Cambridge Analytica, the firm that claims it used personal data to sway the last US election, planned to issue a cryptocurrency to enhance it’s powers of political persuasion, the New York Times reports.
In addition to considering their own ICO (Initial Coin Offering), Cambridge Analytica marketed their predictive data analytics services to several companies planning ICOs. Conclusions based on data, the firm claimed, would help them furnish “psychographic profiles” of potentially sympathetic ICO investors that could be targeted in marketing campaigns.
ICO matters at Cambridge Analytica were managed by Brittany Kaiser, who at one point worked on the Brexit campaign on behalf of ‘Leave EU,’ whereby she spoke on a panel about Cambridge Analytica’s use of data in politics:
“At Leave EU we’re going to be running a bottom-up campaign…we’re going to be running large scale research throughout the EU…to make sure we turn out more first time…, unregistered…, more apathetic voters than ever before.”
The Times also reports that Kaiser coordinated discreet efforts to market an ICO that has been associated with a Macau gangster, a cryptocurrency called Dragon Coin designed to help gamblers more easily port money into Macau.
Blockchain consultant Jill Carlson attended several meetings with Cambridge Analytica and ICO companies it courted.
Officially, Cambridge Analytica said their ICO would give consumers a chance to sell data directly to CA rather than giving it away on Facebook, for example. The service would also conveniently cut out the middleman for Cambridge Analytica.
“We’re going to see a new type of economy emerging where people can start to take ownership of their data and monetize on their data. And that is only possible through the blockchain.” -Alexander Nix, CEO, Cambridge Analytica #CryptoHQ #blockchain #BuenoCapital #Decentranet pic.twitter.com/cjdSmdMWxt
— Crypto HQ (@cryptohqglobal) January 24, 2018
Carlson said she heard CA employees brag they’d gotten Donald Trump elected, and said employees discussed several other potential campaigns, including a hypothetical scenario where Cambridge Analytica could use it’s cryptocurrency to pay people living in remote parts of Mexico to fill out political surveys, information that would then be used to tailor political campaigns within Mexico.
“The way that Cambridge Analytica was talking about it, they were viewing it as a means of being able to basically inflict government control and private corporate control over individuals, which just takes the whole initial premise of this technology and turns it on its head in this very dystopian way,” Carlson said.
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