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 [email protected] 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://fairvote.uk/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.”