Cambridge Analytica, the commercial data analytics company at the centre of the Facebook privacy scandal, is ceasing all operations.

Cambridge Analytica, the commercial data analytics company at the centre of the Facebook privacy scandal, is ceasing all operations.

The commercial data analytics company Cambridge Analytica that was the protagonist of the biggest privacy scandal of the last years has announced it is “ceasing all operations” following the Facebook data breach.

An official statement released by the company states it had been “the subject of numerous unfounded accusations” and was “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.”

The firm has used data harvested by Facebook to target US voters in the 2016 Presidential election.

The data were collected by a group of academics that then shared it with the firm Cambridge Analytica, a news that was later confirmed by Facebook. The researchers used an app developed by the University of Cambridge psychology lecturer, Dr. Aleksandr Kogan, to collect user data.

Cambridge Analytica always denied any involvement with Trump’s campaign has declared that it never use collected data to influence the Presidential election.

Early April, Facebook revealed that 87 million users have been affected by the Cambridge Analytica case, much more than 50 million users initially thought.

In the wake of the scandal, Facebook decided to tighten its privacy restrictions.

“Over the past several months, Cambridge Analytica 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,” said Clarence Mitchell, a spokesman for Cambridge Analytica.

Facebook- Cambridge Analytica

“Despite Cambridge Analytica’s unwavering confidence that its employees have acted ethically and lawfully, which view is now fully supported by Mr Malins’ report (independent investigator Julian Malins), the siege of media coverage has driven away virtually all of the company’s customers and suppliers.” continued the announcement issued today by the data analytics company.

“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.”

While Cambridge Analytica declared it would have helped the UK authorities in investigating into the Facebook scandal, last month, the Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham declared that the company failed to meet a deadline to produce the information requested by the authorities.

According to the official statement published by Cambridge Analytica on its website, its parent company SCL Elections was also commencing bankruptcy proceedings.

Journalists and experts are skeptical about the decision of the companies to shut down.

“The chair of a UK parliament committee investigating the firm’s activities also raised concerns about Cambridge Analytica and SCL Elections’ move.” reported the BBC.

“They are party to very serious investigations and those investigations cannot be impeded by the closure of these companies,” said Damian Collins MP.

“I think it’s absolutely vital that the closure of these companies is not used as an excuse to try and limit or restrict the ability of the authorities to investigate what they were doing.”

Is this the end of the story?

No, of course, let me close with this statement published by The Guardian about the future projects of Alexander Nix and his collaborators.

“Although Cambridge Analytica might be dead, the team behind it has already set up a mysterious new company called Emerdata. According to Companies House data, Alexander Nix is listed as a director along with other executives from SCL Group. The daughters of the billionaire Robert Mercer are also listed as directors.” reads The Guardian.

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – privacy scandal, Facebook)

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