British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, which prompted Facebook data breach storm, is now closing and starting insolvency proceedings, it announced on its website. It said that the elections division of Cambridge’s British affiliate, SCL Group, will also shut down.
The development comes two months after the London-based consulting firm said that it worked with Donald Trump during his US Presidential campaign, amassed a massive chunk of Facebook user data without ever getting their permission. This led to criticism of the consulting firm for being unlawful, on which the company issued a statement saying that it has not done anything illegal. Note that Christopher Wylie, the former Cambridge Analytica (CA) employee had recently unveiled the consulting firm’s misuse of Facebook data.
While announcing its closure, Cambridge Analytica said that over the past several months, it has been the subject of numerous unfounded accusations and, despite the company’s efforts to correct the record, has been vilified for activities that are not only legal, but also widely accepted as a standard component of online advertising in both the political and commercial arenas.
It added that despite Cambridge Analytica’s unwavering confidence that its employees have acted ethically and lawfully, the siege of media coverage has driven away virtually all of the company’s customers and suppliers. “As a result, it has been determined that it is no longer viable to continue operating the business, which left Cambridge Analytica with no realistic alternative to placing the Company into administration,” it added.
Reborn as Emerdata?
According to this The New York Times report, some of the executives of CA and its parent’s SCL Group, along with the company’s creator Robert Mercer and his family, have created a new firm called Emerdata, based in Britain. According to this portal, Emerdata was incorporated in August 2017 is listed under ‘data processing, hosting, and related activities’ as it type.
Business Insider reports that Britain’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has already issued a warning saying that ICO will continue its investigation even after the shutdown of the company. In a statement quoted by BI, ICO said that, “its civil and criminal investigations will seek to pursue individuals and directors as appropriate and necessary even where companies may no longer be operating”. It also added that ICO will closely monitor any successor companies. Which means, Emerdata might already be under the scanner of investigators.