Mystery over data analytics firm’s Kuala Lumpur office

Melati A. Jalil Noel Achariam

On Cambridge Analytica’s website, its Malaysian office is listed as in Kota Damansara, but the person staying at the address has not heard of the company. – March 19, 2018.

CAMBRIDGE Analytica, the data analytics firm banned from Facebook, has offices in four major cities in the world and one mysteriously in the Kota Damansara suburb outside Kuala Lumpur.

The mystery has deepened as the property owner, who has been living there for four years, said the office does not exist in the address listed on its website.

The Malaysian Insight visited the listed address on Sunday and found the address on website led to a gated and guarded community.

When asked if he knew his address had been listed on Cambridge Analytica’s homepage, the occupant expressed surprise.

However, he did confirm the address on the website was the site of his home. 

The Malaysian Insight has contacted SCL’s South-east Asia head Azrin Zizal and is awaiting a response.

Apart from Malaysia, the big data company has offices in New York, Washington DC, London and Sao Paulo. 

The company earned the social media company’s wrath after it failed to delete user data sent to it by a popular psychology test app makers. 

Also suspended were the accounts of its parent organisation, Strategic Communication Laboratories, as well as those of University of Cambridge psychologist Aleksandr Kogan and Christopher Wylie, who runs Eunoia Technologies.

Cambridge Analytica’s ‘office’ is actually a house in a gated residential area. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Hasnoor Hussain, March 19, 2018.

The data analysis firm had helped US president Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

According to media reports, Cambridge Analytica is an offshoot of SCL Group, another big data company.

AFP had reported Cambridge Analytica, the US unit of British behavioural marketing firm SCL, rose to prominence as the firm pro-Brexit group Leave.EU hired for data gathering and audience-targeting.

Cambridge Analytica was largely owned by the wealthy, secretive and deeply conservative Robert Mercer, a major Trump supporter, according to US media reports. 

Facebook had said in 2015, Kogan had violated its Platform Policies by passing data from an app that was using Facebook login to SCL/Cambridge Analytica

Kogan’s app, thisisyourdigitallife, offered a personality prediction test, describing itself on Facebook as “a research app used by psychologists”.

Some 270,000 people downloaded the app, allowing Kogan to access information such as the city listed on their profile, or content they had liked.

Facebook, which did not say how the data was used or misused, said it removed the app in 2015 when it learned of the violation, and was told by Kogan and everyone who received the data it had since been destroyed.

Locally, Cambridge Analytica supported Barisan Nasional (BN) in Kedah with a targeted campaign highlighting their school improvements since 2008.

BN won Kedah back from Pakatan Rakyat in the 13th general with wins in 21 out of 36 state seats and 10 out of the 15 parliamentary seats in the state. – March 19, 2018.

Cambridge Analytica rose to prominence as the firm pro-Brexit group Leave.EU hired for data gathering and audience-targeting. – March 19, 2018.

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  • They are all as honourable as FB itself is ...

    Posted 6 years ago by Ramamurthi ram · Reply

  • Sounds like the kind of hack con Najib likes - sneaky, underhanded, above the understanding of most people.

    Posted 6 years ago by Bigjoe Lam · Reply

  • Someone should investigate whether the EC is using Cambridge Analytica in its current redelineation (read gerrymandering) exercise. It is absurd that constituencies have illogical, jagged, uneven and irregular shapes with uneven population distribution.

    Posted 6 years ago by Malaysian First · Reply

  • I won't be surprised that upon digging deeper their staff are actually entrenched at PMO or EC office.

    Posted 6 years ago by Malaysian First · Reply

  • If facebook removed the app in 2015 how did this company gain so much information for the 2016 US election.

    Note Azrin joined SCL Group in 2015 so where was he working and still is if not this address? Guess UMNO HQ

    App is only the 'gateway' to trap the facebook metadata after that they have had the profiles for 3 years to send fake news to all those facebook profiles!

    The job is already over, SCL (Cambridge Analytica) have been paid so now we know what the 'big data' revolution is all about! Twist the facts about the opposition so those swing voters vote for the guys who paid SCL!

    A new way of warping of democracy! If there ever was a choice

    Posted 6 years ago by Bob Archie · Reply