Fugitive couch-surfer and angry leaker Julian Assange has made the explosive claim that Cambridge Analytica asked WikiLeaks for something before last year's US presidential election.
I can confirm an approach by Cambridge Analytica [prior to November last year] and can confirm that it was rejected by WikiLeaks.— Julian Assange 🔹 (@JulianAssange) October 25, 2017
Cambridge Analytica is known to have provided services to US president Donald Trump's campaign and is owned by investors including Robert Mercer, billionaire keen on conservative causes. The company's political services arm offers “data driven political campaigns”, and claims it will “find your voters and move them to action.”
“CA Political has redefined the relationship between data and campaigns,” the company says. “By knowing your electorate better, you can achieve greater influence while lowering overall costs.”
The company's modus operandi appears to involve micro-targeted ads, a practice that some find uncomfortable but The Register's own SA Mathieson rated as not quite the dystopia you're looking for.
Assange's Tweeted claim is, however, significant in the context of the three US congressional inquiries into Trump's links to Russia. US intelligence agencies believe that leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) made their way to WikiLeaks through Russian sources. It's therefore possible to imagine links from Trump, to Cambridge Analytica, to Russia. And possibly also to secret unicorn farms where horns are ground into chemical weapons that will see North Korea achieve world domination.
Assange has previously denied the DNC leaks came from Russian sources. He's said nothing more on this matter, other than to say he's not told anyone what Cambridge Analytica sought. Other reports say the company sought Hillary Clinton's controversial private emails, in order to make them public.
We have confirmed the approach and rejection only. Not the subject. https://t.co/UOLY62tDY5— Julian Assange 🔹 (@JulianAssange) October 25, 2017
Clinton used a private email server for some official business during her term as secretary of state. Investigations found that decision worthy of reprimand, but no further action was taken. Trump's campaign featured calls for Clinton to be prosecuted over the emails.
The Republican Party has responded to Assange's Tweet by pointing out Trump signed up to use its own analytics operation, which it suggests was a major factor in the Tweeter-in-chief winning his job. ®