(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

B.C. to move salmon farms out of coastal migration route

Broughton Archipelago plan set to start in spring of 2019

City of Campbell River transit to get some infrastructure help next year

Hint: It’s a bus pullout on Dogwood at Carihi and doubling the rate of bus shelter installation

Stranded B.C. trucker writes final wishes before being rescued 3 days later

‘I was just praying someone would come along’

Campbell River School District calls for report on buses and seat-belts

Parents have questions following expose on research around buses and safety

New wind warning for most of Vancouver Island

Forecasters are calling for strong winds up to 90km/h for some areas

REPLAY: B.C’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

Microscopic parasite found in Prince Rupert water affecting thousands

More than 12,000 residents affected by the boil water advisory issued Dec. 14

Trudeau lashes out at Conservatives over migration “misinformation”

Warning against the “dangers of populism,” Trudeau says using immigration as a wedge political issue puts Canada’s future at risk.

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

Todd Hickling gathered donations and used gear to remove the cost barrier for kids to play hockey.

Canada’s ambassador meets with second detainee in China

Global Affairs says John McCallum, Canada’s ambassador to China, met with Spavor Sunday

‘They’re coming:’ Flying cars may appear in urban skies by 2023

Air taxis will number 15,000 and become a global market worth $32 billion by 2035

B.C. VIEWS: Andrew Wilkinson on taxes, ICBC and union changes

Opposition leader sees unpredictable year ahead in 2019

5 tips for self-care, mental wellness this holiday season

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions urging British Columbians to prioritize self care through festive season

Rescued B.C. cat with misshapen legs in need of forever home – with carpet

Mirielle was born with misshapen back legs and after a tough life on the streets, is looking for a forever home.

Most Read