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Cambridge Analytica

Cambridge Analytica

Partly owned by Robert Mercer, Steve Bannon VP of the Board of Directors, Matthew Oczkowski is the Head of Product and worked under Jared Kushner, as Digital Campaign Director, directly with Brad Parscale to implement Project Alamo in the US 2016 election after using the “My Personality” Facebook App to gather voter data and create profiles used in the Ted Cruz Campaign. Cambridge Analytica was instrumental in the UK Brexit vote.

Cambridge Analytica (CA) is a privately held company that combines data mining and data analysis with strategic communication for the electoral process. It was created in 2013 as an offshoot of its British parent company SCL Group to participate in American politics.[2] In 2014, CA was involved in 44 U.S. political races.[3] The company is partly owned by the family of Robert Mercer, an American hedge-fund manager who supports many politically conservative causes.[2][4]The firm maintains offices in New York CityWashington, D.C., and London.[5]

In 2015 it became known as the data analysis company working initially for Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign.[4] In 2016, after Cruz’s campaign had faltered, CA worked for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign,[6] and on the Leave.EU-campaign for the United Kingdom‘s withdrawal from the European Union. CA “married data gathering and artificial intelligence with psy-ops—psychological propaganda techniques developed by the US military to change enemy behaviour. In this case, the targets were US and UK citizens.”[7] CA’s role and impact on those campaigns has been disputed and is the subject of ongoing criminal investigations in both countries.[8][9][10]”  Wikipedia

Long History of the Firm: Bannon, Breibart, Bob & Rebekah Mercer, David Bossie, Citizens United, etc.

A Special Relationship & the Birth of Cambridge Analytica

Bridging the Atlantic to bring radical nativists of Trump & Brexit together via military tech & ad money, one donation or dataset at a time.

The Guardian Exclusive: Documents reveal donor-funded US startup embedded in Republican’s campaign paid UK university academics to collect psychological profiles on potential voters “Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign is using psychological data based on research spanning tens of millions of Facebook users, harvested largely without their permission, to boost his surging White House run and gain an edge over Donald Trump and other Republican rivals, the Guardian can reveal.

A little-known data company, now embedded within Cruz’s campaign and indirectly financed by his primary billionaire benefactor, paid researchers at Cambridge University to gather detailed psychological profiles about the US electorate using a massive pool of mainly unwitting US Facebook users built with an online survey. Analysis of Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings shows Cruz’s campaign has paid Cambridge Analytica at least $750,000 this year. The “behavioural microtargeting” company has also received around $2.5m over the past two years from conservative Super Pacs to which Mercer or members of his family have donated.”
The Data That Turned the World Upside Down  VICE January 28, 2017

Michal Kosinski was a student in Warsaw when his life took a new direction in 2008. He was accepted by Cambridge University to do his PhD at the Psychometrics Centre, one of the oldest institutions of this kind worldwide. Kosinski joined fellow student David Stillwell (now a lecturer at Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge) about a year after Stillwell had launched a little Facebook application in the days when the platform had not yet become the behemoth it is today. Their MyPersonality app enabled users to fill out different psychometric questionnaires, including a handful of psychological questions from the Big Five personality questionnaire (“I panic easily,” “I contradict others”). Based on the evaluation, users received a “personality profile”—individual Big Five values—and could opt-in to share their Facebook profile data with the researchers.

Around this time, in early 2014, Kosinski was approached by a young assistant professor in the psychology department called Aleksandr Kogan. He said he was inquiring on behalf of a company that was interested in Kosinski’s method, and wanted to access the MyPersonality database. Kogan wasn’t at liberty to reveal for what purpose; he was bound to secrecy.

At first, Kosinski and his team considered this offer, as it would mean a great deal of money for the institute, but then he hesitated. Finally, Kosinski remembers, Kogan revealed the name of the company: SCL, or Strategic Communication Laboratories. Kosinski Googled the company: “[We are] the premier election management agency,” says the company’s website. SCL provides marketing based on psychological modeling. One of its core focuses: Influencing elections.

Some of the SCL offshoots have been involved in elections from Ukraine to Nigeriahelped the Nepalese monarch against the rebels, whereas others have developed methods to influence Eastern European and Afghan citizens for NATO. And, in 2013, SCL spun off a new company to participate in US elections: Cambridge Analytica.

Kosinski came to suspect that Kogan’s company might have reproduced the Facebook “Likes”-based Big Five measurement tool in order to sell it to this election-influencing firm. He immediately broke off contact with Kogan and informed the director of the institute, sparking a complicated conflict within the university. The institute was worried about its reputation. Aleksandr Kogan then moved to Singapore, married, and changed his name to Dr. Spectre. Michal Kosinski finished his PhD, got a job offer from Stanford and moved to the US.

Mr. Brexit

All was quiet for about a year. Then, in November 2015, the more radical of the two Brexit campaigns, “Leave.EU,” supported by Nigel Farage, announced that it had commissioned a Big Data company to support its online campaign: Cambridge Analytica. The company’s core strength: innovative political marketing—microtargeting—by measuring people’s personality from their digital footprints, based on the OCEAN model.

After the Brexit result, friends and acquaintances wrote to him: Just look at what you’ve done.

Now Kosinski received emails asking what he had to do with it—the words Cambridge, personality, and analytics immediately made many people think of Kosinski. It was the first time he had heard of the company, which borrowed its name, it said, from its first employees, researchers from the university. Horrified, he looked at the website. Was his methodology being used on a grand scale for political purposes?

After the Brexit result, friends and acquaintances wrote to him: Just look at what you’ve done. Everywhere he went, Kosinski had to explain that he had nothing to do with this company. (It remains unclear how deeply Cambridge Analytica was involved in the Brexit campaign. Cambridge Analytica would not discuss such questions.)

For a few months, things are relatively quiet. Then, on September 19, 2016, just over a month before the US elections, the guitar riffs of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Bad Moon Rising” fill the dark-blue hall of New York’s Grand Hyatt hotel. The Concordia Summit is a kind of World Economic Forum in miniature. Decision-makers from all over the world have been invited, among them Swiss President Johann Schneider-Ammann. “Please welcome to the stage Alexander Nix, chief executive officer of Cambridge Analytica,” a smooth female voice announces. A slim man in a dark suit walks onto the stage. A hush falls. Many in attendance know that this is Trump’s new digital strategy man. (A video of the presentation was posted on YouTube.)”  VICE

Matthew Oczkowski is the Head of Product. Blends political science, big-data, and behavioral psychology to influence voter and consumer decision making..As the lead data strategist for the Trump campaign, he was responsible for crafting a path to victory, generating models to target priority states, and creating a travel plan that maximized electoral success. Running more than 1,500 surveys a week in key battleground states to get the most accurate polling data, his team was able to successfully predict the trends that played out during the election, leading to an accurate forecast of the electoral outcome in all but two states. ”

Oczkowski worked under Jared Kushner, as Digital Campaign Director, and directly with Brad Parscale to implement Project Alamo, based in San Antonio, and using information and resources from the RNC. Project Alamo started staffing, resulting in a few hundred employees, on June 14, 2016, five days after the Trump Tower meeting.  Local web design firm with Donald Trump presidential campaign contract offers 100 jobs as election nears  Jun 14, 2016, San Antonio Business Journal 

Cambridge Analytica chief executive Alexander Nix at the company’s Manhattan offices on Oct. 24. (Joshua Bright for The Washington Post)
 October 27, 2016
 In a Fifth Avenue office near Trump Tower, a company being paid millions of dollars by Donald Trump’s presidential campaign says it has developed a political weapon powerful enough to help the Republican nominee overcome his troubles and win the White House.The key is a psychological model for identifying voters that can “determine the personality of every single adult in the United States of America,” said Alexander Nix, chief executive of Cambridge Analytica.The little-known company, which has operated in the United States for four years, opened its office here only a month ago and is clearly at the center of Trump’s quest for a last-minute comeback against Democrat Hillary Clinton. New federal filings show the campaign’s payments to the firm ballooning from $250,000 in August to $5 million in September.” Washington Post

Inside the Trump Bunker, With Days to Go  Bloomberg, October 27, 2016

“On Oct. 19, as the third and final presidential debate gets going in Las Vegas, Donald Trump’s Facebook and Twitter feeds are being manned by Brad Parscale, a San Antonio marketing entrepreneur, whose buzz cut and long narrow beard make him look like a mixed martial arts fighter. His Trump tie has been paired with a dark Zegna suit. A lapel pin issued by the Secret Service signals his status. He’s equipped with a dashboard of 400 prewritten Trump tweets. “Command center,” he says, nodding at his laptop.”

Brexit: The [UK] Information Commissioner opens a formal investigation into the use of data analytics for political purposes Posted on

HuffPost: Data Analytics Firm Tied To Trump And Bannon Threatening To Sue Guardian After Paper Investigated Links To Brexit

comScore Signs TV Agreement with Cambridge Analytica New Agreement Gives Cambridge Analytica comScore’s Television Information to Achieve Better Television Buying for Political and Commercial Clients  RESTON, VA, October 12, 2016 – comScore (NASDAQ: SCOR) today announced an agreement with Cambridge Analytica, which will use comScore’s television information as a component of TV campaign strategies for political and commercial advertising clients.

“How do you possibly write a post on Facebook like @realDonaldTrump?”
Meet the digital guru who helped Trump win the presidency.

— BBC Stories (@bbcstories) August 15, 2017

Meanwhile @ State, the Global Engagement Center issued non-competitive contracts to Cambridge Analytica, Trump’s campaign data firm

— N Aku (@NAKU2014) August 2, 2017

This person requested their voter information from the Mercer/Bannon Cambridge Analytica which optimized memes and strategies for the Trump Campaign. The report is detailed and he said his information was correct. Follow his thread.

4/ Here is letter provided by Cambridge Analytica/SCL with request describing data protection policy jurisdictions and their data sourcing.

— David Carroll (@profcarroll) March 27, 2017

4/ Here is letter provided by Cambridge Analytica/SCL with request describing data protection policy jurisdictions and their data sourcing.

— David Carroll (@profcarroll) March 27, 2017

6/ Here are the election returns data connected to my CA/SCL voter profile. Incomplete results but accurate to my districts.

— David Carroll (@profcarroll) March 27, 2017

7/ Here is CA/SCL voter issue profile/propensity model on me. I’d rank this somewhat differently but feels roughly accurate. Could be worse.

— David Carroll (@profcarroll) March 27, 2017


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