Private intelligence agency Black Cube denied any connection to political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, accused of mining Facebook data to help US President Donald Trump’s campaign, and plans to sue whistle- blower Christopher Wylie who said the two worked together in comments to a UK parliamentary committee on Tuesday.Wylie said Cambridge Analytica’s parent company SCL worked with Black Cube to hack Nigerian presidential candidate Muhammadu Buhari.
“The company utilized the services of an Israeli private intelligence firm, Black Cube,” Wylie told the British Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee. “Black Cube on the Nigeria campaign was engaged to hack the now-president Buhari to get access to his medical records and private emails.”Black Cube, based in Tel Aviv, vehemently rejected Wylie’s statement, and said it plans to investigate his claims to “reveal the truth and the motive” behind them.“Whilst we are flattered that we are seemingly being connected with every international incident that occurs, we will state that Chris Wylie’s testimony is a flagrant lie,” the agency said.The firm said it will “launch a massive defamation suit against any entity that we will find involved, including Christopher Wylie, SCL or Cambridge Analytical, for any pound they still have or don’t have.”Black Cube said it and its affiliates and subsidiaries have never worked for SCL or Cambridge Analytica, and have never operated in Nigeria or on any Nigerian- connected project, nor have any of its employees gone to Nigeria for their work with the firm. It also said it “always operate within the boundaries of the law in every jurisdiction it operates.”Earlier this month, an investigative reporter from Britain’s Channel 4 asked Black Cube and Cambridge Analytica about the connection between them.The Jerusalem Post obtained a letter from the head of Cambridge Analytica’s legal team, Sean Richardson, last week saying “that none of Cambridge Analytica, its employees, agents or companies affiliated to it have worked with or alongside Black Cube, its directors, employees or agents, and any statement made to the contrary is false.”Black Cube made international headlines in the past in relationship to the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault scandal. Weinstein, the disgraced Hollywood producer, hired the intelligence agency, with former prime minister’s Ehud Barak help in making contact, to collect information on some of the actresses who have accused him of assault. Black Cube apologized for its work with Weinstein, and Barak said he did not know at the time why the producer asked him about the firm.The Israeli Privacy Protection Authority announced last week that it will investigate Facebook to determine if the company violated the privacy rights of Israeli users.Under Israeli law, personal data can only be used for the purpose for which it is given, and it is unlawful to use it unless consent is given.The world’s largest social media network is facing growing government scrutiny in Europe and the United States after a whistle- blower’s allegations that London- based political consultancy Cambridge Analytica improperly accessed user information to build profiles on American voters that were later used to help campaign for Trump in 2016.Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.
Advertisers pressure Facebook after data breach, March 22, 2018 (Reuters)