POLITICS
23/03/2018 17:38 GMT | Updated 23/03/2018 17:45 GMT

Vote Leave Director Claims He Rejected Offer From Cambridge Analytica Whistleblower To Harvest Data

Dominic Cummings publishes emails from Christopher Wylie in 8,000-word blog.

The Washington Post via Getty Images
Cambridge Anlaytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie has called data harvesting unethical 

Vote Leave director Dominic Cummings claims the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower offered to harvest data for the Brexit campaign. 

In an 8,000-word blog attempting to rebut claims put to him by journalists, Cummings alleges Christopher Wylie made a pitch to him after he left Cambridge Analytica, and that he rejected it. 

Wylie sent shockwaves across the globe with an interview in last week’s Observer, in which he revealed Cambridge Analytica accessed data from millions of Facebook profiles - later used to target potential Donald Trump voters - which may have been illegally acquired. 

Amid claims Vote Leave was also connected to Cambridge Analytica, Cummings has gone on the offensive.

He says: Wylie, I rediscovered yesterday, tried to flog me the same crap he’s attacking CA for doing.” 

Vote Leave director Dominic Cummings
Vote Leave director Dominic Cummings has gone on the offensive 

The former Michael Gove spad details an email from Wylie to him in 2016. 

It reads: “We will trial social data harvesting for Vote Leave and use some of our own technology to target and acquire online data about UK voters.” 

It adds: “Several online panels would be set up to target a cross-section of voters. We would try to further increase the sample by accessing the social networks of the panel respondents. 

“We would also harvest online and social data.” 

Wylies email to Cummings

Cummings also published his reply, which says: “We do not want to take discussions further. 

“This is no reflection on you in any way shape of form, but I cannot say any more about our attitude towards this I’m afraid.” 

Cummings reply to Wylie

Wylie had previously described data harvesting as “a grossly unethical experiment because you are playing with an entire country, the psychology of an entire country without their consent or awareness.” 

“It’s like Nixon on steroids,” he added. 

Cummings goes on to say claims set to be made about Vote Leave in the coming days are “factually wrong, hopelessly confused, or nonsensical”. 

Arron Banks, who funded the Leave.EU, has previously claimed that the Brexit campaign “made no secret” of working with Cambridge Analytica. 

Alexander Nix, the suspended director of the controversial company, has, however, denied this, saying that no contract has been signed. 

PA Wire/PA Images
Chief Executive of Cambridge Analytica (CA)Alexander Nix, leaves the offices in central London, as the data watchdog is to apply for a warrant to search computers and servers used by CA. 

Meanwhile, the company has offered to hand over evidence to the data watchdog the Information Commissioner as part of an investigation into the firm’s use of data on behalf of political clients.

The Facebook data was gathered by a separate firm called Global Science Research via a personality quiz application called This Is Your Digital Life, which not only accessed the individual’s profile but all their friends’. 

Elizabeth Denham had requested a warrant to search the firm’s London offices.

A judge at the High Court was told Cambridge Analytica will deliver all communications between its elections arm, SCL Elections Ltd (SCLE), and Global Science Research by 5pm on Monday.

However, lawyers representing the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said the firm’s offer was “a poor second best” and are pursuing the application for a warrant.

Both Cambridge Analytica and Facebook deny any wrongdoing.

Dr Alexander Kogan, who ran Global Science Research, previously claimed in an interview he is being made a “scapegoat”.