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article imageAggregateIQ is not the independent data broker it claimed to be

By Karen Graham     Apr 7, 2018 in Internet
AggregateIQ, a Canadian advertising tech and audience intelligence company, has been suspended by Facebook for allegedly being closely connected with SCL, the parent company of Cambridge Analytica.
“In light of recent reports that AggregateIQ may be affiliated with SCL and may, as a result, have improperly received FB user data, we have added them to the list of entities we have suspended from our platform while we investigate,” Facebook said in a statement on Friday.
Founded in 2005, Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL) is a private British behavioral research and strategic communication company. In the United States, SCL has gained public recognition mainly through its affiliated corporation Cambridge Analytica. The company describes itself as a "global election management agency."
Facebook has been under intense scrutiny after it was learned that the data of millions of its users ended up in the hands of political consultancy Cambridge Analytica. Whistleblower Christopher Wylie, who once worked at Cambridge Analytica reportedly said the company worked with AggregatedIQ.
Wylie explained the connection to the Guardian: "Essentially it was set up as a Canadian entity for people who wanted to work on SCL projects who didn’t want to move to London. That’s how AIQ got started: originally to service SCL and Cambridge Analytica projects."
However, last month, Aggregate IQ was linked to pro-Leave Brexit groups and was not the independent Canadian data broker it claimed to be. According to TechCrunch, "AggregateIQ received £3.5 million from pro-leave campaign groups in the run-up to the 2016 Brexit referendum and has been described by pro-leave Brexit campaigners as instrumental in securing their win.
AggregateIQ has denied any affiliation with CA or SCL, claiming on its website “it is and has always been 100% Canadian owned and operated."
But the Canadian Press has learned AIQ received a one-time contribution of $100,000 from the National Research Council for a nine-month project aimed at developing digital tools to predict who would turn out to vote, as well as support a specific candidate, and to predict the outcome of a campaign’s communications strategy.
Needless to say, the British Columbia company is now under investigation by both privacy officials in Ottawa, B.C., and the United Kingdom. Facebook Canada on Wednesday revealed that over 600,000 Canadians had their data “improperly shared” with Cambridge Analytica.
London-based Cambridge Analytica, which counts U.S. President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign among its clients, said on Wednesday on Twitter that it had "received no more than 30 million records from a researcher it hired to collect data about people on Facebook."
More about Facebook, aggregateIQ, Brexit, data scandal, Cambridge Analytica
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