back to article Cambridge Analytica dismantled for good? Nope: It just changed its name to Emerdata

The company formerly known as Cambridge Analytica shocked the media today when it announced an immediate shutdown and liquidation of its business. That "shutdown," however, may be short-lived as official documents indicate those behind the controversial analytics company will be launching as a new firm with a less-toxic brand …

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  1. Alistair Silver badge
    Windows

    Here comes the new boss.

    Same as the old boss.....

    Now, lets see if they actually manage to put on opaque clothing.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Here comes the new boss.

      Sort of like when Blackwater become Xe Academi, lose the name with the tainted rep but the same people will run it and the same shady stuff like continue to be done.

      I'm sure CA's Facebook user lists will be used at the new company, but it will be kept very hush-hush / need to know so only a handful of high level employees will know and they won't go bragging about it to customers. Instead they'll serve up some spiel about "proprietary AI algorithms that produce results at least as good as what CA did with the Facebook user lists <wink wink>"

      No way they'll delete it, that data is too valuable. Besides that data has probably been sold to / traded to / stolen by other firms doing similar work by now, they will see it as a competitive necessity to keep using it.

      1. Mike Richards Silver badge

        Re: Here comes the new boss.

        That would be Blackwater/Xe/Academi run by Erik Prince who is also linked to Emerdata?

    2. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
      Boffin

      Meh.... Re: Here comes the new boss.

      Cambridge Analytica didn't do anything wrong.

      They played by FB rules.

      And remember that FB *gave* Obama access freely to the same data.

      Yet w Trump's team *buying* access? Everyone is up in arms.

      Lets be fair and place blame on the punters who didn't think or care that the free service(s) they got were really stealing their data.

      1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Down voted really? Re: Meh.... Here comes the new boss.

        Let me get this straight....

        Are you ok with FB capturing data about you and capturing data not just on FB users but others because sites like El Reg link their js code?

        Are you therefore OK when they freely share this information w Obama's team?

        The researcher who sold the data to CA is the one who broke the rules w FB. Not CA. Nor Trump campaign which paid CA to use the data.

        So what's the outrage?

        IMHO if you're dumb enough to have FB account... then you have no reason to be outraged. If you don't have a FB account, then you have a reason to be outraged. But lets be clear. Not CA or Trump but at FB

        1. nsld

          Re: Down voted really? Meh.... Here comes the new boss.

          Meanwhile in Cam Anal's offices.....

          Nix: We are really in the s*** here, no amount of Ukranian entertainment units are going to get us out of this mess.

          Minion: Should we deploy some analytics and advertising gizmo wizadry to get across the message that what we do isnt that bad compared to chucking kittens in a blender and really polish that turd sir?

          Nix: No, we need something more powerful than that, something that can only be found in a trailerpark, something born of an unholy union between close relatives and livestock.

          Minion: Are you sure sir? Really?

          Nix: Yes, call Gumby, he can save the day..............

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Down voted really? Meh.... Here comes the new boss.

            All: Because he's GUMBY, dammit!!!

      2. GIRZiM
        Facepalm

        @ Ian Michael Gumby: No-one gives a toss

        ... about Trump or Obama.

        This is a UK tech site, not the Faux News site - we don't care who did worse, we're just pissed off that F*ckbook allowed anyone to do it at all!

        This isn't a political issue, it's a moral one! You know what morals are, right? You can tell the difference, yeah? You're not some simpleton with their head up their arse about their personal bogeyman on the other team and who has absolutely no perspective whatsoever and not the least clue what's going on, are you?

      3. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Meh.... Here comes the new boss.

        "Cambridge Analytica didn't do anything wrong.

        They played by FB rules."

        That's two different things. CA did do wrong, even though they played by Facebook's rules. Facebook also did (and does) wrong on the same issue.

        But let's not forget that the Facebook thing is only a small part of CA's wrongdoing. Even if we ignore it completely, they were clearly engaging in behavior that was wrong however you look at it, and in violation of laws. Have we forgotten the video of the CEO admitting that?

      4. Guasilas

        Re: Meh.... Here comes the new boss.

        Cambridge Analytica was a red herring. Concentrating on them avoided questions about who in the other camp got and used the same sort of info in exactly the same way.

  2. J. R. Hartley Silver badge

    The title is no longer required.

    God I love The Reg.

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: The title is no longer required.

      The original headline was, as can be seen here...

      Cambridge Anal. plugged once and for all? Maybe not

      And as amusing as that was, it was going to set off a few too many corporate web and email filters. Hope people enjoyed it while they could.

      C.

      1. jake Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: The title is no longer required.

        :-)

        Beers all 'round.

      2. sictransit

        Re: The title is no longer required.

        In a hole…

      3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Coat

        Cambridge Anal. plugged once and for all? Maybe not

        True, the company name was a gift.

        But "Emerdata" seems immune to such frivolity.

        It's aserious company name, where serious people do serious business in an above-board and thoroughly transparent way. No dodgy databases here, nosir.

        Is it just me that keeps typing it as "enemadata" ?

        1. Danny 14 Silver badge

          Re: Cambridge Anal. plugged once and for all? Maybe not

          perhaps after being plugged once and for all they will need a flushing through?

        2. jake Silver badge

          Re: Cambridge Anal. plugged once and for all? Maybe not

          Is it just me who keeps reading it as "Emmerdale"? It has all the earmarks of a soap opera that just refuses to die ...

          1. Jedit
            Thumb Up

            "Is it just me who keeps reading it as "Emmerdale"? "

            Well, they are farmers.

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

            2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

              Re: "Is it just me who keeps reading it as "Emmerdale"? "

              I'm just expecting (actually pretty certain) that "Emertata Farm" is going to be the repeated joke on El Reg for them.

          2. WallMeerkat Bronze badge

            Re: Cambridge Anal. plugged once and for all? Maybe not

            It does sound like a wiki for Emmerdale, where people can get into real detail about Alan Turner's Range Rover, Seth's sideburns and when Eric Pollard used to peddle antiques from a Citroen ZX.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Cambridge Anal. plugged once and for all? Maybe not

              It does sound like a wiki for Emmerdale, where people can get into real detail about Alan Turner's Range Rover, Seth's sideburns and when Eric Pollard used to peddle antiques from a Citroen ZX.

              Alan Turing drove a Range Rover?

              I'd be happy just looking at pictures of Jasmine all day - never could watch the show without subtitles.(Though not as bad as those shows with scottish accents that they have to re-dub for the U.S.A. market)

        3. Stoneshop Silver badge
          Windows

          Re: Cambridge Anal. plugged once and for all? Maybe not

          Is it just me that keeps typing it as "enemadata" ?

          "Eh, merde data"

          Icon: someone holding a vile brew to overcome the stench of Cambridge Anal merde data.

          1. ardj

            Re: Cambridge Anal. plugged once and for all? Maybe not

            In fact the new name is just as bad as the old (cf. The Reg's tweet): 'emmerder' means to annoy or to land someone in the shit

        4. Kurgan

          Emerdata sounds like...

          Emerdata, in Italian, sounds like e-merdata. Which translates to something like E-bullshit, E-shittiness, E-shit, E-something-that's-shitty.

          In fact "merda" is shit, and "merdata" is more or less something that's definitely shitty.

          Isn't it perfect?

  3. JohnFen Silver badge

    Of course they'll come back

    That's the way that scum like this operate.

    From their statement:

    "Cambridge Analytica has been the subject of numerous unfounded accusations"

    True. And numerous well-founded accusations, which they conveniently ignore.

    "despite the Company’s efforts to correct the record"

    I've seen a lot of these attempts -- and they were absolutely pitiful and insulting.

    "has been vilified for activities that are not only legal, but also widely accepted as a standard component of online advertising in both the political and commercial arenas,"

    (in addition to being vilified for their illegal and non-widely-accepted behaviors)

    They're not wrong in claiming that many of the nefarious things they were up to were legal and common practice. However, they're wrong in thinking that is an effective defense -- these are activities that they should be vilified for. The sad thing, in my view, is that most of the other organizations that do similar things are not being vilified as well.

    Hopefully that will change.

    1. Big John Silver badge

      Re: Of course they'll come back

      If they are so evil, then how do you feel about Barrack Obama doing exactly the same Facebook mining in 2012 during his reelection campaign, and bragging about it too?

      1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

        Re: Obama

        This is Whataboutism, which is bad. Just because X happened in the past doesn't mean X is OK in future.

        Any campaign that lifted people's private profile info via a seemingly innocent app is v naughty, and now Facebook's been pressured into tearing up its APIs and reviewing 3rd-party software connecting to its platform. No doubt, it'll find some other way to monetize its vast amount of intelligence on people while keeping within the letter of the law and EULAs.

        C.

        1. Big John Silver badge

          Re: Obama

          My point is it was ignored when a Liberal did it, but let a conservative do it and suddenly we need to fix the problem. There's a hypocrisy problem here.

          1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

            Re: "it was ignored"

            Hard to ignore something you're not aware of. This use of Facebook data for political stuff wasn't TTBOMK widely known in 2012. If you knew about it then, why didn't you tell us? Why not sound the alarm?

            C.

            1. Big John Silver badge

              Re: "it was ignored"

              It wasn't widely known because the liberal press sat on it. Does that excuse it?

              1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

                Re: "because the liberal press sat on it"

                And the rightwing press? The New York Post? Fox? C'mon dude, Infowars is that way -------->

                To be clear, if someone told me in 2012 that Facebook was looking the other way while millions of profiles were being slurped, I'd have run the thing and be waiting for the Drudge Report traffic to flow in.

                C.

                1. ckm5

                  Re: "because the liberal press sat on it"

                  Don't feed the troll, it only encourages them

              2. jake Silver badge

                Re: "it was ignored"

                Jeebus, John. You're really starting to flail. Why do you insist on embarrassing yourself in this way?

              3. caradoc

                Re: "it was ignored"

                The Guardian didn't ignore it:

                https://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/feb/17/obama-digital-data-machine-facebook-election

                "Barack Obama's re-election team are building a vast digital data operation that for the first time combines a unified database on millions of Americans with the power of Facebook to target individual voters to a degree never achieved before.

                Every time an individual volunteers to help out – for instance by offering to host a fundraising party for the president – he or she will be asked to log onto the re-election website with their Facebook credentials. That in turn will engage Facebook Connect, the digital interface that shares a user's personal information with a third party.

                Advertisement

                Consciously or otherwise, the individual volunteer will be injecting all the information they store publicly on their Facebook page – home location, date of birth, interests and, crucially, network of friends – directly into the central Obama database.

                "If you log in with Facebook, now the campaign has connected you with all your relationships," a digital campaign organiser who has worked on behalf of Obama says."

                Note the "consciously or otherwise"....

            2. Richard Jones 1

              Re: "it was ignored"

              The problem is that 'Big John' has only just dreamed it up! By the way what is his Moscow address?

              1. Rich 11 Silver badge

                Re: "it was ignored"

                By the way what is his Moscow address?

                Just write 'Lubyanka Square' on your postcard and the Pochta will know which building you mean.

          2. Richard Tobin

            Re: Obama

            Obama is not a Liberal, or even a liberal. He's just a less extreme conservative.

            1. Youngone Silver badge

              Re: Obama

              Barack Obama? I thought he was a Communist.

              He definitely made my children turn gay.

              1. Mr Dogshit Silver badge

                Re: Obama

                No, chemtrails turned your children gay.

            2. Michael Habel Silver badge

              Re: Obama

              he was a lazy do nothing president, who was more pressed about getting is tallions into Healtcare Insurance. A place where the Goverment, has had no right to get into. Great the NHS is working for you. But, thats not how its done over there, and for good reason too.

              1. deadlockvictim Silver badge

                Re: Obama

                Michael Habel» he was a lazy do nothing president...

                Let me get this right:

                John F. Kennedy was a womanizer who stole the election from Nixon;

                LBJ was a war-monger who landed the US into a war they couldn't win so that the following administration would look bad;

                Nixon was set up by LBJ and villified by Hollywood;

                Carter will go to Hell for giving away the Panama Canal.

                Ronald Reagan was the best goddamn thing ever to happen to the World and anyone who says otherwise is a godless commie;

                G. Bush Senior served his country well;

                Clinton's time in office was a national disgrace. He should have sentenced to TREASON!!!!! as he rightly deserved.

                G. Bush Junior was a war hero;

                Obama was a lazy-do-nothing president;

                Trump is the man to bring back Pride to this land of Justice and Supremacy, uproads built by you and me;

                Am I right?

                1. cmaurand

                  Re: Obama

                  History Lesson: Nixon actually undermined US negotiations which would have ended the war in 1968 or 69, but instead managed to extend the war until 1973 wasting talent and treasure all to get elected. All in violation of laws that prohibit private parties from negotiating on behalf of the government. In fact they announced a peace plan just prior to the 1972 election which cemented his victory. And Hubert Humphrey was like Hillary. Not a good candidate.

                  A candidate needs charisma. Hillary and Hubert had none.

                2. TheRightLovesAltarBoys

                  Re: Obama

                  That's some serious mental gymnastics and confirmation bias right there. Apparently you're just willing to look the other way if Republican president did something wrong. You don't support everything someone does just because they have the same beliefs as you. You support the person and not the actions. If they do something wrong you call them out. Otherwise it would be like your best friend telling you they want to sell their belongings and get addicted to heroin and you tell them, I'll support you no matter what you want to do! Come on.

                  Trump is the man to bring back the Pride to the US? You have GOT to be kidding. He is a national embarrassment. He paid off someone he had an affair with. If Bill Clinton had paid off Monica would you have been supportive, then? He is constantly embarrassing the US on twitter and does his best to divide the country. No president Democrat or Republican has ever embarrassed this country like Trump.

                  You can't divide the country into two groups like liberal and conservative. Have you met all 300 million+? No? Then you have no idea where people sit on issues. If you don't want other's beliefs forced on you then why is it you expect other people to put up with the same? Stop worrying about what other people are doing.

                3. jelabarre59 Silver badge

                  Re: Obama

                  Yes, no, no, no, somewhat yes & no, yes, yes, no, no, no.

                  So I can balance across the spectrum (if you only see political alignment as a single line. I'm more in favor if something like the Nolan Chart).

              2. David Nash Silver badge

                Re: Obama

                "Healtcare Insurance. A place where the Goverment, has had no right to get into."

                Too true. Insurance should be left in the private sector, the government should just provide healthcare, not insurance.

                "Great the NHS is working for you. But, thats not how its done over there, and for good reason too."

                The reason being, what, those who can't afford decent healthcare don't deserve it?

                1. cmaurand

                  Re: Obama

                  Health insurance is the problem, not the solution

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Obama

                  The reason being, what, those who can't afford decent healthcare don't deserve it?

                  That's exactly it. In the country when men are Real Men, etc. it's against the Constitution As Written to suggest that the government should actually have some stake in the welfare of the people. It says in The Declaration "the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," nothing about the Common Good or the welfare of the people.

                  The rednecks and even the middle classes are still laboring under the massive myth that all you need to do it work extra hard and you too can be $ucce$$full. Why do they like Trump? Because he's a caricature of what they think a "self-made" rich guy is [with all that absolutely dreadful gilding and gold plating everywhere!]

                  Of course it's it the 1%'s interest to perpetrate that mobility myth - they need the peasants to work and not think about it - same reason they destroyed trade unions.

                  Oh, there are exceptions, of course, but see https://xkcd.com/1827/

                  And in a Christian Nation such as the USofA, it's great and worthy and noble to give to the poor, but they don't deserve it, and are a bunch of whiny losers who refuse to work

              3. ShadowDragon8685

                Re: Obama

                That reason being Richard fucking Nixon was in bed with Kaiser Permanente.

                We NEED a universal healthcare system, and we don't have it, and people - like myself - are at risk of, or actually ARE, suffering any or all of the following as a result of medical care being out of their reach:

                Financial Ruination from which not even bankruptcy is salve

                Half-assed or worse healthcare

                Being summarily dumped on the streets in a hospital gown for want of ability to pay

                Death

                1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

                  Re: Obama

                  We NEED a universal healthcare system, and we don't have it, and people - like myself - are at risk of, or actually ARE, suffering any or all of the following as a result of medical care being out of their reach:

                  Doesn't this argument tend to provoke scorn from other Americans that you're trying to sponge? This is serious if probably poorly expressed question.

                  The biggest argument for universal healthcare is that it is significantly cheaper and more effective than private. So much so that the champion of small government, economic liberalism The Economist is championing it.

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