You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Data firm behind Trump victory hits back at Brexit data breach allegations

CNBC logo CNBC 6/03/2017 Karen Gilchrist
© Provided by CNBC

The data analytics firm employed by U.S. President Donald Trump's campaign team has hit back at allegations that it may have breached data protection rights during the U.K.'s EU referendum.

Cambridge Analytica came under fire over the weekend after it was cited at the center of a probe by the U.K.'s data privacy watchdog which seeks to examine the use of voters' personal information by data companies during political campaigns.

The U.K.'s Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) specifically referenced Cambridge Analytica, which compiles data on individuals from commercial and public sources to build behavioral profiles and assess political attitudes, noting that it may have breached privacy laws.

Under EU data protection law, it is illegal for companies to trade third-party data without consent.

"We have concerns about Cambridge Analytica's reported use of personal data and we are in contact with the organisation," an ICO spokesperson told CNBC via email.

During U.S. presidential campaigning last year, Cambridge Analytica was hired by President Trump's son-in-law and now senior adviser, Jared Kushner, to map voter behavior and identify the policies which mattered most, according to Forbes reports. White House chief strategist Steve Bannon is also a board member for Cambridge Analytica.

However, the firm has denied reports that it had any involvement with Leave.EU, the group which campaigned for Britain to leave the EU. Reports on the Leave.EU website previously suggested that the two parties would collaborate to assess and engage with the British electorate, using "psychographic methodology."

"Cambridge Analytica did not do any work (paid or unpaid) for the Leave.EU campaign. In 2015 the company was in discussions to potentially work with them. That work did not go ahead," a company spokesperson for Cambridge Analytica told CNBC.

"We are in touch with the ICO, and are happy to demonstrate that we are completely compliant with UK and EU data law.

The ICO's probe is set to continue and will assess the use of personal information by data firms in U.K. political campaigns to ensure it complies with EU law.

"Personal data can only be gathered legally under strict conditions, for a legitimate purpose. Furthermore, persons or organisations which collect and manage your personal information must protect it from misuse and must respect certain rights of the data owners which are guaranteed by EU law," a note states on the European Commission's website.

The findings are to be announced later this year.

More from CNBC

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon