In news that will come as a grave blow to the Carole Cadwalladrs of the world, the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) announced that it found no evidence that digital marketing firm Cambridge Analytica misused data to influence the Brexit Referendum in 2016.
In a letter to Julian Knight, the chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Select Committee, Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham wrote that she had ‘found no further evidence to change her earlier view that CA were not involved in the EU referendum campaign in the UK.’
Denham also stated that she had found no evidence of Russian involvement in the referendum.
These two pieces of news are likely to come as big shocks to those on the remain side of the referendum who for so long believed there had been some sort of foul play during the referendum. To be fair to them, they had been encouraged by claims by a former Cambridge Analytica employee that the company had done work for pro Brexit groups such as UKIP and Leave.EU.
Indeed, an entire industry was developed based on these claims, to the extent that Carole Cadwalldr was commissioned by Netflix to do a documentary into the malign influence of firms such as Cambridge Analytica and Facebook.
As noted in her letter though, Denham has stated that “beyond some initial enquiries made by CA in relation to UKIP data in the early stages of the referendum process,” she had not been able to find further evidence of interference. “This strand of work does not appear to have been taken forward by CA.”
The commissioner’s findings were published on Tuesday in the ICO’s final report on the matter, following her appearance before a parliamentary select committee on Friday where she had spoken about the probe.
Denham concluded her letter by stating that she believed citizens were better informed as a result of the probe and that policymakers were alive to the risks of data misuse.
One would think that all of this would put people’s minds at ease and that we could finally move on from the subject. But those who see conspiracies everywhere cannot let this go. Chief amongst them is the conspirator in chief Ms Cadwalladr whose entire career has been built on this. In a series of tweets late last night, Ms Cadwalladr appeared to question the findings of the Commissioner, as though the shadow of Putin was hanging over her the entire time. Truly the depths the desperate will go to.
The commissioner’s findings should be welcomed, they finally put to rest a story that has divided Britain up and down the middle, and fed a conspiracy industry that further undermines the stability of the country. If those like Ms Cadwalladr can’t accept that, then perhaps it is time they examined why they need the country divided to feel alive.