Cambridge Analytica connections to new company Emerdata raise concerns of a ‘hydra beast’ resurrection
May 4, 2018
Just days after Cambridge Analytica announced it would be closing its doors, a new report reveals ties between the data collection political outfit and another company called Emerdata, raising concerns that the same company could simply reemerge under a new name.
Lawmakers and former employees of Cambridge Analytica tipped the Financial Times off to its ties to Emerdata, including the same registered address in London, and the same board of directors.
The revelations led Damian Collins, chair of the U.K. parliamentary select committee for digital, culture, media and sport to compare Cambridge Analytica to “the hydra beast of Greek mythology,” a multi-headed monster that would regrow them if they were cut off. Collins speculated that “it will be business as usual” for the company, simply operating under a different name.
The Times inquired with Cambridge Analytica about Emerdata, but concerns over the connections were dismissed, and an official portrayed such partnerships as business as usual for an international corporation.
The data analysis firm announced on Wednesday that it has shut down. The move came after the company was rocked by yet another scandal — a recording of suspended CEO Alexander Nix boasting about entrapping political opponents with bribes and sex.
Previously, Cambridge Analytica was accused of improperly collecting and using data from Facebook while it worked for the campaign of President Donald Trump. The social network has attempted to distance itself from the company, saying it improperly accessed the private data of millions of users and used it to target political ads on the network.
OWI Take: The swift and unexpected closure of Cambridge Analytica certainly raised eyebrows, and the connections to Emerdata certainly do not inspire confidence that the company is truly shuttered for good. However, close scrutiny from lawmakers, as well as changes to the Facebook platform and the types of data companies have the ability to access, will hopefully limit the reach of Cambridge Analytica, Emerdata, or any other similar firm.