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Emails link Peter Thiel's Palantir and Eric Schmidt's daughter to Facebook's Cambridge Analytica fiasco

Published: March 28, 2018
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 Both Peter Thiel's data-mining company Palantir and a daughter of the former Google chairman Eric Schmidt had connections to Cambridge Analytica's misuse of Facebook user information, according to documents seen by The New York Times.

"We learned today that an employee, in 2013-2014, engaged in an entirely personal capacity with people associated with Cambridge Analytica," Palantir told The Times. "We are looking into this and will take the appropriate action."

The employee was Alfredas Chmieliauskas, according to The Times. His LinkedIn shows that he is a business-development staffer at Palantir in London. He suggested that Cambridge Analytica create a personality-quiz app to harvest data from Facebook users, The Times said. Cambridge Analytica eventually used a similar method to obtain data from about 50 million Facebook users it could then sell.

The connection between Palantir and Cambridge Analytica was apparently suggested by Schmidt's daughter Sophie, who had been an intern at SCL Group, a UK-based defense and intelligence contractor that created Cambridge Analytica in 2012. A 2013 email seen by The Times indicated that Sophie Schmidt, who did not respond to the paper's request for comment, urged that SCL work with Palantir:

"Ever come across Palantir. Amusingly Eric Schmidt's daughter was an intern with us and is trying to push us towards them?" one SCL employee wrote to a colleague in the email.

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