The criminal investigation into the Cambridge Analytica scandal and its involvement in an alleged breach of data privacy laws in Trinidad and Tobago is now closed.This was disclosed during the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service’s weekly news briefing at the T&T Police Service headquarters in Port-of-Spain.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Jayson Forde said the matter was investigated but their best attempts to reach data analyst and author Christopher Wylie were unsuccessful.
In November 2019, Government announced an investigation would be raised into Cambridge Analytica’s role and Wylie’s claims in his book, Mind f..k – CA and the plot to break America, regarding a breach of the privacy of Trinidadians which involved accessing their online browsing information and location data.
Wylie, who worked with Cambridge Analytica, also made claims regarding the United National Congress’ involvement, which the party has denied.
The Cambridge Analytica’s website, which since been taken down, cited the UNC’s ‘Do So’ campaign as one of its case studies, saying the company’s methods resulted in the People’s Partnership’s election victory.
According to Cambridge Analytica, it also supported the then PP coalition with ongoing advice.
Yesterday, Forde said he took the lead in the investigation, probing Wylie’s claim in the book that he had accessed information on T&T with the intention of interfering with the electoral process in the 2015 general election.
“The allegation, I repeat allegation is that sometime in year 2009 or 2010, data analyst and author Christopher Wiley had accessed electronic data of the citizens of T&T with the intention of interfering with electronic process of this country,” Forde said.
He said the TTPS became aware of the allegation in October 2019.
“The information we got was Mr Wiley was somewhere in the UK, England so forth. As such, several attempts were made to communicate with several persons and organisations we felt could have assisted our investigations.
“These communications were made by way of telephone, Whatsapp messaging, electronic mail, and written documents. In the main, the investigative team had no responses from these persons or organisations that we reached out to.
“In light of that, as far as we are concerned we are stumped and as such the TTPS is closing this investigation pending the emergence of evidence to support the investigations.”
Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith also said the matter which concerned the “alleged unlawful accessing of electronic data” had been investigated and was now closed.
“This is what we have to go through as the TTPS. Somebody can go on a political platform, make an accusation, with absolutely nothing to show that this took place, and then a man with an orange head decides to write a book and this becomes news and gossip and the police service has to utilise all of our resources to ascertain if it is true or not,” Griffith said.
“It makes it very difficult for us, but I gave the assurance then and will give the assurance now, we will close all gates one way or the other. Not in any way to try to please anyone on any side or any political party.”
Commenting on the issue on his Facebook page yesterday, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said, “I presume that the authorities in the British Parliament and the US Congress are delirious and the Trinidad mentioned in all these proceedings is not a real place but a location in a movie on Netflix and all the subject of someone’s imagination.
“This is my Cambridge Analytica comment on the closure, in Trinidad, its birthplace, as it remains wide open and troubling in England and America.”