Cambridge Analytica won’t be rebranded under a new name, its founder says

CEO of Cambridge Analytica, Alexander Nix.

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CEO of Cambridge Analytica, Alexander Nix.
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Pedro Nunes/Reuters

  • The founder of Cambridge Analytica’s parent company, Nigel Oakes, told Bloomberg on Tuesday the firm won’t be rebranding under a new company called Emerdata.
  • Emerdata, the mysterious data firm featuring several top Cambridge Analytica executives, is under the control of a court appointed administrator in the U.K., Oakes said.
  • Oakes did not say what will happen to Cambridge Analytica’s data.

The founder of Cambridge Analytica’s parent company, SCL Group, says the controversial data analytics firm will not be revived under a new name.

Since the firm, and its UK counterpart SCL Elections, announced it would be shutting down and declaring bankruptcy last week, several privacy advocates have feared the company would rebrand under a mysterious company called Emerdata, which was created in August 2017 and has several top SCL executives sitting on its board, including Rebekah and Jennifer Mercer, the daughters of billionaire conservative donor Robert Mercer.

In an interview with Bloomberg, on Tuesday, Nigel Oakes, who founded SCL Group, said Emerdata was “in administration,” meaning that it is being managed by a court appointed administrator under UK insolvency, or bankruptcy, proceedings.

“It’s the end of the show,” he told Bloomberg. “The whole lot is gone. There’s no secret. For anything like this to recreate itself you need a team of people to work together but nobody is working together. Everybody has gone off to do their own things.”

Oakes said the original idea when Emerdata was founded last year was to acquire Cambridge Analytica and SCL Elections to put them under one roof. He added that Firecrest Technologies, another company created in March by former Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix, would also be shut down. Firecrest’s main shareholder was Emerdata, according to Bloomberg.

Oakes did not give any indication about what would happen to Cambridge Analytica’s voter profile data, but it’s possible it could be sold to the highest bidder, at least in the U.S. Despite insolvency proceedings, the firm will still have to contend with a ruling from Britain’s privacy watchdog ordering it to hand over the data it has on a U.S. resident in addition to investigations into the firm’s practices.

He also did not say if SCL Group, the parent company of Cambridge Analytica and SCL Elections, would also be winding down.

Cambridge Analytica is at the center of a global debate about data privacy for allegedly breaking Facebook’s rules to obtain the personal data of up to 87 million of the social network’s users. The company reportedly used the data to create psychological profiles of Facebook users to target them with ads on behalf of the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election and on behalf of those advocating that Great Britain should leave the European union ahead of the Brexit vote that same year.