I’ve been to Victoria, British Columbia. It’s a quaint, sleepy little suburban town tucked safely away from the rest of the world on Vancouver Island on the west coast of Canada. It’s hard to imagine anything more harmful than boring Canadian politics and Edwardian architecture coming from this place. It’s a perfect place to hide a data analytics firm with an innocuous-sounding name like AggregateIQ. (For the record, I didn’t know it was possible to aggregate intelligence quotients, but, I guess if you’re in the persuasion business, every edge helps: “AggregateIQ–serving the election spoilage community with a combined intelligence quotient of over 1,000 since 2013!”)
In short, it seems that the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal involving Brexit and the Trump campaign traces back to AggregateIQ in Victoria, BC (The Globe and Mail, The Globe and Mail, Globalnews, Dhaka Tribune, Irish Times, NPR, The Guardian, The Guardian, ZDNet). AggregateIQ (archived 2018-03-27, archived 2018-03-22) claims this is all a big misunderstanding, but that claim doesn’t seem to square with their website posting of just a few days ago. Their website seems to be changing regularly lately. Also, as reported by Gizmodo, Upguard discovered files on the AggregateIQ server that seems to contradict their claims of what they really do for a living.
As with everything, I suppose, this gets down to a matter of personalities, and it should be cozy on the island. Victoria is the home of Chris Wylie, the whistleblower who is calling out AggregateIQ, and Zach Massingham and Jeff Silvester, who call him a liar (Global Research, The Telegraph). So, who (if anyone) is going to clear up this mess? It seems as if Michael McEvoy, is the man to watch. He takes over as B.C.’s new information and privacy commissioner in a few days (the star, Global News, Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for BC, Legislative Assembly of British Columbia). And, he’ll be based in, yes, Victoria, BC. Now there’s a guy I’d love get together with for a beer and a chat.