Tuesday 29 September, 2020

TTPS closes investigation into Cambridge Analytica allegations

Christopher Wylie, the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower, departs after meeting with House Judiciary Democrats, on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, April 24, 2018 in Washington. Wylie said in his book 'Mindf*ck: Cambridge Analytica and the Plot to Break America' that the company accessed browsing information and location data from Trinidadian users without their knowledge. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Christopher Wylie, the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower, departs after meeting with House Judiciary Democrats, on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, April 24, 2018 in Washington. Wylie said in his book 'Mindf*ck: Cambridge Analytica and the Plot to Break America' that the company accessed browsing information and location data from Trinidadian users without their knowledge. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Police Commissioner Gary Griffith said a criminal investigation into the Cambridge Analytica scandal and its involvement in an alleged breach of data privacy laws in Trinidad and Tobago, has been completed.

Speaking at a media briefing on Wednesday at the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) headquarters in Port of Spain, Griffith said that this matter which concerned the ‘alleged unlawful accessing of electronic data’ had been investigated and was now closed.

Griffith said the matter, which concerned the ‘alleged unlawful accessing of electronic data’ was now closed.

Deputy Commissioner of Police, Jayson Forde, said the matter was investigated but despite their best attempts to reach Wylie, they were unsuccessful.

“The allegation is that sometime in the year 2009 or 2010, data analyst and author Christopher Wylie had accessed electronic data of the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago with the intention of interfering with the electoral process of this country.”

“This allegation was spoken of in a book written by Wylie, titled ‘Mindf*ck: Cambridge Analytica and the Plot to Break America’."

He said the TTPS became aware of the allegation in October 2019 and pursued an investigation, which he headed as lead investigator, along with a team of officers.

“The information we got was that Wylie was somewhere in the United Kingdom. As such several attempts to communicate were made with several persons and organisations that we felt could have assisted our investigations.”

He said they made attempts to reach Wylie by telephone, Whatsapp, e-mail and written documents, without success.

“(We) had no responses from these persons and organisations we had reached out to. In light of that, we are stumped and as such the TTPS is closing this investigation pending the emergence of evidence to support the investigation.”

Griffith added that the decisions made by the TTPS were not influenced by any external parties.

“The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service does not have an obligation to give these final reports to clear or to charge anyone or to please anyone or to deliberately affect anyone. All of our investigations (are) independent and impartial.”

In November 2019, government announced that an investigation would be raised into Cambridge Analytica’s role and Wylie’s claims in his book regarding a breach of privacy of Trinidadian citizens which involved accessing their online browsing information and location data.

Wylie, who worked with Cambridge Analytica, also made claims regarding the UNC’s involvement, which the party has denied.

The Cambridge Analytica’s website, which since been taken down, cited the UNC’s ‘Do So’ campaign as one of its case studies, saying the company’s methods resulted in the People’s Partnership’s election victory.

According to Cambridge Analytica, the employment of the company’s research-based differential campaigns and establishment of consistent policy and variegated communications contributed to the People’s Partnership’s Coalition’s landslide victory in 2010.

It said it consequently supported the government coalition with ongoing advice.

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