Data Commissioner Investigation Disproves ‘Grand Data Conspiracy’, Says Brexit Donor

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

Combatative Leave.EU funder Arron Banks said his detractors had failed to find evidence of a “grand data conspiracy” and that he was being fined over an accidental communication, taking to social media to proclaim “so what?” Tuesday.

The U.K. data commissioner has fined a campaign backing Britain’s departure from the European Union and an insurance company founded by its millionaire backer a total of £135,000 ($176,000) for breaches of data laws.

The Information Commissioner said Tuesday that Brexit campaign group Leave.EU and Eldon Insurance company – founded by businessman Arron Banks -were fined 60,000 pounds each for “serious breaches” of electronic marketing laws.

Leave.EU was also fined 15,000 pounds for a separate breach in which almost 300,000 emails were sent to Eldon customers with a newsletter for the Brexit campaign group.

Banks took to Twitter as the news broke to claim the infringement of data law highlighted by the commissioner had disproven wild claims by activists that he was responsible for a “grand data conspiracy”, and that “we may have accidentally sent a newsletter to customers”, and “we communicated with our supporters and offered them a 10% brexit discount after the vote ! So what ?”

Several conspiracy theories pushed by ardently anti-Brexit journalist Carole Cadwalladr were also disproven by the findings of the commission, reports Westminster gossip blog Guido Fawkes, which stated that despite having been ‘bigged up’ by pro-remainers the report actually produced no smoking gun.

Banks and pro-Brexit campaigning groups have been a conduit for such theories since the referendum, with frequent unproven claims of Russian interference including alleged gifts of diamonds and bulk use of social media in an attempt to influence the vote.

Despite tireless work to nullify Brexit by proving Russian involvement by remain-supporting politicians such as Damian Collins MP, both Facebook and Twitter have found no evidence of a coordinated attempt by Russian-linked accounts to target the campaign. Indeed, Twitter’s head of UK policy told the House of Commons Select Committee hearing on “fake news” in February that:

“We can now update the committee that our broader investigation identified a very small number of suspected Internet Research Agency-linked Twitter accounts… Forty-nine such accounts were active during the referendum campaign, which represents less than 0.005% of the total number of accounts that tweeted about the referendum.

“These accounts collectively posted 942 tweets, representing less than 0.02% of the total tweets posted about the referendum during the campaign. These tweets cumulatively were retweeted 461 times and were liked 637 times.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story


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