Posts tagged "DCMS"

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.”

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

5 Questions for Alexander Nix

30/05/2018 Posted by News 0 thoughts on “5 Questions for Alexander Nix”

Next Wednesday, Alexander Nix will finally appear in front of the DCMS select committee investigating fake news and its impact on our elections. The former Cambridge Analytica CEO has avoided answering publicly for the allegations against his now-defunct company — until now.

The Fair Vote Project has been instrumental in holding Cambridge Analytica and Mr Nix to account. In the wake of the data harvesting scandal, we are preparing a damages claim against Facebook to bring justice to the 1.1 million UK Facebook users affected. We are also calling for broader Electoral Commission reforms and a digital bill of rights to protect users against the predatory practices of companies like Cambridge Analytica who see us as no more than data sets to be manipulated.

Mr Nix’s appearance presents an extraordinary opportunity for the DCMS select committee to gain further insight into the ways in which Cambridge Analytica and SCL Elections have been involved in misuse of data and election manipulating.

The Fair Vote Project has five main questions that should be asked:

  1. What is Emerdata and what is it’s purpose?
    When Cambridge Analytica and SCL Elections announced they were filing for bankruptcy and closing their doors, many were quick to point out that several high level executives and investors from CA and SCL had already formed a new company — Emerdata. Not much is known about this entity so it is vital that DCMS gets to the bottom of who they are and what they’re doing. Can we really allow this company to continue on with business as usual under a different name?
  2. What was the exact relationship between Cambridge Analytica and Leave.EU?
    The Electoral Commission has just released their findings on Leave.EU, fining them £70,000 and referring Chief Executive Liz Bilney to the Met police for criminal investigations. While the EC did not find evidence of collaboration between Cambridge Analytica and Leave.EU, Mr Nix, Arron Banks, and Andy Wigmore have all spoken in the past about the work CA did for Leave.EU. We must understand exactly how CA was involved in Leave.EU’s work to determine how it may have influenced the turnout of the election.
  3. What type of data does Cambridge Analytica/SCL Elections hold on UK citizens and where is it held?
    Nix and CA were proud to boast about the ‘5,000 data points’ they had about every US citizen during the 2016 presidential election. But they’ve never been forthcoming about what exactly these data points were or how they received this information. In light of the news of the harvested Facebook data, this boast is particularly troubling. CA and SCL Elections both had headquarters in London and have done work in the UK in the past. What kind of data did they have on UK citizens?
  4. Can hyper-specific data targeting really impact elections?
    Up until recently, CA and Mr Nix especially have spoken at length about how influential CA’s unique brand of behavioural analysis and targeting can be on elections. However, in the aftermath of the data harvesting scandal, they’ve backtracked and insist that ultimately, candidates win elections, not data. Mr Nix must answer for how impactful this targeting may be, for the sake of our future democracy.
  5. Is CA cooperating fully with authorities in the UK as well as the US and other countries potentially affected to share materials and data vital to the investigations into CA’s role in using people’s data without permission?
    When CA/SCL declared bankruptcy, many worried they would use this as an opportunity to destroy potential evidence. The DCMS select committee must ensure that Mr Nix and CA are willing to comply with the active investigations going on.

What would you ask Alexander Nix? Let us know: our.fairvote.uk/nix

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.