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.”