(Screenshot/AggregateIQ.com)

B.C. company denies link to Facebook data scandal

Victoria-based AggregateIQ Data Services denies any connection to Cambridge Analytica

A small Victoria, B.C.-based tech firm has found itself mired in a privacy scandal unfolding in Europe as it faces accusations that it played a role in influencing Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.

AggregateIQ Data Services Ltd. is a digital advertising, web and software development company, according to its website.

Whistleblowers claim the company is connected to efforts to circumvent election finance rules during the Brexit referendum and played an outsized role in the eventual win for the “leave” side.

They say that VoteLeave violated the spending limit rules by donating 625,000 pounds (about C$1.1 million) to the pro-Brexit student group BeLeave, then sending the money directly to AggregateIQ.

One of the whistleblowers, Christopher Wylie, claims he helped found AggregateIQ while he worked for SCL, which is the parent company of Cambridge Analytica. Wylie also alleges that Cambridge Analytica used data harvested from more than 50-million Facebook users to help U.S. President Donald Trump win the 2016 election.

READ MORE: Liberals tried pilot project with Facebook whistleblower

Wylie told the digital, culture, media and sport committee of the U.K. Parliament that he “absolutely” believed AggregateIQ drew on Cambridge Analytica’s databases for its work on the official Vote Leave campaign.

“I think it is incredibly reasonable to say that AIQ played a very significant role in Leave winning,” he said.

The campaign appears to have previously verified the company’s role in its success.

“Without a doubt, the Vote Leave campaign owes a great deal of its success to the work of AggregateIQ. We couldn’t have done it without them,” reads a quote from Dominic Cummings, a Vote Leave campaign director, on a cached version of AggregateIQ’s website.

AggregateIQ did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment and its listed office line went unanswered and did not connect to a voicemail service.

The company denies any connection to Cambridge Analytica in a statement posted on its website on March 24 and said it works in full legal and regulatory compliance in the jurisdictions where it operates.

READ MORE: Facebook’s Zuckerberg admits mistakes in privacy scandal

“AggregateIQ has never been and is not a part of Cambridge Analytica or SCL”, reads the statement, adding that it never entered into a contract with Cambridge Analytica or employed Wylie.

“It has never knowingly been involved in any illegal activity,” it said. ”All work AggregateIQ does for each client is kept separate from every other client.”

However, a cached version of SCL’s website shows it once listed a Canadian office located in Victoria. The phone number listed leads to Zackary Massingham, AggregateIQ’s president since 2011, according to his LinkedIn page. He did not respond to a voicemail left at that number.

AggregateIQ’s website also previously included a statement defending the company against allegations it used Cambridge Analytica’s Facebook data.

The company said it ”has never managed, nor did we ever have access to, any Facebook data or database allegedly obtained improperly by Cambridge Analytica.” That statement has since been removed from the website.

Aleksandra Sagan, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Mount Moresby Adventure Camp aims to protect trails, ecosystems with expanded tenure

New tenure boundaries would also allow MMAC to rebuild lakeside dock for campers and general public

Signs of the Yakoun’s power

Shifting logs along the Golden Spruce Trail are almost certainly signs of powerful flooding

Court to rule on Husby injunction against protest at Collison Point

A B.C. Supreme Court judge will soon decide whether to grant an… Continue reading

Masset RCMP seek man wanted for assault

Masset police are seeking a man who faces two charges of assault.… Continue reading

VIDEO: Moose found licking salt off B.C. man’s pickup truck

Tab Baker was in his garage in Prince George when the small moose gave his truck a clean

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Alberta man dead after snowmobile collision on B.C. mountain

The incident occurred on Boulder Mountain Friday morning

B.C. parents grieving teen’s overdose death say it started with opioid prescription

Elliot Eurchuk, 16, died at his Oak Bay home Friday, after taking street drugs to sleep

16 of 20 fastest improving B.C. schools are public: Fraser Institute

Independent elementary schools remain at top of the chart in think tank’s annual report card

NAFTA: Talks continue through weekend in scramble to get a deal

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland called negotiations ‘perpetual’

Pulp mill fined $900,000 for leaking effluent into B.C. lake

Mackenzie Pulp Mill pleaded guilty to depositing deleterious substance into water frequented by fish

B.C.’s 2-year lobbying ban starts May 1

Office of the Registrar of Lobbyists can grant exemptions from the prohibition if public interest

Horgan speaks of government’s successes to ‘friends’ at CUPE BC convention

CUPE BC president Paul Faoro said was first time a B.C. premier addressed convention in some time

Most Read