UK: Cambridge Analytica academic tries to deflect criticism

SOT, Jo Stevens, Member of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee: “So why have you got a non-disclosure agreement with Facebook.” SOT, Aleksandr Kogan, psychologist and data scientist at Cambridge University and CEO of Philometrics: “You’ll have to ask Facebook.” *MULTIPLE SHOTS AT SOURCE* SOT, Aleksandr Kogan, psychologist and data scientist at Cambridge University and CEO... Еще of Philometrics: “Given what we know now, nothing. Literally nothing.” *MULTIPLE SHOTS AT SOURCE* SOT, Damian Collins, Chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee: “Well, actually I, there’s a lot of work done analysing the interference of Russian agencies in foreign elections and the creations of networks of bot accounts and trolls to intimidate people.” SOT, Aleksandr Kogan, psychologist and data scientist at Cambridge University and CEO of Philometrics: “Of course, and I think there’s a long history of the United States interfering with foreign elections and doing the exact same thing. So, I mean, unless you want to argue.” SOT, Damian Collins, Chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee: “Are you saying it’s equivalent? Are you saying the work of the Russian government is equivalent to the work of the United States government and you couldn’t really distinguish between the two? Is that your opinion?” SOT, Aleksandr Kogan, psychologist and data scientist at Cambridge University and CEO of Philometrics: “In general, I would say most, sort of the governments that are most high-profile, that, I am dubious about the moral scruples of their activities through the long history of the UK the United States and Russia. Trying to equate them is a bit of a silly process, but I think, certainly, all these countries have engaged in activities that people feel uncomfortable with, that are covert, and then to try to link academic work that is basic science to that you are going down the Russia line, I think we have to go down the UK line, the US line in the same way. I just don’t see, I understand Russia is a hot-button topic right now, but outside of that, I mean, like, look most people in Russia are like most people in the United Kingdom. They are not involved in spycraft, they are just living lives.” SOT, Damian Collins, Chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee: “But I am not aware of UK government agencies that have been interfering in foreign electiosn, but...” SOT, Aleksandr Kogan, psychologist and data scientist at Cambridge University and CEO of Philometrics: “Doesn’t mean it’s not happening. Could just be better at it.”- The academic at the centre of the Cambridge Analytica scandal maintained he was the scapegoat of Facebook in “PR crisis mode,” speaking at a hearing of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Parliamentary Committee in London on Wednesday. “I think they realise that their platform has been mined left and right by thousands of others and I was just the unlucky person that ended up somehow linked to the Trump campaign, and we are where we are,” said Aleksandr Kogan, a psychologist and data scientist at Cambridge University. “I think they realise all this, but PR is PR and they’re trying to manage the crisis, and it’s convenient to point the finger at a single entity and try to paint the picture this is a rogue agent.” Kogan claimed his work for Cambridge Analytica’s parent company SCL Group was “worthless” and his data could not help run targeted ads on Facebook. When questioned about his ties to Russia, the academic denied his data could have been used by the Kremlin to influence the US presidential election. Instead, he sought to draw parallels between the covert activities of the US and UK governments.

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