A report out today in Reuters highlights that UK based, data mining political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica have recently approached different companies for advice on the process of setting up an Initial Coin Offering, in what looks like an attempt to raise $30million in funds.
Now, there’s no evidence to link this report with the on-going Facebook
data breach scandal, of which Cambridge Analytica are at the centre of, but what it does suggest is that Cambridge Analytica did look to set up an ICO, a funding system that may be seen as very controversial for such a big firm.
With regards to the Facebook scandal specifically, Cambridge Analytica are accused of harvesting personal data from 50million Facebook profiles, data which was then used to psychologically profile victims to drive advertising
campaigns, targeted at voters in the US elections. Similar allegations are being looked into with regards to how the firm minded data during the UK EU Referendum also. Facebook are also a part of this, under allegations that they let it happen.
Running an ICO of course, could have helped boost this campaign and give Cambridge Analytica an instant source of income which would have accelerated their seemingly illegal, data mining process. Perhaps the ICO would have allowed victims to buy their stolen data back from the firm?
According to Reuters, a spokesperson from Cambridge Analytica has responded to this report:
“Prior to the Facebook controversy, we were developing a suite of technologies to help individuals reclaim their personal data from corporate entities and to have full transparency and control over how their personal data are used. We were exploring multiple options for people to manage and monetise their personal data, including blockchain technology.”
I was joking when I said, maybe they will allow victims to buy their stolen data back, however, that actually seems far more realistic now doesn’t it.
It does seem that Cambridge Analytica want to break into the blockchain industry because realistically, it’s a platform that could be very advantageous for their company. They could use the blockchain to incentivise the sale of data, meaning they could reduce the need to carry out the devious actions that have got them in the mess they currently find themselves in.
However, in light of the scandal, I do believe if they set up an ICO to fund this, they would really struggle to see any investment now. Why would anybody want to invest in a company that has been caught, illegally spying on people for financial gain?
We know that the cryptocurrency community love to protect their data, honestly, that’s part of the beauty of the blockchain
. Cambridge Analytica sound like the bad guys here, would people really sell out and let them handle their data in return for cryptocurrency? Moreover, why do they need to buy data off people when really, they could just steal it anyway?
This ICO revelation does add a new chapter to the story of Cambridge Analytica, perhaps it will also find its way into the on-going Facebook investigation too.
Or, maybe the blockchain could offer Cambridge Analytica a second chance and let them prove their integrity to a community that is currently seeing them in a really, really bad light.
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