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Palantir, a secretive company co-founded by billionaire Peter Thiel, worked with Cambridge Analytica, the political analysis firm that harvested data from Facebook users, whistleblower Christopher Wylie told U.K. lawmakers Tuesday.
Wylie claimed that Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix was introduced to Palantir by Sophie Schmidt, the daughter of former Google CEO Eric Schmidt.
Thiel, who has not been accused of any wrongdoing, was not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC.
Wylie, a former employee of Cambridge Analytica, said Nix had "several meetings" with Palantir.
"Senior Palantir employees" then worked on the Facebook profile data that was acquired by Cambridge Analytica, Wylie claimed.
"That was not an official contract between Palantir and Cambridge Analytica, but there were Palantir staff that would come into the office and work on that data," Wylie told lawmakers. He added that Palantir staff "helped build the models we were working on."
Palantir has previously done work for the National Security Agency and is backed by the CIA's not-for-profit venture capital firm. Palantir's CEO Alex Karp, who is also not accused of wrongdoing, was also one of the technology executives who was at a meeting with Trump in December 2016.
Wylie said the Canadian-based company that worked on Brexit, AggregateIQ, was a “franchise” of SCL and built the software that Cambridge Analytica and others used for its election operations.
He said Tuesday it had previously been involved in Nigerian elections, and had an Israeli company called Black Cube hack private health data from current Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari.
Black Cube said in a statement to the Daily News that it "always operated within the boundaries of the law in every jurisdiction it operates" and that Wylie's assertion is a "flagrant lie" perhaps worthy of a defamation suit.
Buhari won election in 2015, but had unsuccessfully run three times before, when Wylie said AggregateIQ handled the hacked data and also distributed threatening anti-Islamic videos that showed people’s throats being cut in an effort to intimidate voters.
Undercover footage aired by the UK’s Channel 4 also showed now-suspended Cambridge Analytica leader Alexander Nix, who said that his company could use prostitutes to entrap candidates.
Christopher Wylie, the 28-year-old political strategist whose allegations against Cambridge Analytica have prompted investigations on both sides of the Atlantic, told the British parliamentary committee on media that one of Cambridge’s former employees, Dan Muresan, may have been murdered during a business trip in Kenya.
Muresan, 32, was founded dead in a hotel room in Nairobi, Kenya, in September 2012. The cause of death was listed as a heart attack, according to Romanian press.
Muresan was the head of elections at SCL Group, Cambridge Analytica’s parent company, for two years before his death. According to one report, Muresan communicated that he just landed a contract in Nairobi and was planning to visit his father afterwards.
Muresan’s father, Ioan Avram Muresan, the former Romanian agriculture minister, was convicted of embezzlement in February 2012. At the time of his son’s death, he was imprisoned in Gherla.
“When you work in Kenyan politics, or politics in a lot of African countries, if a deal goes wrong then you can pay for it,” Wylie told the British lawmakers.
“What I heard was that he was working on some kind of deal of some sort ... and that a deal went sour ... people suspected that he was poisoned in his hotel room,” he said. “I also heard that the police had got bribed to not enter the hotel room for 24 hours.”
originally posted by: TonyS
a reply to: the2ofusr1
Yea, which brings to my mind the question: What in the world will the next election cycle look like? With all this data and the campaigns using consultants and the onslaught of weird crap on social media?
Its gonna be a friggin' circus of accusations, innuendo, calls for investigations, assertions and denials.
originally posted by: LesMisanthrope
a reply to: theantediluvian
Besides, the whole charade that any of these firms have the influence they have is drastically overblown, and this charade will lead us to the government intervention into the internet.
originally posted by: Kandinsky
a reply to: theantediluvian
I was thinking about you the other day when the CA story started to unfold. You mentioned similar in threads last year and sent me on a few hours of browsing. Tip of the hat to you.
Brad Parscale: I understood early that Facebook was how Donald Trump was going to win. Twitter is how he talked to the people. Facebook was going to be how he won.
Lesley Stahl: And Facebook IS how he won.
Brad Parscale: I think so. I think Donald Trump won, but I think Facebook was the method -- it was the highway in which his car drove on.
Brad Parscale: Facebook, we did 'em on Twitter, Google search, other platforms. Facebook was the 500-pound gorilla, 80 percent of the budget kind of thing.
Facebook's advertising technology helped President Obama in 2012, but today Facebook offers something far more precise and sophisticated. While the president recently tweeted that "Facebook was always anti-Trump," Parscale relied heavily on the company, particularly on its cutting-edge targeting tools.
Lesley Stahl: One of the best things Facebook did for you, I heard, was penetrate the rural vote. Is that correct?
Brad Parscale: Yeah. So Facebook now lets you get to places and places possibly that you would never go with TV ads. Now, I can find, you know, 15 people in the Florida Panhandle that I would never buy a TV commercial for. And, we took opportunities that I think the other side didn't.
Lesley Stahl: Like what?
Brad Parscale: Well, we had our-- their staff embedded inside our offices.
Lesley Stahl: What?
Brad Parscale: Yeah, Facebook employees would show up for work every day in our offices.
originally posted by: schuyler
Let me get this straight. People who use Facebook VOLUNTARILY provide information about themselves. They type it in, upload it, link it, etc. When people take a quiz or do something interactive on Facebook, the app frequently says, "We will take your Facebook data if you want to do this." When you load an app on your smart phone and interact with Facebook, Facebook says, "We need access to your contact list to do this." I realize people do not read "Terms and Conditions" and simply press "I agree" when they encounter those long-winded legalistic statements. Few people carefully pore over this information and ponder just what it is they are agreeing to. But they do agree to it. And now when it turns out Facebook actually uses the data they collect, or gives it away, or gets it stolen from them, people are "outraged."
What the Hell did people expect?
In the name of protecting us from datamining, now the government will step in and start to censor info they dont like on social media.