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Former Cambridge Analytica Staffers Launch Auspex International

A new data analytics firm has emerged from the ashes of the former Cambridge Analytica (CA) consulting business, which filed for insolvency after the massive data scandal in which it gained unauthorized access of more than 87 million Facebook members.

The new London-based firm, called Auspex Intenational, is headed by Mark Turnbull, the former managing director and head of Cambridge Analytica’s non-U.S. and U.K. political unit, according to The Financial Times, which broke the story on Wednesday (July 11).  

Auspex, which the FT reports will include seven other members of Turnbull’s CA team, will provide political data consulting services in the Middle East and Africa, and is said to have already landed a contract to work inside an African nation, the identity of which was not disclosed.

The sole investor in Auspex is a man named Ahmad al-Khatib, a former director at Emerdata, which was previously established to acquire and rebrand CA before the Facebook data scandal was disclosed.

Turnbull was caught by Channel 4 news in Britain on undercover video while sitting alongside former CA Chief Executive Alexander Nix, bragging about how the firm might help compromise politicians using young women as honeypots.

The data scandal exploded as the U.K. House of Commons was conducting an inquiry into fake news, which involved how the use of Russian bots and political data was used to manipulate voter opinion during Brexit and the U.S. presidential campaign. Former Trump campaign official and White House senior aide Steve Bannon held a vice president’s title at CA, and the firm was backed by billionaire conservative investors Rebekah Mercer and her father Robert.  

Disclosure of the new entity came just a day after the U.K. Information Commissioner, the agency responsible for enforcing data privacy laws in that country, levied a record $660,000 fine against Facebook following a probe into the disclosure of its member data to CA.

Facebook is facing investigations by the FBI and the Securities and Exchange Commission in the U.S. and has announced major reforms to give users more control over their data. CEO Mark Zuckerberg was grilled before House and Senate panels following the disclosures earlier this year, and the company has launched its own internal probe to find out which other app developers had access to user data.  

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