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Data firm’s parent ‘boasted of manipulating elections’

THE parent company of a firm criticised over its alleged manipulation of Facebook information once boasted about disrupting foreign elections, it has been claimed.

SCL Elections, which formed scandal-hit Cambridge Analytica in 2013, said it had interfered in Nigeria in 2007, Trinidad and Tobago in 2010, and also stirred up ethnic tensions in Latvia in 2006. BBC News said it had seen a brochure published by London-based SCL in which potential new customers could contact the company through ‘any British high commission or embassy’.

The brochure reportedly claimed ‘List X’ accreditation from the Ministry of Defence, allowing it to handle confidential information.

But the Foreign Office and the government, which awarded SCL six contracts from 2008 onwards, denied knowing about the alleged activity and said no one could contact the company via embassies or high commissions. The MoD said SCL had not had List X accreditation since 2013. CA said it had an independent probe into SCL’s election practices

Meanwhile, the Irish Data Protection Commissioner warned Facebook about the use of data by third-party developers in 2011 but ‘did not fully block the practice for another four years’.

Mark Zuckerberg has written open letters in newspapers apologising for how Facebook handled the situation.