So if it's in the papers, it must be true???
The ICO is investigating a company . . . because it read something in The Observer newspaper? Because everything anyone ever reads in a newspaper has to be true?
And especially, The Observer, sister paper of The Guardian, famous for its World Exclusive report on how Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn couldn't get a seat on a train and only afterwards realised that not only was the story entirely untrue, but that the "reporter" it so innocently by-lined on the story was actually a Corbyn aide hiding behind a pseudonym (apparently, anyone can get anything printed on The Guardian's front page; you just submit whatever you feel like, under whatever name you like, and, er, that's it: you're A Journalist.)
Ah well. The ICO's faith in the printed word is really. . . touching. It might, however, be better all round if the ICO paid less attention to crap newspaper articles and more to actual facts and actual figures -- in this instance, the facts and figures held on file by the UK's Electoral Commission, a body which -- surprise, surprise -- is the official watchdog on UK elections (as distinct from, er, The Observer newspaper.)
The Electoral Commission will be able to pass on to the ICO a detailed, audited statement of accounts received from the Leave campaign which shows that AggregateIQ, a small, specialist Canadian company based in downtown Victoria, was paid £3m for its research and marketing services.
This, of course, is in complete contrast to the firm cited by The Observer and now being investigated by the ICO: Cambridge Analytica, whose spokesperson, says The Register, told The Register:
"Cambridge Analytica did not do any work (paid or unpaid) for the Leave.EU campaign. In 2015 the company was in discussions to potentially work with them. That work did not go ahead."
So: Cambridge Analytica says it didn't do any paid work for Leave. Cambridge Analytica says it didn't do any unpaid work for Leave. AggregateIQ says it did £3millionsworth of work for Leave. The Electoral Commission confirms that. But hey: no need for the ICO to take any notice: if a newspaper says something quite different, then it must be true -- so let's go spend a few £100ks on an investigation. . . into the wrong company.
Be interesting to discover from El Reg how that investigation progresses.
Be even more interesting to learn from El Reg just what is the aggregate IQ of the UK's Information Commissioner's Office -- many of us have already made our own assessment, based on the ICO's glorious track record, but further evidence is always worthy of consideration.