In Brief

Cambridge Analytica CEO ‘admits to dirty tricks’

UK Information Commissioner has sought a warrant to search the company’s servers

Cambridge Analytica executives have boasted of a series of dirty tricks the company uses to sway elections around the world, according to an undercover report by Channel 4 News.

In video footage released yesterday, Cambridge Analytica chief executive Alexander Nix (pictured above) appears to suggest the company uses honey traps, bribery stings and prostitutes to gather dirt on candidates, which it then releases to the public.

“We’ll offer a large amount of money to the candidate, to finance his campaign in exchange for land for instance, we’ll have the whole thing recorded, we’ll blank out the face of our guy and we post it on the Internet,” Nix said in the video.

Nix also said he could “send some girls around to the candidate's house,” adding that Ukrainian girls “are very beautiful, I find that works very well”.

In a statement, Cambridge Analytica said the report had “grossly misrepresented” the secretly filmed conversations, saying its executives had “entertained a series of ludicrous hypothetical scenarios” in order to “tease out any unethical or illegal intentions”.

The revelation comes a day after The Guardian reported that the company hired by Donald Trump’s election team had harvested personal information of more than 50 million US Facebook users in the social media giant’s largest-ever data breach.

Earlier this month, Nix told a UK parliamentary inquiry into fake news and Russian interference in the Brexit referendum that the company had “never used or possessed Facebook data,” the New York Times says.

UK Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham is seeking a warrant to examine Cambridge Analytica’s databases and servers in an effort to “understand how data was processed or deleted”, the BBC says.

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