B.C., federal privacy watchdogs to probe possible privacy breaches at Aggregate IQ, Facebook

The Victoria-based tech firm Aggregate IQ is facing accusations it influenced the Brexit vote

The federal and provincial privacy commissioners announced Thursday they will be investigating whether Aggregate IQ and Facebook breached privacy laws.

The small Victoria-based tech firm is accused of helping to influence Britain’s vote to leave the European Union in 2016.

The investigations will focus on how the two companies comply with Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act and B.C.’s Personal Information Protection Act.

Whistleblowers have claimed the company helped circumvent election finance rules during the Brexit referendum and played a role in the “leave” side’s victory.

They alleged that a pro-Brexit group, VoteLeave, violated the spending limit rules by donating 625,000 pounds (about C$1.1 million) to the pro-Brexit student group BeLeave, then sending the money directly to AggregateIQ.

One of the whistleblowers, Christopher Wylie, claims he helped found AggregateIQ while he worked for SCL, the parent company of Cambridge Analytica.

That’s a British politicial consulting firm he alleges used data harvested from more than 50 million Facebook users to help U.S. President Donald Trump win the 2016 election.

The provincial privacy commissioner began investigating Aggregate IQ last year, while the federal privacy commissioner has already launched an investigation into the unauthorized access and use of Facebook user profiles.

More to come.

– files from The Canadian Press

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