Is Cambridge Analytica Really Shutting Down?

Yesterday the news broke that Cambridge Analytica was shutting down. That seemed like a bombshell at the time. But is it shutting down? Or is it really rebranding itself. The Register suggests the latter might be in play:

Though Cambridge Analytica said it is pulling the plug in the US and UK, there is already some indication that the outfit – which has a non-trivial organizational structure – is more or less just going to rebrand under a different banner.

The UK’s official registrar of businesses and organizations, Companies House, lists an active company called Emerdata Limited, headquartered at the same offices as SCL Elections and run by much of the same management and investors as Cambridge Analytica. It even describes itself as a “data processing, hosting and related activities” organization.

For instance, Dr Alexander Taylor was appointed a director of Emerdata on March 28. That’s Cambridge Analytica’s acting CEO and data wizard Dr Alexander Taylor. Julian Wheatland is an Emerdata director who is also a director within the SCL network of organizations.

Jennifer and Rebekah Mercer are directors of Emerdata, and are the daughters of ultra-wealthy businessman Robert Mercer who created and bankrolled Cambridge Analytica. Billionaire Bob has given tens of millions of dollars to rightwing political efforts. Jennifer and Rebekah also had a hand in Cambridge Anal.

Emerdata was founded in mid-2017, but has been rather active since Cambridge Analytica hit the headlines earlier this year, including official filings as recent as yesterday.

So, it seems the shutdown may be less a business catastrophe than a marketing exercise.

Hmmm…. That’s crafty. This bears observation and further investigation to see if this is fact and not fiction. Stay tuned for further updates on this over the coming days.

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