Tech

Meet Auspex International, the new Cambridge Analytica 2.0

The former staff of Cambridge Analytica have set up a new data analysis business, using the same methods as their predecessor, to focus on social and political campaigns in the Middle East and Africa.

Auspex International officially launched last night, although Companies House filings show the business was incorporated on 7 June.

So far the company has one sole backer, a former director of Cambridge Analytica's parent company Emerdata named Ahmad Al-Khatib who was in the role for just three months before resigning in May 2018. Another Auspex director, as listed on Companies House, is Alastair Harris. His Linkedin page claims that he was a director of Cambridge Analytica over the same period.

Auspex's top boss is Mark Turnbull, a former managing director at troubled public relations firm Bell Pottinger. He spent two years as managing director of Cambridge Analytica's politics effort, and was caught on camera in an undercover documentary discussing the firm's dealings with intelligence agencies.

Read more: Facebook has yet to convince MPs in its response to Cambridge Analytica

According to the Financial Times, the new company has already won a contract for political work in an unidentified African state. Though Auspex does not own the rights to any of Cambridge Analytica's patents, it believes that clients will pay for its services despite its staff's scandal-ridden history.

Al-Khatib told the paper that Auspex will be using data that has been made publicly available, as well as sourcing new information from brokers and its clients. The company will also put a premium on search data over personal data, and is investigating ways to gain access to data from internet histories and sites like Google.

The news comes just days after the UK's Information Commissioner's Office warned Facebook that it is facing the maximum fine over its role in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Read more: Facebook gets hit with maximum fine by UK watchdog over Cambridge Analytica

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