World

Whistleblower questions Brexit, US election results

LONDON: A whistleblower said yesterday that Canadian company AggregateIQ worked on software called Ripon, which was used to identify Republican voters ahead of the 2016 US presidential election.

"There is now tangible proof in the public domain that AIQ actually built Ripon, which is the software that utilised the algorithms from the Facebook data," Mr Christopher Wylie, a whistleblower formerly of Cambridge Analytica, told the British Parliament's Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee.

Mr Wylie previously disclosed how user data from Facebook was used by Cambridge Analytica to help elect US President Donald Trump.

He also questioned the result of Britain's 2016 Brexit referendum as his lawyers presented evidence that they said showed the main organisation campaigning for leaving the EU had broken the law.

Mr Wylie and one person from the Vote Leave group - have alleged that Brexit campaigners funded their campaign illegally.

By doing so, they have pulled Brexit into a scandal that has forced Mr Mark Zuckerberg to apologise for how Facebook handled users' data, and raised questions about how Mr Donald Trump's 2016 campaign employed data.

Vote Leave officials on Monday denied breaking rules.

The whistleblowers' law firm, London-based Bindmans, released 53 pages of selected evidence on Monday.

"Can we be confident in the result of the referendum?" said Mr Wylie.

"This is not re-fighting the referendum. This is about the integrity of the democratic process.

"If this country is on the path of an irreversible decision, we really should be confident that the basis of that decision came from a free and fair vote - and what this evidence does is it calls into question whether it was free and fair."

Reuters was unable to verify the allegations made against Vote Leave. Mr Matthew Elliott, its former CEO, said the allegations were wrong and the group did not break the law.

Meanwhile, Mr Zuckerberg's decision not to answer questions from British lawmakers about a scandal over the firm's data is "astonishing", said Mr Damian Collins, the chief of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee. - REUTERS

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