Cambridge Analytica this week announced that it is folding down but it could yet remerge under a new name, the Financial Times reported.
Despite filing for bankruptcy and announcing the firm will be shutting down, Cambridge Analytica may simply be rebranded as Emerdata.
Emerdata is a new data firm that the parent company of Cambridge Analytica – SCL Elections – set up last year. The companies share the same registered address and the same directors. SCL Elections is a division of the private military contractor SCL Group.
Asked whether Cambridge Analytica will morph into Emerdata, a company spokesperson did not deny it. “Many international corporates have different divisions and different arms for different types of the business,” a Cambridge Analytica spokesperson said, adding that it is a business decision the Cambridge Analytica company board could take in due course.
This has not gone unnoticed and UK lawmakers are concerned the disgraced company is trying to continue its activities under a new name
“It’s like the Hydra beast of Greek mythology – you cut one head off and another one grows. I think it will be business as usual for Cambridge Analytica but under a different name,” Damian Collins, chair of the UK parliamentary select committee for digital, culture, media and sport said.
The Financial Times reported that the daughters of one of SCL’s owners, Robert Mercer – the hedge fund billionaire and prominent supporter of US President Donald Trump were appointed directors of Emerdata in March.
According to the New York Times, SCL officials have been discussing re-branding Cambridge Analytica and Nigel Oakes, an executive and partner of SCL Group, has publicly described Emerdata as a way of rolling up SCL Group and Cambridge Analytica into one company.
Alexander Nix, the former CEO of Cambridge Analytica who was caught on tape talking about bribing and blackmailing politicians, and who resigned a few weeks ago alongside other SCL Group executives, has also joined Emerdata.
The two companies said they would be filing for bankruptcy in the US and UK after a whistleblower revealed how Cambridge Analytica had bought Facebook user data and Channel 4 news released footage of Cambridge Analytica executives offering to use underhand tactics to discredit political candidates.
Cambridge Analytica was accused of improperly obtaining personal information on behalf of political clients, including Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and the Brexit campaign.
Cambridge Analytica denied any wrongdoing, but said that the negative media coverage has left it with no clients and mounting legal fees.
It was engulfed by controversy after reports that it obtained data on millions of Facebook users through a seemingly innocuous personality test app.
According to Facebook, data of about up to 87 million of its members was harvested and then passed onto the political consultancy.
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