Trump campaign hires alum of controversial data company

Source: Politico | February 19, 2020 | Alex Isenstadt

Cambridge Analytica was called out by Facebook for misuse of user data and shuttered in 2018.

President Donald Trump’s campaign is bringing on an alum of the controversial data firm Cambridge Analytica, a move likely to raise alarms among Trump critics and data privacy advocates who worry the president will push the technological envelope to get reelected in 2020.

Matt Oczkowski, who served as head of product at Cambridge before it went bankrupt and shut down in 2018, is helping oversee the Trump campaign’s data program, according to two people familiar with the hire. Cambridge gained notoriety for its work on psychological voter profiling and because it allegedly improperly obtained the personal information of tens of millions of Facebook users.

Oczkowski, who also worked on Trump’s 2016 effort, joined the reelection campaign in January, and payments to his company, HuMn Behavior, are expected to show up on Trump’s next campaign finance disclosure later this month.

Trump aides have long denied they used Cambridge’s Facebook data in 2016 and say they won’t in 2020, either. And they insist they have no interest in using psychographic voter targeting, a centerpiece of Cambridge’s approach. But that hasn’t allayed fears among Democrats that the president will resort to online dirty tricks to win another White House term.

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