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If the British government’s “Demand for Access to records and data” was put into the hands of Cambridge Analytica on the morning of the 7th, then they had at least 17 days warning, since the search warrant was not issued until Friday night, the 23rd, at 8 pm (20.00). The UK Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham stated on the 19th that they were seeking a warrant because Cambridge Analytica had not responded by the deadline imposed. Thus, while they would have suspected a raid from the 7th, Cambridge Analytica would have known a raid was coming from the 19th, 4 days before it was executed. This gave them a huge window in which to copy, move, delete-destroy records in their offices before the arrival of investigators. Most likely they had copies elsewhere and had only to delete everything. However, they had plenty of time to bring in new and/or clean hardware from elsewhere. The raid needed to have been a surprise. Even that might not have been good enough.

This is clearly what UK Member of Parliament, Liam Byrne, was referring to on Thursday, the 22nd, when he said: “It is ludicrous that it has taken her so long to get a search warrant for Cambridge Analytica offices, and it is ludicrous that people frustrating her investigations do not face jail for that frustration.” [1]

The apparent shifting around of Cambridge Analytica to Emerdata was mostly within the large window. The addition of board members was within the window. See: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2018/03/22/cambridge-analytica-rebranding-itself-as-emerdata-alex-nix-is-emerdata-ceo-and-robert-mercer-daughters-are-on-its-board/

From the Information Commissioner’s Office:
ICO statement: investigation into data analytics for political purposes
Date 24 March 2018
Type Statement

UPDATE: Saturday 24 March 2018
An ICO spokesperson said:

“The warrant to inspect the premises of Cambridge Analytica was executed at 20.00 on 23 March 2018. Our investigators left the premises at about 03.00.

“We will now need to assess and consider the evidence before deciding the next steps and coming to any conclusions.

“This is one part of a larger investigation by the ICO into the use of personal data and analytics by political campaigns, parties, social media companies and other commercial actors.”

UPDATE: Friday 23 March 2018
An ICO spokesperson said:

“We are pleased with the decision of the Judge, and the warrant is now being executed. This is just one part of a larger investigation into the use of personal data and analytics for political purposes. As you will expect, we will now need to collect, assess and consider the evidence before coming to any conclusions.”

UPDATE: Thursday 22 March 2018
An ICO spokesperson said:

“A High Court judge has adjourned the ICO’s application for a warrant relating to Cambridge Analytica until Friday. The ICO will be in court to continue to pursue the warrant to obtain access to data and information to take forward our investigation.”

UPDATE: Monday 19 March 2018, 7:30pm

Elizabeth Denham, Information Commissioner said:
“On 7 March, my office issued a Demand for Access to records and data in the hands of Cambridge Analytica. Cambridge Analytica has not responded by the deadline provided; therefore, we are seeking a warrant to obtain information and access to systems and evidence related to our investigation. 

“On 19 March, Facebook announced that it will stand down its search of Cambridge Analytica’s premises at our request. Such a search would potentially compromise a regulatory investigation.”

UPDATE: Monday 19 March 2018

Elizabeth Denham, Information Commissioner said:
“A full understanding of the facts, data flows and data uses is imperative for my ongoing investigation. This includes any new information, statements or evidence that have come to light in recent days.

“Our investigation into the use of personal data for political campaigns, includes the acquisition and use of Facebook data by SCL, Doctor Kogan and Cambridge Analytica.

“This is a complex and far reaching investigation for my office and any criminal or civil enforcement actions arising from it will be pursued vigorously.”

Saturday 17 March 2018

Elizabeth Denham, Information Commissioner said:
“We are investigating the circumstances in which Facebook data may have been illegally acquired and used.

“It’s part of our ongoing investigation into the use of data analytics for political purposes which was launched to consider how political parties and campaigns, data analytics companies and social media platforms in the UK are using and analysing people’s personal information to micro target voters.

“It is important that the public are fully aware of how information is used and shared in modern political campaigns and the potential impact on their privacy.

“We are continuing to invoke all of our powers and are pursuing a number of live lines of inquiry. Any criminal and civil enforcement actions arising from the investigation will be pursued vigorously“.

Information Commissioner’s Office, “ICO statement: investigation into data analytics for political purposes“, 24 March 2018, licensed under the Open Government Licence (OGL)

Dr. Kogan, mentioned above, renamed himself Dr. Spectre in 2015. He was born in the Soviet Union and is a research-teacher at Russian State owned St. Petersburg University, as well as at Cambridge, UK. At least up until a few days ago, he was listed as Dr. Spectre on the Cambridge University web site, although his publications were listed as Dr. Kogan. He is a man and even women often keep the name which they had at the time that they received their Ph.D.-wrote their main publications. Spectre means “spook”, as in spy, as well as being James Bond SPECTRE: “SPecial Executive for Counterintelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion” See more here:

[1] Excerpted from “Leaving the EU: Data Protection Agreements” 22 March 2018 Volume 638 OPL: https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2018-03-22/debates/ACC7E864-F2E5-4766-8590-FF26CD6C4BB3/LeavingTheEUDataProtectionAgreements?highlight=Cambridge%20Analytica#contribution-74A55C38-0048-4314-AE17-81B5C3FB4C4C