Cambridge Analytica Files For Bankruptcy As Its Execs Form ‘Emerdata’

Alexander Nix, former Cambridge Analytica CEO

Due to the scandal that has irrevocably tainted its name, as well as upcoming lawsuits, Cambridge Analytica has filed for bankruptcy. But this may not be the end of its story: former Cambridge Analytica and SCL Group executives have already started a new company called Emerdata.

Cambridge Analytica Is Dead

Cambridge Analytica and its parent company SCL Elections (a division of the private military contractor SCL Group) announced that they have begun the insolvency and bankruptcy proceedings in the UK and the United States. The company has ceased all operations.

Following the data harvesting scandal in which Cambridge Analytica was involved, company representatives said that it was no longer viable to operate the business.

Long Live Emerdata

A New York Times report said that SCL Group and Cambridge Analytica executives have set up Emerdata over the past few months. Emerdata was funded by Robert Mercer, who was also the biggest investor in Cambridge Analytica and a donor to Donald Trump in his race for the 2016 presidential election. Mercer's two daughters, Rebekah and Jennifer Mercer, have also joined Emerdata as company directors.

Other directors of the company include Johnson Ko Chun Shun, a business partner of Erik Prince, who founded the private security firm formerly known as Blackwater. (Blackwater was later renamed to Xe Services after its contractors were convicted of killing Iraqi civilians.)

According to the NYT’s sources, SCL Group officials have been discussing re-branding Cambridge Analytica, just as Blackwater did. Nigel Oakes, an executive and partner of SCL Group, has publicly described Emerdata as a way of rolling up SCL Group and Cambridge Analytica into one company.

Alexander Nix, the former CEO of Cambridge Analytica who was caught on tape talking about bribing and blackmailing politicians, and who resigned a few weeks ago alongside other SCL Group executives, have also joined Emerdata.

Ensuring Another Cambridge Analytica Doesn't Happen

The SCL Group was involved in elections for many years before it created Cambridge Analytica in order to make use of Facebook’s data, so its executives will probably continue to do the same thing under different company names. However, considering Facebook’s recent data access restrictions, the SCL Group may not be able to abuse Facebook’s platform in quite the same way.

The group could potentially continue to use the Facebook data it has already obtained on up to 87 million users, but that remains to be seen. What’s more important now is that Facebook--as well as everyone else--remains more vigilant not just about Cambridge Analytica’s spin-offs but also about any other company or group that may try to influence elections in unethical ways.

Lucian Armasu
Lucian Armasu is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers software news and the issues surrounding privacy and security.
  • popatim
    Corruption artists at their finest here. The whole lot of them should be arrested and imprisoned for life
  • USAFRet
    The company did no wrong. It can't.
    The people in that company did.

    So they just rebadge, and continue to do the same stuff.
  • gdesigndog77
    Despicable what these data mining companies get away with. I guess its inevitable by using their service you sign away so many rights. Consider joining the EFF (Electronics Frontier Foundation) protecting your digital rights. Just for the newsletter if nothing else
  • Spock_rhp
    Since "Emerdata" will seemingly use the same business model and customer list as the now defunct company , I suggest to the bankruptcy courts that the soon to be creditors of CA be awarded 98 percent equity ownership in the new enterprise, along with effective control of that company, its customer lists, and non-compete agreements with the employees. In other words -- no escape from the consequences.
  • jimbod1943
    The fact that these unethical people can continue to do this is a prime example of how weaken our government has become. They use blackmail and bribes to control the government, and this is only possible because the government is full of corruption itself.

    Unethical behavior and greed is the norm for people like these and sadly no one does anything about it. Our country has slowly transitioned from a democracy to a plutocracy.