(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

Faulty transmission line in Campbell River caused loud noise, flickering lights, says BC Hydro

Natural gas power plant went offline following BC Hydro equipment failure

Divers bring up more tires, crab traps and old bottles from the water

For the first five years of its annual clean-up of the waters… Continue reading

May thinks time is right for Greens to make gains

Green Party leader in Campbell River for event with local candidate Mark de Bruijn

Strathcona Regional District looking at pay hikes for board members

The Strathcona Regional District board is planning on a pay raise. At… Continue reading

City still fighting for long-term plan for Snowden

Another letter from the province without ‘tangible response’ spurs mayor to request in-person meeting

The good, bad and the unknown of Apple’s new services

The announcements lacked some key details, such as pricing of the TV service

Is it a homicide? B.C. woman dies in hospital, seven months after being shot

Stepfather think Chilliwack case should now be a homicide, but IHIT has not confirmed anything

SPCA seizes 54 animals from Vernon property

Animals weren’t receiving adequate care

Morneau unveils principles for Indigenous ownership in Trans Mountain pipeline

The controversial pipeline was bought by Ottawa last year

Refugee who sheltered Edward Snowden in Hong Kong arrives in Canada

Vanessa Rodel and her seven-year-old daughter Keana arrived in Toronto this week

New UMSCA trade deal getting a boost from Trump, business groups

The trade deal is designed to supplant the North American Free Trade Agreement

Trudeau says he, Wilson-Raybould had cordial conversation last week

Trudeau denies anything improper occurred regarding SNC-Lavalin and the PMO

SNC-Lavalin backtracks on CEO’s comments surrounding potential job losses

Top boss had said protecting 9,000 jobs should grant leniency

Vancouver Island home to B.C.’s luckiest lotto store

Five million-dollar winners bought tickets from same Port Alberni corner store

Most Read