claim. If successful, Facebook could face damages in the billions of pounds.

Kyle Taylor, Director of The Fair Vote Project said “A few weeks ago, I found out that I was one of the 1,079,031 people in the UK whose data was harvested by Aleksandr Kogan’s This Is Your Digital Life app, and subsequently passed on to Cambridge Analytica.

Facebook had no right to give away this data. If your data was taken in this way, you could be a claimant. Facebook is the data controller of the data you have on Facebook and they effectively allowed it to be transferred to a third party without your knowledge or consent. This is wrong and shouldn’t go unpunished.

The implications of this data being handed to third parties are in no way minor and may have changed the course of elections around the world.

We also very worryingly still do not know the extent of data taken or exactly what is was used for. There is absolutely no indication that Facebook has taken this issue seriously, as we see – right now – voter manipulation has been happening in Ireland using Facebook, which they just recently have taken action regarding. It’s quite late in the game for them to finally apply the measures we know we needed since the revelations brought forward by whistleblowers.

If Facebook won’t take it seriously and if governments aren’t moving quickly enough then it’s up to us to hold these companies to account.”

PS – The Fair Vote Project is working with Bindmans LLP to gather claimants. Every pound we raise will be used to find more claimants and cover legal costs. We are using digital ads to find claimants. If you have seen one of these ads, you fit one of the following categories: you studied policy studies, political science, public policy, or you have expressed interest in activism, civil service, electoral reform, equal opportunity, feminism and equality, government, local government, policy, political science, public policy, public sector, social equality, social movements, or voting.

Electoral Procedures in Local Elections

08/05/2018 Posted by News, Press Releases 0 thoughts on “Electoral Procedures in Local Elections”

Another election happens and yet still no regulation

Yesterday, voters in large parts of the country voted for the local councillors who will represent them for the next four years. We are in the process of finding out which campaigns were successful and which candidates will work in our boroughs and wards doing the vital tasks of local government . But if you want to know how these candidates ran their campaigns and how they spent their money, you will sadly be disappointed.

This system does not make sense. For one, it’s difficult and confusing for candidates and campaigners who have to sort through months of receipts after the fact and print out their compiled reports into ungainly paper copies.

In most cases, council-level returning officers are in charge of monitoring campaign spending, campaigns don’t send in their spending reports until over a month after the election and most of these reports will not be thoroughly examined to ensure their compliance with the law.

Kyle Taylor, Director of The Fair Vote Project said “We at The Fair Vote Project have devised an effective way this can be improved by centralising and digitising the expenditure reporting process. Modeled after the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, which was created in response to the parliamentary expenses scandal, an online reporting system would streamline and simplify the process and bring more transparency into elections by allowing the public to see exactly how campaigns are spending their money in real time.

Campaigns would report their expenses in real-time to an emboldened and more centralised Electoral Commission who would ensure that spending was compliant with electoral rules. This was the first election since evidence suggesting cheating in the EU referendum became public. These allegations illustrated well how ineffectual the current system of campaign spending reporting is and we urgently need to update our laws so that we can instil faith in our democratic processes.”

Cambridge Analytica Shuts Down — What Now?

08/05/2018 Posted by News, Press Releases 0 thoughts on “Cambridge Analytica Shuts Down — What Now?”

Cambridge Analytica closes its doors but a new company already exists. Time to stop this once and for all with a digital bill of rights enshrined in law

Nigel Oakes, founder of SCL Elections, announced that SCL and Cambridge Analytica will be shutting their doors and filing insolvency proceedings. The Fair Vote Project asks does this mean data they hold could be destroyed and can we be certain that they will be held to account?

In the six weeks since whistleblower Christopher Wiley – supported by The Fair Vote Project – came forward with evidence of Cambridge Analytica’s widespread misuse of Facebook data, evidence has continued to grow about the ways SCL, Cambridge Analytica, and partner companies such as AIQ, have been using misappropriated data to create sophisticated and highly personalised microtargeting tools which have been used in elections all around the world. Investigations into Cambridge Analytica’s activities are ongoing in several countries, including the U.K.

Kyle Taylor, Founder and Director of The Fair Vote Project, said: “The Fair Vote Project has been working tirelessly across this data issue and its implications. While this is a welcome development, it is essential that governments and media outlets do not stop here. The real story is this:  While SCL and Cambridge Analytica are shutting their doors, some of the key players involved have already moved on to a new company: Emerdata. Current CA CEO Julian Wheatland and Chief Data Officer Dr Alexander Tayler are both listed as Directors of Emerdata, and disgraced former CEO Alexander Nix was the founding CEO. Rebekah and Jennifer Mercer, daughters of billionaire Robert Mercer, one of the creators of Cambridge Analytica, are on the board.

This is exactly what you’d expect from individuals and entities like these – dump the organisation (and responsibilities, note CA have filed for insolvency) and spring up under a new name doing the same morally corrupt work. That’s why The Fair Vote Project are demanding consequential reform to the Electoral Commission and aim to enshrine a digital bill of rights for our democracy to make sure these entities – whatever they’re named – are never able to infiltrate our elections again.

Without proper laws and systems in place to prevent the misuse of data and the circumvention of traditional law online, companies like Cambridge Analytica can continue to spread misinformation in elections worldwide.  Recent news about Facebook’s failure to stem the spread of fake news in the Irish referendum only further illustrates that this problem will not go away with the closing down of Cambridge Analytica and SCL. We cannot trust companies like Facebook to “self-regulate.” It’s time government’s did their job and intervene immediately to ensure people in the U.K. and around the world are safe from predatory practices.

The future of democracies everywhere hinge on our ability to create strong protections for digital information. The Fair Vote Project’s proposed digital bill aims to permanently protect our democratic institutions from this malfeasance because the type of work Cambridge Analytica has engaged in will continue until we stand up for our very way of life.”

 

The Fair Vote Project was set up to tackle the issue of data misuse, voter manipulation and lack of transparency in elections head-on. We are committed to ensuring the institutions that protect our democratic processes are fit for purpose in a digital age.